In the intricate world of finance, even the most diligent professionals can find themselves entangled in nightmarish scenarios within the accounts payable process. This blog will delve into some of the most spine-chilling accounts payable horror stories, with a focus on situations that can go wrong, including the specter of fraud.

1. The Phantom Vendor:

In a seemingly routine AP process, a company received invoices from a vendor named “Phantom Corp.” With a busy finance team, the invoices were processed without thorough vetting. Months later, they discovered that “Phantom Corp” was a fictitious entity created by an insider to siphon funds. This chilling story highlights the importance of vendor due diligence.

2. The Invoice Poltergeist:

Imagine receiving a never-ending stack of invoices for the same goods or services, all from different vendors. A company fell victim to this haunting scenario when a fraudulent entity sent a barrage of invoices, leading to overpayments. It’s a cautionary tale about the need for robust invoice approval workflows and reconciliation procedures.

3. The Cryptic Cryptocurrency:

In a cryptic turn of events, a finance team was duped into making payments in cryptocurrency to a seemingly legitimate vendor. The vendor vanished into the digital abyss, leaving the company with no recourse. This tale underscores the importance of verifying vendor authenticity and adopting secure payment methods.

4. The Haunted Payroll:

In a horrifying breach of trust, an insider manipulated the payroll system to inflate their salary and benefits. It took months to discover this chilling scheme, resulting in financial losses and damaged employee morale. This tale serves as a reminder to implement strict internal controls and periodic payroll audits.

5. The Bogus Audit Trail:

A company faced a regulatory audit from hell when they couldn’t produce a valid audit trail for their accounts payable transactions. Suspicions of tampering arose, leading to a protracted and costly investigation. This story underscores the necessity of maintaining transparent and verifiable audit trails.

6. The Ghastly Ghost Payments:

An accounts payable employee unwittingly processed payments for invoices that had already been paid. The result? Double payments and strained vendor relations. This eerie incident emphasizes the importance of robust payment tracking and reconciliation mechanisms.

7. The Zombie Invoices:

In a horrifying twist, a company’s dormant accounts payable records were mysteriously resurrected, resulting in unexpected payment demands. This chilling story serves as a reminder to maintain secure archives and document disposal procedures.


These accounts payable horror stories serve as cautionary tales for finance professionals. From phantom vendors to ghostly payments, the world of accounts payable is rife with potential financial nightmares. By learning from these chilling experiences and implementing robust controls, companies can guard against the dark forces of fraud and financial mismanagement, ensuring a brighter financial future.

Resources to help protect your business

Access further resources to avoid your own accounts payable horror stories:

You may also like these articles

Accounts Payable Automation Trends 2024-2
We are pleased to publish our latest research report: Accounts Payable Automation Trends 2024. Now […]
Good Vs Bad AI
Your Digital Guide to Collaborating with ‘Good’ Fraud AI In the ever-evolving landscape of finance, […]

Want to learn more?

Join our  free online community to access further resources, white papers and webinars, or  talk to us about membership and training.

Quick Links