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What Is an Accounts Payable Clerk?

An accounts payable clerk is responsible for handling the financial transactions of a company. They work with accounts receivable clerks and other departments within the company to ensure that all payments get made promptly.

You’ll also see these positions referred to as accounting clerks. They typically work for larger businesses and are responsible for a variety of tasks including the following.

  • Verifying the accuracy of invoices
  • Reviewing purchase orders
  • Preparing payments

What Do People in Accounts Payable Jobs Do?

People in accounts payable clerk jobs work with other departments within their company to ensure that all other employees handle financial transactions promptly.

On a typical day, an accounts payable clerk will typically check the accuracy of an invoice, enter invoices into accounts payable software, review a purchase order, and prepare a payment voucher.

Often, these clerks will meet with vendors to discuss payment terms or discrepancies on invoices. Accounts payable clerks may also see their responsibilities include other tasks like reconciling accounts and preparing reports for upper management.

Additional accounts payable clerk duties may include filing, faxing, and scanning documents. Some accounts payable clerks may also need to invest time training new employees on accounts payable procedures.

Where Do People in Accounts Payable Jobs Work?

People in accounts payable clerk jobs can work for any company that has bills to pay. They may work for a business in their local area, or they may work for a large corporation that has offices all over the world. The most common places to find these positions are in the accounting and finance departments of companies.

Although the majority of accounts payable clerks work for larger businesses, demand for these professionals still exists at smaller companies and non-profit organizations. Most people in accounts payable clerk jobs report to a supervisor or manager, such as an accounting manager.

What Degree is Required to Become a Accounts Payable Clerk?

Most employers prefer candidates who have at least an associate’s degree in accounting or business administration. However, some positions may only require a high school diploma or equivalent. Those interested in becoming an accounts payable clerk should take courses in accounting, math, and computers.

Many corporations also provide on-the-job training for their new accounts payable clerks. On-the-job training often lasts from several weeks to a few months. During this time, accounts payable clerks learn about the company’s policies and procedures.

Additionally, this training may also cover accounts payable software and other financial programs.

How Much Money Does an Accounts Payable Clerk Earn?

Accounts payable clerks typically earn a median annual salary of $42,000. However, with experience and additional training, they can start earning a higher salary. Those in the top 10% of their industry will typically earn closer to $64,000 per year. If they’re in the bottom 10% of earners, their pay comes to about $27,000 per year.

Here are the median annual salaries for the top accounts payable industries.

  • Retail trade: $37,000
  • Social assistance and healthcare: $41,000
  • Wholesale trade: $43,000
  • Insurance and finance: $44,000
  • Technical, scientific, and professional services: $44,000

The average accounts payable clerk will work a full-time week by putting in 40 hours. Some accounts payable clerks also receive benefits such as health insurance, paid vacation time, and 401(k) plans.

Accounts Payable Clerk Job Requirements

Employers typically look for candidates who have at least two years of accounts payable experience. As mentioned above, however, some employers will train the right candidate even when that candidate can’t prove vast experience in the role yet.

Various skills come into play when working as an accounts payable clerk. The most common required skills include the following.

  • Strong math skills: Accounts payable clerks must be able to calculate and process numbers quickly and accurately.
  • Computer skills: Accounts payable clerks use computers to enter data, process invoices, and generate reports. As a result, they must remain proficient in using various types of computers.
  • Knowledge of accounts payable software and other financial programs: Accounts payable clerks must have a working knowledge of the software used by their employers. Employers expect their accounts payable clerks to navigate these programs easily daily.
  • Excellent organizational skills: Accounts payable clerks must be able to organize their work efficiently. This includes keeping track of deadlines, maintaining accurate records, and filing documents properly.
  • Attention to detail: Accounts payable clerks must be able to pay attention to detail. It’s important because they need to know how to spot errors in invoices and other documents.
  • Good communication skills: Accounts payable clerks must be able to communicate effectively with their co-workers and supervisors. They may need to interact with vendors and other businesses. Many employers require accounts payable clerks to handle customer inquiries and resolve any issues that may arise.

Other required skills for an accounts payable clerk may vary depending on the employer. For example, some employers may require knowledge of a foreign language if their company does business with vendors in other countries.

Accounts Payable Clerk Career Path

Most accounts payable clerks start their careers in entry-level positions. With experience and additional training, they often advance to higher-level positions such as supervisors.

There are several different career paths accounts payable clerks can take. Some accounts payable clerks may decide to move into the fields of bookkeeping. Others may choose to specialize in a certain area, such as auditing or tax preparation.

Additionally, some accounts payable clerks may even start businesses of their own. Branching out on their own can be a great way for accounts payable clerks to use their skills and knowledge in new and innovative ways.

The career path accounts payable clerks take is ultimately up to them. With the right experience and training, they can go practically anywhere in the accounting field.

Although the overall employment numbers show a potential decline of 3% through 2030, projections show that over 170,000 new positions should open up every year during this period.

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