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Sharing Accounts Payable function

Kathleen Reardon's Profile

We are about to hire a 2nd person for the A/P function and discussing alternative ways to split the work load. The current person has several years experience here and is "protective" of her job i.e wants to control everything. There are a few options such as splitting alphabetically, splitting by "type of vendor", splitting by dept etc. Any recommendations? We want to make sure it makes sense not just for the 2 employees who will be processing A/P but also ensures vendor satisfaction and company employee/manager satisfaction. Thanks in advance,


David OBrien
Title: Treasury Consultant
Company: EE Treasury
(Treasury Consultant, EE Treasury) |


Several thoughts:
*Make the existing AP person Senior in title, not as a supervisor but to recognize her existing senior knowledge base
*Have the existing person draft a set of "desktop" procedures to cover all AP activities
*Want to ensure that the new person learns all processes
*In so far as the work load is concerned:
*List all the activities in the AP shop, determine whether they are daily or ad hoc, determine the hours to complete, look at dual control issues
*The analysis will drive the decision as to how to allocate the workload

David L OBrien, CTP

Kathleen Reardon
Title: Controller
Company: South Shore YMCA
(Controller, South Shore YMCA) |

Thanks David,

our current A/P person is already a senior in title but position reports to me, he's not a good candidate for supervisory role...

We do have procedures written up with all A/P activities and I have done an analysis of types of vendors etc. I think I'm just feeling out whether there is an good reason to split vendors in ways other than alphabetically (my preference) Other ways to dept or by type of expense for ex...

in the end it must be workable for everyone involved...(including other employees and managers)

thanks for your input!

Christopher Spratt
Title: Director Global Fin. Systems
Company: Wilderness Trail Bikes, Inc.
(Director Global Fin. Systems, Wilderness Trail Bikes, Inc.) |

My suggestion is to split up the accounts based on activity. I would give the Sr. person fewer large (thus seemingly more important) accounts with a lot of activity and the new hire a greater number of small accounts with less activity. That way the total workload can be split evenly but the Sr. person feels as though they are handling the more important accounts.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

One way that hasn't been broached is asking your existing person to propose the splitting of A/P.

You, of course have to agree to the split; but this gives your current employee the feeling of inclusion with the decision and will help reduce friction within the department ( you did state she is "protective").

Robert Sheidler
Title: Consultant
Company: Self
LinkedIn Profile
(Consultant, Self) |

Splitting the work based on departments has some appeal, but since it often is the case that vendors cross over departments, that is not always practical. I would probably split the vendors -- not necessarily alphabetically, but that might be one option.

If I were to do that, I would periodically switch which vendors is served by each A/P person.

Being protective is natural, but also might be a hint that not everything is entirely kosher.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

Robert makes two good points, which goes to providing internal control elements.

Switching accounts - relieves the direct ability to collude with an individual in the other company and adds a dimension of conspiracy in your company, which is more difficult to create.

Second, is your current A/P clerk showing other signs or behaviors that would make a third-party suspicious of possible misdeeds. Which include not only protectionism, but long hours, limited or no vacations, clear desk but disastrous filing systems, etc. to name a few.

Kathleen Reardon
Title: Controller
Company: South Shore YMCA
(Controller, South Shore YMCA) |

thanks to all for your feedback, I do appreciate it. I did ask for her input but I don't think it's the way I want to go. I doubt there is any type of fraud, we have good auditors and top level interest from our CFO as well. In the end of course, the decision will be up to me and I do see an alphabetical split where the 2 largest and most complicated vendors as wekk as our cc activity is hadled by her. And yes, I agree with skaking things up later, all about cross training too.



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