Q. (cont.) Do we need to have them still send us the original invoice, or does the scanned invoice suffice as the original invoice from an internal control perspective?
A. The scanned image suffices from a legal record standpoint; as for internal controls, there actually is risk in the continued existence of a paper invoice that has been scanned and submitted electronically, namely the possibility of duplicate submission. In a scanning environment, best practice is to get rid of the paper once the scan is completed and reviewed/confirmed as complete and legible.
Applying that to your situation is perhaps slightly complicated, in that those doing the scanning are decentralized and not in AP (nor a single outsourced scanning service). A concern in a decentralized situation might be quality of the scans you receive and whether AP sometimes needs the original for confirmation or rescan, and the reliability and consistency of whoever is doing the scanning in those off-site locations, plus the possibility of lost emails, which may drive a need to have the original paper follow to AP. That is what you want to consider. But generally, once you have the electronic image, get rid of the paper.