Just because you have made the payment doesn’t mean that your costs are over! There are two “after-the-payment” costs that organizations need to consider.
The first is the cost to reconcile the transaction once the payment has posted, and the other is related to fraud losses that might be incurred as a result of your preferred payment methods.
Organizations might choose to reconcile payments daily, weekly or monthly. The timing you choose has very little impact on reconciliation cost per transaction. What does impact your costs is specifically how you reconcile (Ex: Are you using a bank statement and a ruler, or are you utilizing an automated reconciliation file from your bank?). Additionally, what documentation is needed for accounting and auditors (Ex: Are you scanning bank statements and copies of checks for future retrieval?) can also have an impact on your per-transaction reconciliation costs. Ultimately, this comes down to your staff’s time and the opportunity cost of what they could be doing instead.
Lastly, the largest potential expense related to reconciliation is fraud. It is no secret that check fraud has been running rampant in the U.S. for the past several decades. With nearly 80% of U.S. Businesses facing some form of fraudulent attack2, it’s not a matter of if fraud occurs, but rather when and how big the losses will be. The longer fraud is undetected, the larger potential fraud losses become. For organizations that reconcile to their monthly bank statement, it is entirely possible that by the time fraud is found, it could have been occurring for 30 days or more.
- 65% of organizations reported spending more than one hour per week reconciling payments.
- 61% of organizations noticed fraud within two weeks of occurrence.2
It is important to consider both the cost of reconciling transactions and potential fraud losses when choosing your preferred payment method. Taking the time to implement automated reconciliation processes and security measures can help minimize these costs and protect your organization from fraudulent attacks. Remember that just because you have made the payment doesn't mean your costs are over. Paying attention to these "after-the-payment" costs can ultimately save you time and money in the long run.
(1) 2022 AFP Payments Cost Benchmarking Survey. www.afponline.org/publications-data-tools/reports/survey-research-economic-data/Details/paymentscost.
(2) 2023 AFP Payments Fraud and Control Survey. www.afponline.org/publications-data-tools/reports/survey-research-economic-data/Details/payments-fraud.