Accounts payable (AP) refers to the amounts owed by an organization to its creditors. The accounts payable department pays third parties or employees by scheduling and preparing checks, taking care of purchase orders, ensuring they receive credit for outstanding bills, and issuing any stop payments. The AP department also tracks budget expenses.
Your organization hires them to be a part of your accounting department usually in a full-time role and in an office setting.
Accounts Payable Job Description
An accounts payable administrator sometimes referred to as an accounts payable clerk is responsible for processing invoices and issuing payments. As part of this job, they must perform accounting and clerical duties as required to efficiently maintain and process AP transactions. This includes:
- Assembly, review, and verification of invoices and payment requests
- Flagging and clarifying any questionable invoice terms or pricing issues
- Sorting coding and matching invoices
- Setting invoices up for payment
- Entering and uploading invoices into the AP system
- Tracking expenses and processing expense reports
- Preparing and processing electronic transfers and payments
- Preparing and Performing check runs
- Posting transactions to journals, ledgers, and any other records
- Reconciling AP transactions, including bank statements
- Preparing analysis of accounts
- Monitoring all accounts to ensure payments are current and up-to-date
- Researching and resolving any invoice discrepancies or other issues
- Vendor file maintenance
- Vendor correspondence and query response
- Monthly report production
- Monthly and closing assistance
- Reduce support documentation for audits
- Accurate historical records maintenance
- Maintaining confidentiality of organizational information
“Accounts payable is not the same as accounts receivable. Accounts receivable refer to the amount of money customers owe a company, rather than the bills they must pay. In many companies, both accounts receivable and accounts payable can be handled by the same person.”
Accounts Payable Education and Experience Requirements
Most organizations require their AP clerks to have:
- Knowledge of accounts payable
- Knowledge of general accounting procedures
- Knowledge of relevant accounting software such as QuickBooks, FreshBooks, or Sage
- Proficiency in data entry and management
- 1 to 3 years of accounts payable or general accounting experience
- High school diploma, GED, or equivalent, though a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or related field is a plus
A college degree is not required for an accounts payable clerk position, so many of them at least hold an associate’s degree in accounting. This degree provides a solid background in basic accounting practices.
Accounts Payable Qualifications and Skills
Most organizations require their AP clerks to possess the following skills:
- General math skills
- Data entry skills
- PC efficiency
- Information analysis
- Tracking budget expenses
- Attention to detail
- Comfort with managing vendor relationships
- Ability to multi-task
- Ability to meet deadlines
- Willingness to change and learn new skills
- Ability to follow up on pending issues
- 10-key touch
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
- Problem identification and resolution skills
- Information collection and management skills
Similar positions include and accounts payable specialist, a billing specialist, an accountant, and a bookkeeper. Depending on the path, an accounts payable specialist can become a senior accounts payable specialist, and accounting clerk, or a payroll clerk.
When writing an accounts payable job description for your own company, you want to start with an introductory paragraph that introduces your company to prospective applicants. Highlight your unique company culture and working environment. This is your chance to set your company apart from any competing job listings to sell yourself to potential employees.
From there, you’ll lift the job responsibilities similar to the way they are shown above. Before you move into the qualifications and skills, you’ll want to take a bit of time to include details about the expected working hours and the benefits specific to the open position. Here is another chance to sell your company to prospective employees by offering things like work-from-home options or mentioning additional requirements during tax season. If your company offers benefits such as conference sponsorships, child care reimbursement, and paid vacation time, include it in this section.
After fleshing out the job listing with the qualification skills, education, experience, and licensing requirements, you’ll need to provide some sort of call to action that tells prospective applicants exactly how to apply. This can be what turns an interested job seeker into an actual applicant. Let them know how to submit their application and resume, or who to contact at your company to apply for the position.
ideally, you want to have your job description be a few paragraphs or roughly 200 words. Mention the requisite years of experience and educational requirements, but be sure to mention what’s unique about your company and job. Format it with plenty of line breaks and bullets to make it easy on the eyes.
When dealing with procurement, especially for a larger organization with multiple departments, using a purchase to pay system can help automate a great deal of the tasks even for your AP clerks. PLANERGY allows for automatic three-way matching, which matches the purchase order to the receipt of the goods and to the invoice. This ensures that accounts payable clerks don’t have to spend time manually checking these things or tracking down the records. If something is different, it is triggered for manual review so your staff only looks at the situations that require human intervention. This ultimately allows for your accounts payable coordinators to be more productive while they’re on the clock.
An added bonus? The web-based system can be used on any device with an internet connection. This ensures your clerks can work in-house or telecommute from home or while on the road for a conference or other event.
PLANERGY helps simplify AP operations for companies big and small.Find Out How