VISUAL NEWSLETTER – JUL 2006                         

 


LIBRA FILE VS. FORM PROCESSING

 

We have been getting more and more requests for Adobe Acrobat forms lately. As companies become more computerized they are opting to store documents electronically.  Adobe Acrobat or PDF files have the advantage of being relatively compact and almost universally compatible with most computer systems. All a user requires is the free Adobe Acrobat Reader program to view these files on any computer. Adobe files can be e-mailed easily and can replace the mailed or faxed copies of Purchase Orders, Shipping Advices, Invoices, Lab Test Results, Financial Statements, etc.

 

Libra can be adapted fairly easily to create these forms with the help of a free utility that we can integrate into your normal processing. If you are using pre-printed forms we would have to add headings and such for the form to make sense but this can be done fairly easily.

 

Since requests for PDF forms are not yet the norm we often use a flag in the Vendor or Customer file to determine which forms to convert to PDF and which are printed on normal paper. Folders are typically set up to store the forms with sub-folders coded with the Vendor or Customer Id. An invoice No 12345 for customer ABC100 would appear as 12345.PDF in folder ABC100 under folder INVOICES. This makes it easy to locate attach and e-mail to the appropriate customer.  This can also become a filing system for such forms as well.

 

With some additional optional software and programming the document can even be e-mailed automatically if you set up the customer’s e-mail info.

 

Some advantages of electronic forms are:

 

1)    Same day creation, transmission & receipt

2)    Reduced paper form costs

3)    Reduced postage costs

4)    Reduced filing space

 

The main disadvantage to electronic forms is that they can be easily deleted with an inadvertent click of the mouse. This means that your backups must be in good order if you wish to skip dealing with paper copies.

 

We also have an optional invoice retention system that works with Libra to retain a copy of every invoice, allowing you to re-print invoices as required. Many clients have used this capability to reduce the number of invoice copies that they print and hence reduce filing time and space also . A single internal paper copy is still a recommendation for backup purposes or if an auditor wants to take a look at your invoices. With this system as well, good backup strategies are all important.

 

CHEQUE FRAUD ON THE RISE

 

Bank cheque fraud is on the rise. Almost every month now, clients approach us with new bank requirements to avoid cheque fraud. Once certain individuals have your bank account data you will see fraudulent cheques on a regular basis. Most banks are pushing clients into Positive Pay / Payee Match systems to avoid these problems. Since companies routinely send out legitimate cheques for large dollar amounts spotting fraud is not an easy thing to do. Banks have been incurring substantial losses and bickering over who is responsible for the loss. Some have been warning their customers that they must report cheque fraud within 48 hours or the bank will not be responsible for the loss.

 

With this in mind at the very least most companies should consider a Positive Pay System. This entails creating and sending a file to the bank listing Cheque Numbers and Amounts. Any cheque that does not match those that you send to the bank is rejected. Some Positive Pay Systems do not require that you change your account number, but if you have already been hit by cheque fraud this option may still be advisable.

 

Many banks also offer Payee Match systems, which also check the payee name on the cheque against that in the file that you send them. Any difference will cause the cheque to reject. You have a limited time to authorize a cheque if the error is at your end, otherwise the cheques will be returned. One complication of the Payee Match System is that your cheques have to pass rigorous testing and in most cases you must open a new bank account to activate the service. Make sure that your printer has the specific bank’s requirements, for their system, otherwise cheques may fail and require reprinting.

 

A primary source of cheque fraud is mail theft. Companies often leave outgoing mail on the front desk. This is an easy target for individuals that walk in and grab a bundle of mail if they see what looks like a number of cheques. Occasionally companies do not even miss the cheques if different individuals take the mail to the post office and assume they have been mailed. Smarter criminals will simply change the name the cheque is payable to and cash the cheque at its original value making it more difficult to determine fraud has occurred unless the cheques are visually scanned during cheque reconciliation.

 

One way to avoid the obvious, is to avoid window envelopes when mailing out cheques. We have implemented both mailing labels and computer addressed envelopes to hide the obvious nature of cheques when:  Pay to the order of  is in the window.