I'm looking for a flow chart for the best practice of handling PO invoices. We have problems tracking invoices because they are sent to the field office first for review, then are routed to AP. This makes it difficult to accrue and track them.

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TAPN has a PO-invoice flowchart, but it probably does not provide the help you are looking for—it assumes PO invoices come to AP. However, it is a tool that you can modify and use to map your current system, and then perhaps chart a better approach. Get to it in the TAPN menus by going to the AP Tools Suite >> AP Tools >> AP Flowchart Templates >> Purchase Order Processing Flowchart Template.  Also see the Three Way Match, Batch Processing Flowchart.

Best practice is to have all invoices sent to accounts payable, rather than to field offices, for the very reason you state. It’s important to know about and enter liabilities as soon as they arrive, not when others in the organization get around to forwarding invoices to you. Non-PO invoices must still go through an approval workflow. But the value of a good PO process is that the review, approval and coding are all done up front. The invoice should come directly to AP, which then matches it to the PO and receiving document in order to pay. Exceptions must run through a workflow to resolve issues (see The Invoice Match Game), but most of the PO invoices should go right through.

Why do your PO-based invoices go to the field offices instead of AP?  How sound is your PO process?  Of course, if your PO system does not function properly—for example, if someone can enter a zero-dollar PO and go ahead with an order—then that PO is useless for matching; AP then has to get approval for the invoice. But that defeats the purpose of a PO. (You might also want to see Every Which Way but the Right Way: Getting Invoices to AP.)

If you wish to provide more detail about your current process and reasons that PO-invoices go to the field offices instead of to AP, we have experts with a lot of experience who may be able to provide more help.

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