Invoices: how to focus on auditing

When’s the last time you did an audit of your expenses? In our recent webinar on Accounts Payable (AP), we asked Christine Williams, Controller at Sesame Communications, about some of the challenges she faces when it comes to technology and AP. Top of the list: managing $3.5 million in expenses for her company.  


Sesame Communications provides cloud-based patient engagement for dentists and orthodontists. The company was acquired earlier this year by Internet Brands, along with Officite, eDoctors, TherapySites, iMatrix, and Baystone Media.  


When Sesame Communications was acquired, Williams started the process of transitioning to Internet Brands’ centralized system. “It became obvious to me that I needed to come up to speed very quickly with all of my invoices and how those invoices were audited,” she said.


invoice auditing Sesame Communications IMG_5598 edit  

Sesame’s needs change monthly, so invoice amounts flex. Vendors were sending invoices that weren’t being audited by anyone—and with the acquisition of multiple companies, the problem was only growing. Sesame alone had more than 150 vendors submitting invoices each month. Many managers had inherited vendors and, over time, lost track of exactly what they did for the company. And with each acquisition, the company gained a new way of approving invoices—and lost much of the rigor around auditing.  


So Williams gathered the managers who signed and approved invoices in a room and started asking the tough questions: what do those services provide? What does signing an invoice actually mean in terms of accountability? And are those services still of benefit to Sesame—and Internet Brands?  


It became obvious that the signature process was not necessarily an audit process. - Christine Williams @Sesame247


“It became obvious that the signature process was not necessarily an audit process,” Williams said. “Different departments were using the same vendors, and some vendors were delivering services that Sesame no longer needed.” By auditing the invoices, Sesame was able to reduce costs, eliminate redundancies, and clarify the responsibility behind signing an invoice.  


Today, there’s a lot more auditing going on than there used to be. Managers are more familiar with the approval process, and more hands-on before actually signing an invoice. “I highly recommend going through an audit periodically,” Williams says. “You’ll be surprised at what you find.”  


Automate accounts payable to cut data entry time. Your finance team will be able to focus on auditing, improving the accounts payable process—and be happier and more productive as well. Learn how Concur Invoice can do this for you.

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