Accounts Payable Helpful Tips


  • New Vendors: the new vendor verification and creation process are detailed and time-consuming. All information must be verified to ensure proper documentation and to protect ALA and our vendors from fraudulent activities around accounts payable.
  • Updated W-9s: Finance may need an updated W-9 form, generally for one of these factors: (1) the vendor has announced an address change, (2) the invoice address is different from the W-9 address on file, (3) the submitted W9 is not signed and/or dated, or (4) no W9 on file.



  • Training sessions will be held for staff who enter invoices and those who approve invoices. (Estimated timeframe late September each year).

Helpful Tips

  1. If you have a new vendor, submit it as soon as possible after you become aware of the new vendor. Don't wait until the invoice is in hand. Submit the new vendor request ASAP, so it gets in the queue. The new vendor request form is linked from the Frequently Used Links table in your unit base.
    1. Include the W-9 and ACH in the request, or if the vendor prefers to send those via Tiger Tools, follow up and make sure the vendor did so.
    2. W-9 must be signed and dated.
    3. ACH must be signed and dated. A canceled check is required to verify account information.
  2. Please submit the Vendor Update form if you need to update a vendor. The form is linked to your unit base's Frequently Used Links table.
  3. When staff submits an invoice, check to make sure the address on the invoice matches the address ALA has on file. Anytime an invoice is sent back to the requestor, it slows down the process. A few extra minutes on the front end can save lots of back and forth.
    1. All users can view the vendor list (8,000+ records) in their unit base, and each record has the address currently in the Great Plains (GP) system.
    2. If there is a mismatch between what's on file and what's on the invoice, the invoice will be sent back to the requestor when AP looks at the submitted invoice.
  4. If the charge line needed is *not* in Airtable, hold the invoice and fill out the new charge line request form (available on the Frequently Used Links table in your unit base).
    1. Do not submit the invoice with the incorrect charge line. Doing so will result in the invoice being sent back to the requestor.
  5. Each unique invoice must be submitted separately.
    1. Do not include more than one invoice in a single submission.
    2. A statement is not an acceptable backup; the actual invoice must be submitted.
    3. Invoice number entered on the form must be the invoice number on the actual invoice from the vendor.
    4. No invoice numbers? Follow these guidelines to create a unique invoice number:
      1. For an individual, use initials, a date, and a sequential letter/number in case you later have a second invoice from that person with the same date. Example: BN210209-1 or BN210209-A
      2. For a company use the company name, date, and a sequential letter/number. Example: ALA210209-1 or ALA210209-A
      3. Note the following naming convention for dates: YYMMDD. In the above examples, the date is 2/9/21 represented as 210209
  6. For award payments, include a backup verifying the award.
    1. Examples include an award letter, a copy of the email message to the winner with the specific award amount, copy of the application.
    2. Do not attach an Outlook message as AP staff cannot open the files. Create a PDF from the message and attach the PDF.
    3. If an award is paid in two installments, the above backup must be included with *both* installments.
  7. For travel reimbursements for members, make sure there is a receipt for all charges submitted.
    1. If the vendor did not receive a receipt, such as from a taxi, ask the vendor to create a receipt with the date, time, store/vendor, service, and amount paid.
    2. For mileage, make sure you are using the current year's approved mileage rate, *and* include verification of the mileage. The vendor can use Google Maps or similar to enter starting location and destination and include a PDF of the resulting map/mileage calculation as verification.
  8. The payment terms for a vendor are set up in Great Plains when the vendor is created. The default is typically 30 days. If you submit an invoice with a net 10 due date but the payment term in GP was set up with net 30, the invoice will not get paid until the net 30.
  9. Watch for emails from AirTable notifying you that action is needed on the submitter's part and follow instructions on correcting your submission.
  10. Before contacting Accounts payable to seek the status of payment, please be sure to have addressed any returned items.