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Introduction:

When I was sent on my first assignment on starting out my career as an apprentice with an Auditing firm, the first instruction that was handed out was to cross check all the Invoices with their Purchase orders and the GR documents.

If all the documents were in place they had to be marked with a green tick. And if by any chance any instance was noticed wherein all the documents were not in place, it was a probable duplicate invoice posted in the system and it had to be marked with a red mark to be digged in further.

At that time, I used to wonder if there was any automated system to do this manual task or even better to prevent any of this from happening, it would have been great.

SAP has an answer to address this issue.

Object of the document:

This document is an attempt to analyze the issue of duplicate invoice postings and ways to prevent them.

The document covers:

  • Brief introduction to Duplicate Invoices
  • Possible reasons for Duplicate Invoice Postings
  • Holistic approach to be adopted to prevent Duplicate Invoice Postings
  • Detailed overview of the processes available in SAP to prevent Duplicate Invoice Postings
  • Example illustrating the duplicate invoice check process in SAP

Duplicate Invoices:

Duplicate Invoice postings happen when a single invoice received from a vendor is posted in the system more than once and consequently paid more than once.

Reasons for Duplicate Invoice Posting:

Duplicate Invoices might be posted in the SAP system because of various reasons such as:

  • Vendors sending invoices more than once because of delay in payments or misplacement of invoices
  • Invoices posted twice because of simple inefficiency of accounting staff
  • Duplicate Invoices posted by staff with an intention to defraud the organization

Duplicate Invoice Posting which can be prevented:

Duplicate invoice postings and consequent payments made as a result of AP staff colluding with vendors with an intention to defraud the organization would require targeted efforts to detect and prevent.

In cases other than the above, duplicate invoice postings can be prevented by adopting the inbuilt features and processes in SAP.

Holistic Approach to Prevent Duplicate Invoice Postings:

Implementing the inbuilt processes in SAP for checking Duplicate Invoice Postings will not eliminate the risk of duplicate invoice posting arising because of collusion of AP staff to commit fraud.

But it will certainly help in making the system more robust and reduce the chances of duplicate entries because of reasons other than fraud.

A holistic approach to mitigate the risk of duplicate invoice postings includes:

  • Restricting the access to create vendor masters to authorized people only and preferably staff from non-AP functions
  • Putting in place framework for preventing creation of duplicate vendors
  • Creating a framework for identifying and blocking vendors that do not have any transactions in say, previous three months
  • Making certain fields like Bank Account Number, Alternate Payee etc. in the vendor master as sensitive fields, requiring approval by authorized persons, for making changes
  • Use the PO process for most, if not all procurements
  • Use the three way check (Purchase Order, Goods Receipt and Invoice Verification)
  • Limit the usage of Non-PO processes for procurement
  • Adopting the process of parking, posting and approving of invoices by different users, to record invoices.
  • Making the Header Reference Number field as a mandatory field for all the document types used for posting vendor invoices
  • Making requisite configuration settings to achieve the duplicate invoice checks in case of Logistics Invoices.
  • Finally, creating programs for identifying duplicate payments which have passed through despite the best efforts

Processes to be adopted in SAP to carry out a check for Duplicate Invoice Posting:

In SAP there is an inbuilt check for ensuring that duplicate invoices are not posted.

The check can be achieved by a combination of the following:

  • Vendor Master data maintained with Indicator for duplicate invoices and credit memos checked
  • Message to be displayed on entering a duplicate invoice should be maintained as – Error Message Type
  • Additional parameters configured in SPRO to control the fields to be checked in case of Logistics Invoice Verification
  • Making the Reference document number field as a mandatory field for all the document types used for posting vendor invoices
  • Maintain the field – Check Flag for Double Invoices and Credit Memos (LFB1-REPRF), as mandatory, for the account groups being used for vendors

Duplicate Invoice Check – Relationship with Invoice Type:

The Duplicate Invoice check carried out by the system will depend upon whether the invoice is a:

  • FI Document or
  • Logistics Invoice document

Duplicate Invoice Check Process Flow.png

Process Flow of Duplicate Invoice Check depending upon Invoice Type:

Fields checked in case of Logistics Invoice Verifiaction:

In case of Logistics Invoice, the following six fields would be checked to identify duplicate invoices in standard SAP:

  • Company Code
  • Vendor
  • Currency
  • Gross Invoice Amount
  • Reference document number
  • Invoice Date

Out of the above fields, there is an option available to skip the checking of any of the following three fields while trying to identify duplicate invoices:

  • Company Code
  • Reference document number
  • Invoice Date

This can be acheived by carrying out the requisite configuration in the transaction – OMRDC.

Whether the duplicate invoice checks would consider the fields Company Code, Reference Document Number and Invoice Date would depend upon whether these fields are configured as activated or deactivated in OMRDC.

Description Transaction Code
Set Check for Duplicate Invoices OMRDC

Duplicate Invoice Check - OMRDC.PNG

Screenshot of Duplicate Invoice Check Configuration:

Fields checked in case of FI Invoices:

The fields to be checked to identify duplicate invoices in the case of FI invoices depend upon whether the reference document number is filled or not.

Reference document number is NOT filled up:

In the cases where the reference document number field is not filled up, the following fields would be checked to identify duplicate invoices:

  • Company Code
  • Vendor
  • Currency
  • Invoice Date
  • Amount in document currency

Reference document number is filled up:

In the cases where the reference document number field is filled up, the following fields would be checked to identify duplicate invoices:

  • Company Code
  • Vendor
  • Currency
  • Invoice Date
  • Reference document number

Illustration of Duplicate Invoice Check:

SAP Configuration – Define the field Double invoice validation as mandatory field:

Maintaining the field status of the field – Double invoice validation as a required entry field will ensure that whenever a vendor master is created the field Check Flag for Double Invoices or Credit Memos in the Payment Data tab of the company code segment of the vendor master is always checked.

Description Transaction Code
Define Screen Layout per Company Code (Vendors) SPRO

Account Group.PNG

Screenshot of Field Status of Double Invoice validation field marked as mandatory:

Master data – Maintain Vendor Master:

Description Transaction Code
Create/Change vendor master FK01/FK02/XK01/XK02

Vendor Master.PNG

Screenshot of Vendor Master Data:

SAP Configuration – Change Message Control:

Maintain the message – Check whether document has already been entered under number & & & as an Error message type.

This will put a hard stop to the process of duplicate invoice being posted in the system.

If the message is not maintained as an error message the system will display the message as a warning or information and allow the user to go ahead and post the duplicate invoice.

Description Transaction Code
Check Message Control OBA5

Maintain Error Message.PNG

Screenshot of Error Message maintained:

SAP Configuration – Maintain Document Type:

Maintain the field – Reference Document Number (XBLNR) in all the document types used for posting vendor invoices as requiring an entry while posting invoices.

This will make the user mandatorily enter a Vendor Invoice number in the field. This will aid in the process of duplicate invoice check in the system.

Description Transaction Code
Maintain/Change Document Types OBA7

Document Type - Reference Number Field.PNG

Screenshot of Document Type with Reference document number field marked as mandatory:

Transactional data 1 – for illustrating Duplicate Invoice Check process:

Description Transaction Code
Enter Vendor Invoice FB60

Post an Invoice against a vendor.

In the example an invoice is posted against a vendor with the following parameters:

  • Company Code – 0001
  • Vendor – TESTVENDOR
  • Currency – EUR
  • Invoice Date – 19.12.2012
  • Reference document number – DUPL1

Document Posted.PNG

Screenshot of Document entered

A document is posted with number 1900000005 as displayed above.

Transactional data 2 – for illustrating Duplicate Invoice Check process:

Description Transaction Code
Enter Vendor Invoice FB60

Try to post a Duplicate Invoice against the same vendor with the same parameters as already mentioned above.

In this example an invoice is tried to be posted against the same vendor with the identical input parameters as already entered for document – 1900000005:

  • Company Code – 0001
  • Vendor – TESTVENDOR
  • Currency – EUR
  • Invoice Date – 19.12.2012
  • Reference document number – DUPL1

After entering the input parameters when the save button is clicked an error message is displayed – Check whether document has already been entered under number 0001 1900000005 2012

Duplicate Invoice Error Message.PNG

Error Message Screen Shot:

For further details and illustrations please refer to the SCN document – http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-35424

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22 Comments

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  1. Vij V

    Hi Ajit,

     

    A very good explanation. I have a question, would it be possible to do this check combining both FI&MM incoices.?

     

    I mean, if an invoice is entered through MIRO and if the same is also entered through FB60, will system still checks?

     

    I know it is more from the process side rather than system control, wanted to check if this is possible in SAP.

     

    Thanks

    Vijay

    (0) 
  2. Supriya Kadam

    Hi,

     

    Great information with explanation.

    I too have query like Vijay that would it be possible to do this check combining both FI (FB60)& MM invoices(MIRO)?

     

    Thanks

    Supriya Kadam

    (0) 
  3. Shekhar Gaikwad

    Hi,

    In our case vendor issues same invoice number series in their new financial year, therefore we receive same invoice number with different invoice date. We have done Message no. 117 as error message, but MIRO is not allowing same invoice number with different Invoice date.

    How we can avoid error message for same invoice number with different invoice date.

    Please help.

    (0) 
  4. Joyce Martins

    Hello all,

     

    Do you know how I can tell if invoices are already processed in Cockpit without me checking FB03?

     

    Thanks for your help.

    (0) 
  5. MADHU SUDHANAN

    Hi All,

    I have a problem in GL,regaring one entry posted Twice. So it leads to duplication in GL.

    Please give solution to avoid sigle entry posted at twice in GL (SA & AC Entries – T-code for entry FB50 and FBS1).

     

    Thanks,

    Madhusudhanan.

    (0) 
  6. Malka Samarasinghe

    Hi;

     

    Nice document.. Thanks..

     

    I have a quary on mainataining the “double invoice check” field mandatory. It is not working with the same configuration. Cant we do the same through a screen varient.

     

    Thanks;

    Malka

    (0) 
    1. Shekhar Gaikwad

      Dear Malka,

      There are 2 mandatory steps.

      1] Make double invoice check field mandatory for vendor master data.

      2] In T-code OBA5 Area M8 Message 108 needs to maintained as Error message.

       

      This is working at our end.

      Thanks,

      Shekhar Gaikwad.

      (0) 
  7. Omer Arshadi

    Hi,

    Want to ask if there is any standard configuration available for restricting ‘ posting of duplication invoice via. FB60/MIRO on different dates.

    Example 1:

    Invoice date : 11.11.2016      Ref. : 123
    Posting date : 11.11.2016

    Example 2 :

    Invoice Date : 12.11.2016      Ref. : 123
    Posting Date : 12.11.2016

    Regards,
    Omer

    (0) 
  8. Ericka Maldonado González

    What’s happend if I post a invoice with a Purcharse Order Item then I post another Invoice with same PO Item the online process check that but if I implement the BAPI_bapi_incominginvoice_create not.

     

    Example

    1.-

    Invoice Ref. TEST_001
    Purchase Order Item PO001 Item001

    Invoice Created INV001

    2.-

    Invoice Ref. TEST_002
    Purchase Order Item PO001 Item001

    Invoice Created INV002

    The bapi not check that, Could you know how to it possible and you know if that is an SAP issue?

    Thanks so much.

    (0) 

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