Use SAP BusinessObjects Process Control to Avoid Paying Twice

  • by Christopher Light, Senior Finance Manager IT Application Specialist, The Dow Chemical Company
  • Amanda Moxie, IT Application Specialist, The Dow Chemical Company
  • July 22, 2011
Learn how to use automated control rules in version 3.0 of SAP BusinessObjects Process Control to identify potential duplicate payments.
Key Concept
The risk of a company accidentally paying twice for the same product or service can be mitigated by monitoring a potential duplicate payments report. Such reports are often custom developed to look for transactions with similar amounts, such as vendor codes or invoice reference numbers. Searching for potential duplicate payments can also be performed with a few standard control rules included in version 3.0 of SAP BusinessObjects Process Control.

Version 3.0 of SAP BusinessObjects Process Control is used to document control frameworks (such as Sarbanes-Oxley) and to document assessments of the effectiveness of the controls in the frameworks. In addition, the product has certain automated controls that you can deploy to regularly perform structured tests against all transactions within a given work process, such as general ledger, order to cash, or procure to pay. In this article, we examine the automated controls for monitoring potential duplicate payments. Before proceeding, note that SAP had previously branded this product as SAP GRC Process Control 3.0, and the GRC reference may still be used in some technical notes.

Payables functions rely on many preventive controls to ensure that all disbursements are properly authorized and recorded, including matching purchase order receipts and invoices as well as using configuration settings designed to warn invoice processors about potential duplicate invoices. However, there is still some residual risk that a payment related to the same event may be issued twice. By deploying a few automated controls in version 3.0 of SAP BusinessObjects Process Control a payables analyst or auditor can quickly identify potential duplicate payments and determine if any need to be investigated and possibly reversed.

A Matching Exercise

The search for potential duplicate payments is ultimately a matching exercise — a search across a very large body of data. A classic example is a match between vendor number, amount, and invoice posting date. If these three match, you probably want to double-check to ensure that you meant to pay a vendor the exact same amount more than once on the same day. There are reasons why this might make sense, but it is just as likely to be an error.

Another check is to look for matches in the vendor number and vendor’s reference number. Also, consider ignoring the amount. Why? If an invoice is accidentally posted twice, but for different amounts or in different currencies, you still want to know that two payments are scheduled for the same activity.

The philosophy with regard to which criteria are the most important to match varies slightly from company to company. However, the process generally involves the use of a few reports, thus allowing the invoice auditor to quickly examine the data from different angles — a good report will include extra data points in the output to facilitate retrieval.

If you put too many input-delimiting variables into a single report, the odds are it won’t deliver sufficient results because it is unlikely that duplicated or erroneous input would match in every category. Recognizing this, SAP provides four reports that match different payment attributes.

How to List Potential Duplicate Payments

Four automated control rule scripts in version 3.0 of SAP BusinessObjects Process Control generate lists of potential duplicate payments:

  1. LOPURVAP_08T1_01_A
  2. LOPURVAP_08T2_01_A
  3. LOPURVAP_08T3_01_A
  4. LOPURVAP_08T4_01_A

Christopher Light

Christopher Light (CPA, CMA, CIA) is a senior finance manager with The Dow Chemical Company.

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Amanda Moxie

Amanda Moxie (CISA) is an IT application specialist with The Dow Chemical Company.

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