Automated Systems to Prevent Duplicate Payments

Automating Duplicate Payment Analysis

There are many different systems on the market that are supposed to identify duplicate payments or enable easy identification of them by your staff. Such systems need to be carefully configured in order to be a timesaving benefit as they will continually detect non-duplicates such as regular payments to the same supplier or additional payments made under various special circumstances. Once these systems have been configured or have learned to overlook proper payments, it must be ensured that they do not overlook bonafide duplicate payments so as not to give a false sense of security to an accounts payable department that is repeatedly making incorrect or duplicate payments.

Certain AI systems are now available that have a very limited set of parameters that they can learn so that they can start to make assumptions about the accounts payable systems. Once they have seen certain examples of duplicate payments and they have began to associate certain behaviours with duplicate payments, they may well be on the way to learning how to spot duplicate payments or overpayments.

Is a Robot the Best Option?

No machine or set of rules though, can compete with an expert duplicate payment recovery team as they can not only flag, but ascertain the existence of a duplicate or overpayment. This enables an external team to complete the whole process of identifying, ascertaining, assuring and subsequently recovering duplicate payments. Any externally applied team will only be taking a percentage of duplicate payments recovered and therefore can never represent a cost to any business whereas an incorrectly applied authentication of payments or extra steps in the process can easily become an overall cost in terms of the time spent or money invested as human behaviour will change in spite of the extra checks and duplicates will find another way of being created.

Are Preventative Measures Better?

Well they are certainly useful if implemented sensibly. The problem come when you actually look at how these systems work. Firstly they are an upfront cost and really only successful because they are an easier pill to swallow for the head of finance. They don't make anyone feel nervous as they are all actions taken by the internal staff and do not involve anyone looking into the books or treading on peoples' toes. The truth is though, that they are a cost that may or may not be recovered. In other words they are a risk. That is the great thing about an external team running a duplicate payments review. They only cost a fraction of what they find and so they are risk free and completely self regulated. If they find nothing, you pay nothing. The accounts payable department will always know that there is duplication as the audit department will have been through their accounts before, and there are always duplicate payments.

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