I am looking for accounting controls that will support my decision to mail checks directly to vendors.


: You are correct that a best practice control measure for the protection of your company's funds is to mail checks to vendors rather than giving them to individuals in departments within your company to deliver to the vendor. Perhaps your current written policy addresses the issue. If it does not, we recommend you take steps to add this to your policy. By documenting this control in a policy manual, you have a written guideline to follow as you work towards best security practices. (If there are strong reasons for the department to make the delivery rather than the AP department, then a method should be put in place to document the transfer of the check to the individual in the operations department that is taking responsibility for delivery of the check, and this process should also be codified in the company policy. But delivering a check to an individual in an operations department is not considered a best practice.)

It is also generally recommended that reimbursement checks to employees be mailed, but if they are handed to managers to pass on to staff, there should be a sign-off sheet that the employee signs upon receipt of the check. A further recommendation in employee reimbursements is that distribution be made simultaneously with paychecks. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires that companies now include in their annual reports in an internal control report (see section 404), so a review of internal controls is necessary for many companies. Regarding an AP Policy Manual, The Accounts Payable Network provides a series of customizable templates to aid in building a policy manual, including a template on disbursements, so if you don't currently have a policy manual for AP, we provide tools to help you get started. You can also find aRisk Assessment checklist and an Internal Controls checklist in AP Tools.

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