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Duplicate Invoice Check - Part 1

Introduction:

 

When I was sent on my first assignment on starting out my career as an apprentice with an Auditing firm, the first instruction that was handed out was to cross check all the Invoices with their Purchase orders and the GR documents.

 

If all the documents were in place they had to be marked with a green tick. And if by any chance any instance was noticed wherein all the documents were not in place, it was a probable duplicate invoice posted in the system and it had to be marked with a red mark to be digged in further.

 

At that time, I used to wonder if there was any automated system to do this manual task or even better to prevent any of this from happening, it would have been great.

 

SAP has an answer to address this issue.

 

Object of the document:

 

This document is an attempt to analyze the issue of duplicate invoice postings and ways to prevent them.

 

The document covers:

 

  • Brief introduction to Duplicate Invoices

  • Possible reasons for Duplicate Invoice Postings

  • Holistic approach to be adopted to prevent Duplicate Invoice Postings

  • Detailed overview of the processes available in SAP to prevent Duplicate Invoice Postings

  • Example illustrating the duplicate invoice check process in SAP

 

 

Duplicate Invoices:

 

 

Duplicate Invoice postings happen when a single invoice received from a vendor is posted in the system more than once and consequently paid more than once.

 

 

Reasons for Duplicate Invoice Posting:

 

 

Duplicate Invoices might be posted in the SAP system because of various reasons such as:

 

 

  • Vendors sending invoices more than once because of delay in payments or misplacement of invoices
  • Invoices posted twice because of simple inefficiency of accounting staff
  • Duplicate Invoices posted by staff with an intention to defraud the organization

 

Duplicate Invoice Posting which can be prevented:

 

Duplicate invoice postings and consequent payments made as a result of AP staff colluding with vendors with an intention to defraud the organization would require targeted efforts to detect and prevent.

 

In cases other than the above, duplicate invoice postings can be prevented by adopting the inbuilt features and processes in SAP.

 

 

Holistic Approach to Prevent Duplicate Invoice Postings:

Implementing the inbuilt processes in SAP for checking Duplicate Invoice Postings will not eliminate the risk of duplicate invoice posting arising because of collusion of AP staff to commit fraud.

 

But it will certainly help in making the system more robust and reduce the chances of duplicate entries because of reasons other than fraud.

 

A holistic approach to mitigate the risk of duplicate invoice postings includes:

 

  • Restricting the access to create vendor masters to authorized people only and preferably staff from non-AP functions
  • Putting in place framework for preventing creation of duplicate vendors
  • Creating a framework for identifying and blocking vendors that do not have any transactions in say, previous three months
  • Making certain fields like Bank Account Number, Alternate Payee etc. in the vendor master as sensitive fields, requiring approval by authorized persons, for making changes
  • Use the PO process for most, if not all procurements
  • Use the three way check (Purchase Order, Goods Receipt and Invoice Verification)
  • Limit the usage of Non-PO processes for procurement
  • Adopting the process of parking, posting and approving of invoices by different users, to record invoices.
  • Making the Header Reference Number field as a mandatory field for all the document types used for posting vendor invoices
  • Making requisite configuration settings to achieve the duplicate invoice checks in case of Logistics Invoices.
  • Finally, creating programs for identifying duplicate payments which have passed through despite the best efforts

 

Processes to be adopted in SAP to carry out a check for Duplicate Invoice Posting:

 

In SAP there is an inbuilt check for ensuring that duplicate invoices are not posted.

 

The check can be achieved by a combination of the following:

 

  • Vendor Master data maintained with Indicator for duplicate invoices and credit memos checked
  • Message to be displayed on entering a duplicate invoice should be maintained as - Error Message Type
  • Additional parameters configured in SPRO to control the fields to be checked in case of Logistics Invoice Verification
  • Making the Reference document number field as a mandatory field for all the document types used for posting vendor invoices
  • Maintain the field - Check Flag for Double Invoices and Credit Memos (LFB1-REPRF), as mandatory, for the account groups being used for vendors

 

 

Duplicate Invoice Check – Relationship with Invoice Type:

 

The Duplicate Invoice check carried out by the system will depend upon whether the invoice is a:

 

  • FI Document or
  • Logistics Invoice document

 

Duplicate Invoice Check Process Flow.png

 

Process Flow of Duplicate Invoice Check depending upon Invoice Type:

 

 

Fields checked in case of Logistics Invoice Verifiaction:

 

In case of Logistics Invoice, the following six fields would be checked to identify duplicate invoices in standard SAP:

 

  • Company Code
  • Vendor
  • Currency
  • Gross Invoice Amount
  • Reference document number
  • Invoice Date

 

Out of the above fields, there is an option available to skip the checking of any of the following three fields while trying to identify duplicate invoices:

 

  • Company Code
  • Reference document number
  • Invoice Date

 

This can be acheived by carrying out the requisite configuration in the transaction - OMRDC.

 

Whether the duplicate invoice checks would consider the fields Company Code, Reference Document Number and Invoice Date would depend upon whether these fields are configured as activated or deactivated in OMRDC.

 

 

DescriptionTransaction Code
Set Check for Duplicate InvoicesOMRDC

 

Duplicate Invoice Check - OMRDC.PNG

 

Screenshot of Duplicate Invoice Check Configuration:

 

Fields checked in case of FI Invoices:

 

The fields to be checked to identify duplicate invoices in the case of FI invoices depend upon whether the reference document number is filled or not.

 

Reference document number is NOT filled up:

 

In the cases where the reference document number field is not filled up, the following fields would be checked to identify duplicate invoices:

 

  • Company Code
  • Vendor
  • Currency
  • Invoice Date
  • Amount in document currency

 

Reference document number is filled up:

 

In the cases where the reference document number field is filled up, the following fields would be checked to identify duplicate invoices:

 

  • Company Code
  • Vendor
  • Currency
  • Invoice Date
  • Reference document number

 

Illustration of Duplicate Invoice Check:

 

SAP Configuration - Define the field Double invoice validation as mandatory field:

 

Maintaining the field status of the field - Double invoice validation as a required entry field will ensure that whenever a vendor master is created the field Check Flag for Double Invoices or Credit Memos in the Payment Data tab of the company code segment of the vendor master is always checked.

 

 

DescriptionTransaction Code
Define Screen Layout per Company Code (Vendors)SPRO

 

Account Group.PNG

 

Screenshot of Field Status of Double Invoice validation field marked as mandatory:

 

 

Master data - Maintain Vendor Master:

 

DescriptionTransaction Code
Create/Change vendor masterFK01/FK02/XK01/XK02

 

 

Vendor Master.PNG

Screenshot of Vendor Master Data:

 

 

SAP Configuration - Change Message Control:

 

Maintain the message - Check whether document has already been entered under number & & & as an Error message type.

 

This will put a hard stop to the process of duplicate invoice being posted in the system.

 

If the message is not maintained as an error message the system will display the message as a warning or information and allow the user to go ahead and post the duplicate invoice.

 

 

DescriptionTransaction Code
Check Message ControlOBA5

 

Maintain Error Message.PNG

 

Screenshot of Error Message maintained:

 

 

SAP Configuration - Maintain Document Type:

 

Maintain the field - Reference Document Number (XBLNR) in all the document types used for posting vendor invoices as requiring an entry while posting invoices.

 

This will make the user mandatorily enter a Vendor Invoice number in the field. This will aid in the process of duplicate invoice check in the system.

 

 

DescriptionTransaction Code
Maintain/Change Document TypesOBA7

 

 

Document Type - Reference Number Field.PNG

 

Screenshot of Document Type with Reference document number field marked as mandatory:

 

Transactional data 1 - for illustrating Duplicate Invoice Check process:

 

 

DescriptionTransaction Code
Enter Vendor InvoiceFB60

 

Post an Invoice against a vendor.

 

In the example an invoice is posted against a vendor with the following parameters:

 

  • Company Code - 0001
  • Vendor - TESTVENDOR
  • Currency - EUR
  • Invoice Date - 19.12.2012
  • Reference document number - DUPL1

 

Document Posted.PNG

 

Screenshot of Document entered

 

A document is posted with number 1900000005 as displayed above.

 

Transactional data 2 - for illustrating Duplicate Invoice Check process:

 

 

DescriptionTransaction Code
Enter Vendor InvoiceFB60

 

Try to post a Duplicate Invoice against the same vendor with the same parameters as already mentioned above.

 

In this example an invoice is tried to be posted against the same vendor with the identical input parameters as already entered for document - 1900000005:

 

  • Company Code - 0001
  • Vendor - TESTVENDOR
  • Currency - EUR
  • Invoice Date - 19.12.2012
  • Reference document number - DUPL1

 

After entering the input parameters when the save button is clicked an error message is displayed - Check whether document has already been entered under number 0001 1900000005 2012

 

Duplicate Invoice Error Message.PNG

 

Error Message Screen Shot:

 

For further details and illustrations please refer to the SCN document - http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-35424

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