VISUAL NEWSLETTER OCT 2004

 


AUTOMATED CHEQUE PROCESSING

 

The manual processing of cheques creates a number of problems for which technology can provide a number of solutions. The problems presented are primarily Time, Cost and Cheque Fraud. Each of these problems has a number of possible solutions that can alleviate the problem. Each company must decide which programs work best for them.

 

To address Time concerns, the following may be helpful:

 

Laser cheques print much more quickly then dot-matrix cheques and provide built in extra cheque stubs for company retained copies.

 

For companies with multiple bank accounts cheques can be printed on blank stock with magnetic encoding by the printer. This reduces time spent switching and maintaining multiple cheques for multiple bank accounts.

 

If you run Cheque Reconciliation for a large number of cheques your bank may provide an electronic reconciliation file. This can be processed by Libra to automatically reconcile all of the cheques in the file and provide a listing of any cheques that do not match the ones you sent out.

 

To address Cost concerns, the following solutions may be worth noting:

 

Computer generated cheques for companies dealing with multiple bank accounts allow the company to purchase large numbers of blank cheques rather than smaller runs of bank specific cheques. This keeps the cost per cheque down in this instance. Keep in mind that you must also factor in the program cost for this feature as well as the cost of magnetic toner cartridges. Companies who use this technology generally dedicate one printer to the cheque printing function for this reason.

 

Automated cheque reconciliation reduces cost by reducing labour spent reconciling and catching instances of cheque fraud quickly.

 

For some companies direct deposit and / or e-payments can result in considerable savings. The cost of these programs varies from bank to bank and there are other companies such as TelPay out of Winnipeg that offer the services as well. Typically, there is a flat monthly fee for this service plus a fee per transmission and / or per transaction. A large number of companies use this service for direct deposit payroll purposes. When you consider the cost of physical cheques, envelopes, postage, bank clearing charges and such this can amount to considerable savings for many companies.

 

To address Fraud concerns, a number of the previous solutions as well as a few more are worth a look:

 

Blank Laser encoded cheques reduce the possibility of someone stealing a blank cheque and addressing and cashing it.

 

Some new laser encoded cheques also offer new technologies to make it more difficult to copy. Any physical cheque can be scanned and easily changed and reprinted nowadays. Ive even heard of kids scanning and printing their own money this way and cashing it in at school. This sort of activity is behind the high-tech features in our brand new 20-dollar bill.

 

Many banks now offer Positive Payment services. When you print a run of cheques you send the bank an electronic list of the cheque numbers, payee names and amounts.

They will not clear any cheques that are not on that electronic list, negating a lot of fraud.

 

Automated cheque reconciliation highlights cheque fraud as well, albeit after the fact.

 

Direct Deposit and e-payments are another line of defence against cheque fraud. However it is sometimes more difficult to persuade vendors to supply you with their bank accounts then it is with employees who are generally happy with direct deposits.