Accounts Payable Overview

The main purpose of the CU*BASE Accounts Payable system is to improve the efficiency of handling payables, by automating payments to vendors via ACH and checks and by keeping records of the entire payment processes. If used properly, the vendor record-keeping can be used by credit union management to effectively control pricing, budgets, and ensure that all payments are properly authorized.

How flexible do you need to be when paying invoices? Do you want to be able to single out an invoice for a vendor and pay only that invoice? Do you need to be able to select and pay individual invoices based on their due date? How should the expenses be recorded in the G/L? Does the entire invoice amount get put on one G/L as one lump sum, or do different line items get expensed differently?

CU*BASE Accounts Payable features are flexible and powerful enough to let you manage your payables for better cash flow and more efficient use of resources.

What date is used on a check processed by the CU*BASE Accounts Payable feature?

Accounts Payable: Step by Step

The following is an overview of the procedures for working with the CU*BASE Accounts Payable system.

1. Create Accounts Payable Vendor Records

Using the Work With AP Vendors feature, set up records for vendors to which payments will be made. When invoices are paid, the system will automatically keep track of the total amount paid to each vendor. If appropriate, 1099-MISC forms can be created for vendors at the end of the tax year.

2. Create Invoices

Using the Work With Outstanding Invoices feature, create invoice records for the invoices received from vendors. Invoices can be set up to debit a single G/L account, or an invoice can contain multiple debits to different G/L accounts. For example, you could set up a single invoice so that portions of it are booked to different branches, or to completely separate G/L accounts for any reason.

3. Review Invoices Waiting To Be Paid

The Open Payables Report can be printed on a regular basis to show invoices waiting to be paid. The report can be routed along with the stack of open invoices for approval of specific invoices to be paid.

4. Organize Invoices for Payment

Next you’ll use Tool #1910 Organize AP Invoices for Processing.  A dashboard-style list will appear showing all your outstanding invoices, making it easy to choose which invoices you want to pay.  You can filter by vendor, branch, and due date, and the screen will tally all of the invoices you’ve selected so you can see the total amount you’ll be paying out for the batch. 

Choose a group of invoices to be paid based on due date, or you may select individual invoices by vendor name. You may also choose to approve all open invoices for payment. This step creates a batch of “vouchers” waiting for checks to be printed.

What date is used on a check processed by the CU*BASE Accounts Payable feature?

5. Pay Your Vouched Items

Once you’ve selected which invoices to pay, use Tool #1961 Process Accounts Payable Payments.  This dashboard shows the list of invoices selected in the previous step.  You can pay all of the items in the list at the same time, or use filters to narrow down the list and only pay a few at a time.  As items are paid, the list updates to show “PAID” – they don’t disappear until you exit the tool altogether. 

Accounts Approval

Learn more here.

In addition to all of the improvements already outlined, for credit union shops with large accounting teams that juggle payments for multiple branches, you can also activate optional controls so that invoices must be approved by authorized employees before they can be selected for payment. 

You can define a list of authorized approvers, specify the maximum dollar amount they can approve, and even assign approvers to specific vendors.  Approvers can be assigned automatically whenever a new invoice is created, or you can use Tool #1910 Organize AP Invoices for Processing later on to assign an invoice to someone on your list of approvers.  Approvers will receive an email reminder when an invoice is ready for approval, and you can even nudge them again by email if you are still waiting for an approval to be logged.

Once invoices are approved, you’ll use the same technique described above to select the invoices you wish to pay, with the main difference being that only approved invoices can be selected for payment.  Payments are made using the same new process already outlined, via check or ACH according to your vendor configuration. 

Why Not Just Cut Checks?

How Do I Pay via ACH?

Learn more here.

If you have a relationship with Magic-Wrighter, you can configure certain vendors to receive payment directly via ACH if you wish.  The first step is to contact a CSR to set up the same relationship with Magic Wrighter that you need to send Account-to-Account (A2A) transfers (ODFI status is required).  Then you can activate ACH accounts payable processing using the new Accounts Payable Workflow Controls (explained below).  Next you’ll use Tool #990 Work With Accounts Payable Vendors to set up ACH routing information for any vendors you’d like to pay this way. 

From that point on, all payments to that vendor will automatically be processed via ACH, using the same selection and payment steps outlined above.  When processing payments, there will be features that let you pay all ACH items in a batch, cut all checks in a batch, or pick and choose individual items to pay as you wish. 


Following are definitions for some terms used by the CU*BASE Accounts Payable system.


This term is used to describe the record that is entered onto CU*BASE to record the amount owed to a vendor. This record usually matches an actual invoice that is sent to the credit union by a vendor.


When an invoice is approved for payment using the Select Invoices for Payment feature, the invoice record is converted to a “voucher” record, which indicates that it is ready to be paid. When the Print CU Checks feature is used, all vouchers will be listed and can be printed one at a time or as a batch. Once a check is printed through this system, the “voucher” becomes a “check” and is recorded in the CU*BASE check register.

Open Payables

Invoices that have been entered into the Accounts Payable system but have not yet been paid.

Quick Checks

A term that refers to the special kind of checks that are printed through the Accounts Payable system. Click here for a discussion of the different kinds of checks that can be created in CU*BASE.  Not available if approvals for accounts payable is active.

Related Topics

CU Check/Bank Configuration

Chart of Accounts Maintenance

Configuring Printers for Checks

Accounts Payable Dashboard



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