At my house there was an old shed covered with an asbestos roof. Last spring I decided to have the roof removed. It came as a pleasant surprise to observe the manner in which the roof was removed by a very specific division of labor. There appeared to be a clear division of tasks between the various parties needed in the process of remediation.
Firstly, I had to contract one company for conducting an inventory and risk analysis. Then another company removed asbestos which was verified by yet another company. And sometimes, on random basis, the municipality comes over to check the whole situation.
In my daily practice, which involves billing and purchasing processes, I often notice that there is no clear division of functions. For example, I regularly make sure that creditors’ employees register invoices and then approve them. I understand that this is sometimes very handy, but in view of the likelihood of mistakes and fraud sensitivity this is obviously a matter of trouble. Also, I see administrators who can manage the procurement scheme (which governs all competences). And what to think of colleagues who, from the comfort of the argument, always work together from one generic account. There you go with your traceability of mistakes, fraud or otherwise …
I also regularly see that the authorizations granted during the test phase will never be modified. The result? Employees in all roles are permanently empowered to perform tasks that are absolutely not in their position. And then we still have that manager who wants to see and accrue all invoices. Something that of course never succeeds when tigging is over. Then suddenly click-through will stop without assessing whether the data is correct.
Long story short: I have ceased to amaze how so many companies manage these risks, albeit I keep pointing out the risks to companies. The risks are typically downplayed, until an employee decides to try his luck.
Asbestos Removal as Role Model
The process of asbestos removal is very tight with a clear separation of functions. Each party has its own role and adheres to it. In particular, in order to prevent mistakes and fraudulent practices. I strongly believe that the financial world can learn a bit from this practice.
Would you like explore the topic further and how purchase to pay automation could enforce this split? Contact us, we will be happy to discuss matters with you.
Vincent Wouters, Managing Director ICreative
As Basware and Kofax partner, ICreative delivers purchase to pay and e-invoicing solutions to large companies, multinationals, educational and governmental institutions. Our solutions enhance control on business spend and reduce complexity of the purchase to pay process. Regardless of the ERP systems in use and regardless of the number of offices, countries, currencies and languages they have in scope.