We enjoyed reading the attached article by Mary S. Schaeffer asking if there is best practice for assigning vendor numbers. She does an excellent job describing the various methods companies can use to keep and maintain control of this important function. It is obvious from the article that an effective vendor numbering system is a prerequisite to an effective invoice payment process. We have all worked with vendor files that have been poorly designed or administered. The problems include both the frustrations associated with multiple vendor entries, but also the very real risk of duplicate payments. In addition to ensuring a safe, secure and easy-to-use payments process, the best vendor number assignments aid in “downstream” reporting. For example, you may wish to install a vendor number assignment process that includes a code for the type of vendor, or perhaps the type of tax entity, so as to aid in the appropriate tax handling or reporting.  

While there are several alternatives presented, it is clear they all require a thoughtful design approach as well as a well-defined and controlled process for creation and assignment. That is why we were very surprised to hear on a prospect call this past week that one of the big ERP vendors has introduced a module that allows anyone at any time to create a new vendor record and issue a vendor number!  We foresee big problems on the horizon for companies that follow this approach.

DataServ has a better way. With our PO Requisition solution, anyone can request to add a new vendor to the master, but that request is subject to approval from Accounts Payable or the Controller’s organization. Once approved, all request data is fed automatically into your ERP, thus leveraging your system of record while reducing labor costs around this key business process. This solution offers flexibility without the risk of losing control of your vendor file - something no company can afford to have happen!

So what do you think?  Should anyone be allowed to assign vendor numbers, or is this something that should be left for Finance and Accounting?

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