When It Comes to Bank Fees, It Pays to Act Like Procurement
Originally Published September 14, 2021 – Updated October 6, 2021.
When procurement teams source prospective suppliers, they work diligently to ensure that all newly accepted and on-boarded suppliers meet rigorous standards. These standards include rules around invoice submission, its internal review and approval process, and the terms of payment to the supplier once an invoice is approved.
Many companies have unknowingly allowed one specific group of suppliers to circumvent many of these sourcing and payment standards: banks. In fact, less than 10% of corporations have: a) insisted that their banks submit an invoice to be paid, and b) even fewer have conveyed to their banks that they are not permitted to debit the bank account for monthly fees without approval first.
This lack of an invoicing review and approval process means minimal vigilance by an accounts payable (AP) team (or some other internal team) to ensure that banks have indeed provided the services they are being paid for. Additionally, price points for these services can be changed unilaterally by banks without approval (usually they go higher!), and no one is reviewing these changes. And again, when the bank debits a company’s bank account so that they can be paid for services provided, the absence of any proactive validation is in opposition to good AP practices.
As a former practitioner and also as an advisor, I’ve seen the full gamut of what could go wrong when companies are not being proactive with reviewing their banks’ services and fees. In fact, the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) has licensed Coupa to speak to this topic. We will be visiting several cities to discuss bank services and fees, and the AFP has agreed to provide 1.0 CTP credit for those who attend any of these in person sessions.