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Accounts Payable

Accounts Payable – A growing problem in Australia

Accounts Payable (AP) departments are increasingly falling victim to cybercrime and fraud. Digital transformation across the business landscape means cybercriminals are resorting to increasingly sophisticated and creative tactics.

Some of the ways outdated AP processes can put your organisation at risk include:
  • Heavily dependent on manual data entry by accounts payable clerks
  • Manual variance checks between purchase orders and purchase receipts
  • Chasing missing information via emails
  • Spot-checking for duplicate invoices and errors
  • Manual invoice entry into an accounting software
  • Manual payment entry into your banking portal

If your processes look like any of the above, chances are there are more urgent issues within the business being given higher priority than the efficiency of your AP department.

However, outdated and inefficient accounts payable methods could also put your entire organisation at risk, significantly increasing the likelihood of becoming a target of cybercrime.

So how exactly do poorly executed AP processes expose you to cyber risk?

Here are some key examples:

  • Lack of authorisation and approval process allows employees to process invoices and payments without scrutiny, opening up the risk of exploitation for personal gain
  • Weak passwords in your accounting system, or easily accessible by unauthorised users, make your organisation’s network vulnerable to breaches by malicious actors
  • Inexperienced and untrained employees without company procedures to follow are unable to recognise and mitigate the suspicious activity. They may innocently install malware or ransomware
  • The accounts payable team is under stress due to a heavy workload, resulting in errors
  • Business emails are compromised, leading to fraudulent changes to bank account details on supplier invoices
  • Phishing emails appearing to be from a senior executive, requesting an urgent funds transfer

A recent Commonwealth Bank article stated that the most common contact method scammers used against businesses was email.  James Fleming is Senior Manager Fraud Risk & Advisory at CommBank. He agrees that all organisations are vulnerable to business email compromise – and human error is often the weakest link.

“All it takes is for one person’s email to be compromised, and your business could end up paying someone a large sum of money,” Fleming says.

What is staggering, given the relatively small population of Australia compared to the rest of the world, is how disproportionately high the occurrence of cybercrime is here. Research from Surfshark in 2021 placed Australia at position 4 in the top 10 countries ranked by reports of cybercrime to the FBI.

Modernising your Accounts Payable processes is one of the best things you can do to protect your organisation. Removing manual activities and taking emails out of the equation will greatly improve your cybersecurity posture, making it much harder for cybercriminals to find vulnerabilities to exploit.

Furthermore, the accuracy and efficiency of automating your AP processes will boost your bottom line. Better supplier relationships, discounts for paying invoices quickly, eliminating manual errors, and preventing employee fraud will drive down business costs and increase profits.

How can AlphaBiz Solutions help you?

Call us today and speak to our business professionals. Find out how you can streamline your accounts payable processes to protect your business against fraud and error:

  • ERP best practice benchmark using a modern and sophisticated business management system that tightly integrates AP with the whole of business
  • Automatic import of supplier invoices with purchase order matching, project allocation, and stock item matching
  • Basic to sophisticated approval processes
  • High-risk invoice detection
  • Supplier verification

 

 

 

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