A voucher is an internal document describing and authorizing the payment of a liability to a supplier. It is most commonly used in a manual payment system. A voucher typically contains the following information:
- The identification number of the supplier
- The amount to be paid
- The date on which payment should be made
- The accounts to be charged to record the liability
- Any applicable early payment discount terms
- An approval signature or stamp
Voucher information may be assembled into a packet, where the basic voucher document is attached to the supplier invoice, evidence of receipt, and purchase order. This packet is useful for keeping related documents in one place, and makes it easier to both justify and audit payables transactions.
A voucher is created following the receipt of an invoice from a supplier. It is stamped "paid" when a check or electronic payment is made to a supplier, and is then archived, along with any supporting documents.
Vouchers are useful for maintaining a higher level of control over the payables process.
If vouchers are used for all payables, their totals can be aggregated to determine the total amount of accounts payable outstanding. This function is not needed in a computerized system, where the aged payables report is used instead.
A voucher is not created when a liability has only been accrued (which is in the absence of a supplier invoice). Also, vouchers are not used in the payroll process.