Policies and Procedures for Ensuring the 3-Way Match Occurs Before Paying Invoice

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Your first job as the newly appointed head of the Accounts Payable department is to devise an internal process (i.e. “desk procedures”) to ensure that invoices are not paid unless and until a three-way match happens. You have access to company purchase orders and the shipping/receiving department forwards you the packing slips with the quantities verified (or discrepancy reports when the received quantities do not agree with purchase order quantities).

The policies and procedures should be drafted as follows:
The Controller/Chief Accountant is responsible for …..
The Head of Accounts Payable (you) is responsible for …..
Accounts Payable Personnel are responsible for ….
Shipping and Receiving is responsible for ….
Purchasing Department is responsible for ….
Procedures (Procedures usually follow the process flow)
1. The Purchasing Department will ensure that copies of all executed purchase orders are entered into the “Vendors/Create Purchase Orders” section of QuickBooks within two working days from date of execution. Purchase order information will contain, at a minimum,
a. Inventory item number and description
b. Unit price
c. Expected ship date
d. Terms of the sales
e. All agreed to additive costs including freight-in, handling, sales tax, etc.
f. The buyer name and phone number
g. The seller contact name, phone number, and email.
2. The Shipping/Receiving Department will ….
3. Etc etc

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The purpose of this three-way match policy is to ensure that:
* Payments are processed in a timely manner
* Compliance with applicable laws and policies
* Optimum management of operating cash to maximize benefit
* Invoices are not paid unless and until a three-way match happens, and
* Prevent duplicate payments in order to safeguard assets

Accounts payable has the sole authority to process payments provided that three-way matching is done before any payment is processed. Generally, for all goods purchased, a three-way matching system involving the matching of the Purchase Order (PO), Vendor Invoice (VI) and the Receiving Report (RR) is done before payments are released. Accounts payable will only release payments if the PO, VI and GRIR match.
The matching is to be done manually by accounts payable since QuickBooks does not have integrated PO, RR and invoice data, thus it cannot process the payments automatically without the intervention of accounts payable personnel. Where the PO, VI and GRIR do not match, the payment should be held for further verification, and only released upon amendment of the issues that prevent matching....
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