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After a search for accounts payable jobs, you’re left wondering exactly what the job is. After all, a basic description of duties does not give you an idea of what your day to day life in this position will be. Rest assured: your search is over.
Here is everything you need to know before applying for an accounts payable job.

What is Accounts Payable?

First, if you are working in an accounts payable position, your work life will center on payments. In every industry, there will be two sides to every financial transaction. In Accounts Payable, your main concentration is on processing invoices and outgoing payments. These may be payments to vendors or suppliers for services or goods received by your company. In either case, it is money that your company owes. On the other end of the spectrum is the accounts receivable transactions. Accounts receivables are incoming payments, or assets owed to your organization. Some employees are AR/AP clerks (or specialists) and they handle both ends. This is not always the case, as many organizations hire different people to fulfill each role.

Accounts Payable Job Duties

Despite the close nature of the positions, accounts payable jobs have distinctive duties. An AP clerk or specialist will have duties, such as:

  • Verifying and recording accounts and invoices
  • Processing incoming invoices according to company policies and procedures
  • Resolving billing issues and investigate discrepancies
  • Completing various day to day financial tasks
  • Generating financial reports

It is important to note that duties may extend beyond these basics. You may also perform everyday tasks that are industry specific. In some cases, employers may combine related tasks. Common extra duties include payroll, accounts receivables, data entry and accounting.

Traits of a Top Accounts Payable Employee

Accounts payable clerks or specialists have a key role in the company’s finances. Because of this, employers have a long list of traits that they are in search of during the hiring process. To be most successful in this position, you should have the following traits:

  • Detail oriented
  • Customer service skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Well organized
  • Self-motivated
  • Punctual
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Good with mathematics
  • Financial knowledge

Educational and Experience Requirements

While these traits are important, experience and education also play an important role. Each of these requirements will vary from one organization to another. Yet, most employers are seeking candidates with at least a high school diploma.

  • A Bachelor of Science degree in accounting, finance, or business administration
  • Accounting software and Microsoft Office know-how
  • Ability to write comprehensive reports in English
  • Experience with creating and maintaining spreadsheets
  • Data entry experience
  • Ability to calculate, record and maintain financial data
  • Previous experience as an accounts payable or receivable clerk

The Work Environment

As for the industry of employment, there is an immense level of diversity. This is because all businesses incur regular expenses. Whether you have prior experience in a hospital or a shoe store, there is no shortage of specialties. This gives you the freedom to choose your surroundings to best suit your skillset. In every industry, you will work from an office where you have a computer, phone and company software. In some instances, you may even have the opportunity to work from your home office. In these cases, you will report to a manager but most socialization will be with vendors or suppliers.

Daily Interactions as an Accounts Payable Worker

In comparison to other office jobs, working as an accounts payable clerk is similar. Although you will spend the majority of your time at a desk, you will collaborate with co-workers. Likewise, you will have regular contact with vendors or service providers. Unlike those in account’s receivables positions, your focus is on paying invoices. Because of this, most payments are already pre-approved before they reach your desk. This means that yo