9 Ways To Collect Missing Vendor Email Addresses to Update the Vendor Master File - Now with a Podcast!

vendor setup & maintenance


Getting ready to implement your Accounts Payable (AP) automation, dynamic discounting, or vendor portal project and you don’t have the critical item you need increase adoption?  A valid vendor email address.   

Lack of valid email addresses in the vendor master file can have the following effects in AP:

  • Vendor Portal Implementation / AP Automation Project – Removes the option for vendor email communication for upcoming change and subsequent use of the solution.

  • Working Capital Solutions – Can decrease participation/enrollment from vendors unaware of alternative payment options.

  • Remittance Payment Information – Increased calls to the AP Help Desk requesting invoices included in a payment due to not receiving remittance information.

  • Purchase Order Delivery – In some Accounting Systems/ERPs no purchase orders will be sent automatically.

  • Vendor Record Confirmations – Affects the ability to reduce the potential for fraud in vendor master file by sending email confirmations for requested changes.

And it’s not just valid emails – it's the right emails. 

So which emails are needed for the Vendor Master File and how do you get them?  Most Accounting Systems/ERPs have a separate email for remittance information which may be a generic email address.  Collect this one and make sure it is in the correct field on the vendor record needed to push the remittance to the vendor.   It’s also good practice to require at least a remittance email address at vendor setup. 

Next, collect the names and email addresses of the points of contact to validate vendor record changes.  Recording multiple contacts if available will give additional options for confirmations and will assist with authentication if those contacts call or send an email into the AP Help Desk for assistance.   

Lastly, identify those purchase order vendors that need email addresses to automate purchase order delivery.  There may be a separate email address to send purchase orders. 

For those that need to obtain missing email addresses for existing vendors in the vendor master file, here are some ways to get either the email address or the contact information to request the applicable email addresses from the vendor:  

  1. Invoices – Pull invoice hard copy or images.  May get more remittance email addresses.

  2. Purchase Orders – Email addresses may be for purchase order delivery only

  3. Contracts – May include payment instructions including A/R email or points of contact

  4. Call or Send Letter to Vendor – Remittance address on the vendor master file. The telephone number can come from other sources on this list.

  5. Stakeholder Groups in your Company – They may have a separate system with vendor email addresses for both remittance and points of contact.

  6. 3rd Party AP Solution – Many 3rd Party Solutions collect vendor email addresses and other contact information. Leverage solutions used at your company. 

  7. LinkedIn Company Pages / Company Website – Can provide valid URL to the company website.

  8. Company Website - To get email addresses or telephone number call and request.  

  9. Other Vendor Master Files - Do you have multiple Accounting Systems/ERPs and thus multiple vendor master files? Check each system for at least a starting point. Be careful though, since different systems may mean different types of spend, email addresses/contacts can be different.

A reminder that if during this email address search project, you identify existing email addresses that need to be updated, send a confirmation to the old email addresses as part of your internal controls to protect the vendor master file from fraud.  See blog post titled “Send a Notification to Vendors After Updates in the Vendor Master File” dated October 18, 2018. 

What additional ways have you used to update vendor email addresses in the vendor master file?

Stay hAPpy.

#Stayhappy #puttingtheapinhappy #vendorsetupandmaintenance #vendorsetup #businesscase #apautomation


Debra R. Richardson,


Debra is an accounts payable speaker, consultant, and trainer with over 20 years of experience in AP, AR, general ledger, and financial reporting for Fortune 500 companies including Verizon, General Motors and Aramark.

For the past eight years, Debra has focused on Global Vendor Maintenance, and implemented a vendor self-registration portal for 140k+ global vendors across five Accounting Systems/ERPs. In her consultancy, she focuses on internal controls and authentication to prevent fraud in the vendor master file.