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Vendor Payment

Learn what vendor payments are and how to manage them effectively so you can ensure smooth facility operations and avoid late penalties.

Jonathan Haney headhsot
Jonathan Haney

Senior Director, Marketplaces

What is a Vendor Payment?

A vendor payment is a financial transaction that compensates a vendor for goods or services rendered to a company. This transaction usually follows the delivery of requested goods or the completion of the services provided. However, vendor payments in advance are also possible.

The effective management of vendor payments is essential within facilities and doing so requires precision. Attention to detail is what managers need to ensure that the entire payment process is as smooth as possible and that records are always accurate.

Proper vendor payment management does more than just ensure a smooth payment process and good record keeping. It’s also a way to avoid late payment penalties and maintain strong vendor relationships. The fewer payment delays your facility has, the more likely a vendor is to want to continue working with you.

Vendor Payment Process

The vendor payment process typically involves 4 key stages.

1. Invoice Receipt

First, you will receive an invoice from the vendor that details the provided goods or services and the payment due. It’s a good idea to always check your invoice to ensure all payments align with your expectations. If you receive multiple invoices, check each one before moving on to approval.

2. Approval

Once all necessary information on all invoices have been verified as accurate, the appropriate personnel at your company will approve the payment. This approval process is usually performed by leading members of your accounts payable team.

3. Payment Processing

This step is where the actual transaction takes place. The accounts payable process involves actually paying the vendor. The transaction may occur over a variety of different payment options, such as electronic funds transfers (EFTs), bank transfers, checks, or credit card. If your facility has a payment voucher or vendor credit, that may also be an option.

4. Payment Confirmation

In the final step, the vendor receives the payment and their accounts receivable department confirms that the money was paid as expected. This confirmation informs both parties that the payment process was successful.

Importance of Timely Vendor Payments in Facilities Management

It’s always important to ensure you always make timely payments. Doing so will help you avoid late payment penalties and is a good practice for building relationships with your suppliers. 

Here are a few more reasons why you should always make your vendor payments on time.

Maintaining Relationships

Timely payments contribute to positive business relationships. Maintaining these relationships is essential for reliable service and supply chain continuity.

Avoiding Disruptions

Delaying vendor payments can disrupt operations as your vendors may withhold supplies or services until they’re paid. The result may be operational challenges and unexpected delays in project timelines.

Financial Efficiency

Alongside avoiding late fees, paying vendors promptly may give your business or you the opportunity to receive early payment discounts. In either case, you’ll save money and enhance your cash flow management.


A facility’s payment practices significantly impact its reputation. Consistently paying vendors on time boosts your credibility and trust among vendors. Having a reputation for reliability can help attract a new vendor and any long-term partnership.

If you make international payments, it’s possible that there may be varying legal guidelines regarding vendor payments. For example, the MSME Act in India mandates that buyers of goods or services must make payments within 45 days of receiving the invoice. If a buyer fails to comply, they face interest penalties on the amount due.

In the US, the Prompt Payment Act is similar, but has a 30-day time window to pay. However, this act primarily applies to federally-owned businesses.

Vendor Payment Methods

Most vendors accept payments via a range of methods. Here are some examples.

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)

An EFT directly moves funds from your company’s bank account to the vendor’s account. This method is efficient and reduces the time you spend processing payments. It’s particularly useful for recurring payments.


While less immediate than electronic methods, checks provide a tangible record of payment. They are often used for local transactions or when digital payment processes are not an option.

Credit Cards

Credit cards are a popular choice for vendor payments. They provide the convenience of quick processing and may offer benefits such as cashback and travel rewards.

Payment Platforms

Payment platforms like PayPal or Stripe facilitate easy electronic payments. These platforms are secure and allow for the immediate transfer of funds. Payment platforms are usually favored in eCommerce transactions as opposed to a traditional EFT.

Challenges in Vendor Payment Management

Cash Flow Management

Lacking sufficient funds can lead to payment delays that strain vendor relationships and harm your credit standing. Ensure there is always adequate cash flow to cover all vendor payments when they are due before you make a purchase order.

Payment Errors

Processing mistakes can lead to overpayments, underpayments, or duplicate payments. Establish a checks and balances system in your facility’s accounting department to reduce the likelihood of payment-related issues.

Fraud Prevention

Fraud can cause significant financial losses and damage your reputation. Implement controls to prevent fraudulent invoices or payment requests from being processed such as verification processes and regular monitoring.

Best Practices for Vendor Payment Management

Automated Payment Systems

Automation reduces both manual data entry and the risk of human error. Most automated payment systems also allow for better record-keeping and clearer audit trails.

Vendor Payment Policies

Establish clear policies for vendor payments that include standardized payment terms and conditions. This clarity helps both your team and your vendors understand your payment procedures, which reduces the risk of disputes.

Regular Audits

Regular audits help catch errors and irregularities early. Early detection is key to preventing unintentional fraud. Audits may also provide insight into how your payment processes could be improved.

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