Saving Money and Preventing Fraud with 3-Way Matching

Bogdan Büchner

How to Use 3-Way Matching

If you run a business or work in accounts payable, keeping accurate records is vital if you don’t want to lose money. No matter how hard you try, remembering each purchase that you make and the items that you have received won’t always be easy, and you can make costly mistakes when you least expect it. You could pay for one order twice, pay for items that you did not buy or lose money to fraud. If you want to avoid those traps and safeguard your finances, it’s time to review the benefits of 3-way matching. The process will not only prevent you from wasting your resources, but it will also save time. The purchase order, packing slip and invoice are the three documents that you will compare when you use 3-way matching.

The Purchase Order

Once you have decided that your business needs additional supplies, you will draft a purchase order containing the details of what you plan to buy. If you don’t want to encounter problems along the way, fill it out with as much detail as you can.

Giving a copy to the vendor and keeping the original will ensure that you have proper documentation, and you must verify that all purchase orders are signed by a trusted individual. Using cloud-based digital Purchase Order solutions like will ensure, that your POs are secured and accessible 24/7.

The Packing Slip

When your order arrives at your location, you will want to open it and check the packing slip. As far as 3-way matching is concerned, comparing the packing slip to the items in the box will confirm that everything is running smoothly, but you will want to check each item and its quality before you sign anything. If you notice problems with your order, notify the vendor as soon as possible.

The Invoice

The invoice is the final part of the 3-way process, and you will want to look at each document to verify that everything is accurate. The purchase order, packing slip and invoice should match, and you will know that something is wrong if they don’t. If you don’t spot any issues, you can submit your payment and collect your receipt. When issues occur at the last minute, you will have records to prove your case.

Final Thoughts

In the world of business, keeping records is important if you don’t want to fall behind, and accounts payable is no exception to that rule. Using the 3-way matching system will allow you to track your spending and prevent you from wasting money. You will know if your orders are not accurate or if the vendor is trying to get you to pay for the same order twice. Disagreements occur on occasion, but you will have the needed records to support your claim, and you will know that you have made the right call.

If you are using electronic purchase order solutions like, you will have all three components of a 3-way matching available in one place.

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