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    The Invoice Approval Process

    Approvals should be avoided as much as possible in the accounts payable process. There is a significant bottleneck involved in waiting for a manager to approve an invoice, so use as many other alternatives as possible.

    For example:

    • Use purchase order as approval. If the purchasing department has already issued a purchase order, then the purchase order itself should be sufficient evidence that an invoice can be paid.
    • Eliminate approvals for small amounts. Establish a threshold invoice amount, below which there is no need for an approval.
    • Use negative approvals. Send an invoice copy to an approver, with instructions to only respond if there is a problem with the invoice. The accounts payable staff will assume that all other invoices have been approved by default.
    • Obtain approvals in person. If it is absolutely necessary to obtain an approval, have an accounting person hand-deliver the invoice, answer any questions posed by the approver, and bring back the signed invoice. Doing so is time-consuming, but ensures that invoices will be returned in a timely manner.


    A discussion of accounts payable best practices is available on Episode 81 of the Accounting Best Practices podcast. Listen Now.

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