Accounts Payable

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The Accounts Payable is a secondary branch of the financial accounting , specifically for the accounting of Kontokorrentbeziehungen between the private company and the vendor (service external suppliers and external providers) is responsible.

The main task of Accounts Payable is the processing of vendor invoices . In detail, this includes the activities such as accounts payable master record maintenance , invoice verification and account assignment, recording (posting) of incoming invoices and credit notes, open item management, initiating payment (including down payments and advance payments), archiving as well as general reporting in the accounts payable area . In addition, other topics belong to the typical range of tasks in accounts payable such as B. the processing of incoming mail, the creation and execution of standing orders ( standing instructions), the crediting procedure , the travel expense accounting, the care of the credit dunning system, the management of the credit-side bank journal, the maintenance of the so-called GR / IR clearing account, the execution of the balance confirmations , the correspondence with the accounts payable as well as compliance with all legal and internal company regulations and guidelines.

Of course, accounts payable is closely related to procurement, especially purchasing . The integration of accounts payable into the general ledger takes place via a reconciliation account . The balances of individual vendor accounts are totaled on the reconciliation account. The reconciliation account is transferred to the liabilities side of the balance sheet and shows the open credit balances there .

Vendor master record maintenance

As part of the vendor master record maintenance , all vendors with whom a permanent or regular business relationship can be expected are usually recorded in an ERP system as reference data records (vendor master records) with their own identification number (vendor number). All data that remain unchanged over the long term, such as name, company form, address, other contact details and payment methods or bank details, are stored in it. They thus serve as an internal data reference source when entering the incoming invoices of the vendor concerned. The suppliers or service providers, with whom no permanent or regular business relationship is to be expected, are usually processed via a one -time account .

Accounts payable invoice verification and account assignment

When checking invoices in the accounts payable area, it largely depends on the mathematical check of the invoice details, i. For example, the amount of goods calculated in the invoice and the price invoiced for it is compared with the information in the order , any differences that may arise are clarified and any necessary booking / payment approval (approval) obtained. The release (confirmation of receipt) from the recipient of a product or service is carried out as part of a factual review and is therefore usually a prerequisite for posting and paying a vendor invoice. In the case of deliveries of goods , receipt of the goods in terms of quantity and quality is confirmed by the recipient of the goods by posting a goods receipt in the warehouse using a delivery note . The proper provision of a service is also acknowledged in writing by the recipient of the service. Depending on the complexity of the release and approval strategy in a company, special workflow systems are increasingly being used that optimize the entire invoice verification process through machine-controlled routing of individual tasks in connection with automatic email notification of the people involved in the release process.

Recording of incoming invoices on the credit side

In most companies, the incoming invoices in relation to a purchase order prior to the procurement process are recorded in an ERP system using the vendor number (vendor master record, vendor account). The supplier's receivables (invoice amount ) are set as a liability ( credit ) on the vendor account . Either an inventory account or an expense account is posted as a counterpart in the debit . Any VAT shown on the invoice is recorded in a pre-tax account.

Example booking record :

via expense account (100 €) to vendor (119 €)
via input tax account (19 €)  
Target total: 119 € Total credit: 119 €

Open item management

As part of open item management, activities such as locking and unlocking for payment, adjusting the due date of individual vendor items, checking old items or checking for duplicate entries are carried out. The due date structure of the invoices offers the possibility of short-term liquidity planning .

Initiate payment

After the due date is reached, open accounts payable are settled with a payment . The type of payment execution depends on the capabilities of the ERP system used. Payments can be made manually by filling in a transfer form, or automatically using special online banking programs or using an automatically controlled payment run. In these payment runs, all due vendor items that are not blocked for payment are automatically selected according to previously defined criteria and transferred to the house bank for payment using the bank details stored in the vendor master records using a special DTA file ( data carrier exchange file) .

Archiving of incoming invoices

In order to meet the statutory retention period , credit invoices must be kept for 10 years in Germany . For this purpose, all invoices are usually sorted chronologically and alphabetically after posting, filed in folders, boxes or similar filing systems and stored in rooms provided for this purpose. After the retention period has expired, they can be physically destroyed. It is permissible to keep the vendor invoices in a special electronic archive instead of in paper form . All invoices that have already been posted are scanned and saved on a data carrier. After it has been ensured that all documents have been scanned without gaps, the associated paper documents can be destroyed.

General reporting in the accounts payable area

The classic accounts payable reports include evaluations such as the accounts payable open item list or the accounts payable balance list for a key date as well as the evaluation of the master data or the analysis of the due date structure.

See also


  • Bernd Urban: Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable . 2nd Edition. Haufe, Freiburg 2018, ISBN 978-3-648-11201-4 .

Web links

  • [3]
  • [4]

Individual evidence

  1. ^ University of Heidelberg: Accounts Payable ( Memento from June 6, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  2. [1]
  3. [2] (PDF; 2.2 MB) Invoice Verification p. 8–11