The term “accounts payable” is used in various industries since it refers to debts or payments needed to be paid to creditors. An accounts payable clerk is a person responsible for preparing these debt payments, tax payments and other accounts payable transactions. His/her work involves reconciling and paying approved expenditures, performing administrative and clerical duties, monitoring and preparing payroll, as well as maintaining records of a company’s debts and payments made.
The tasks of accounts payable clerks include compiling and maintaining accounting records; reconciling purchase orders; paying invoices by cash, checks or electronic payment methods; sorting and matching invoices and check requests; preparing and processing accounts payable wire transfers and other payments; preparing accounts analysis; resolving invoice discrepancies; maintaining vendor files; corresponding with vendors about issues or inquiries; producing monthly financial reports; assisting in month-end closing and calculation of salaries and benefits; data encoding of batch pay sheets; and helping in the distribution of paychecks.
In smaller companies, accounts payable clerks may also be assigned administrative tasks, such as maintaining inventory files and financial documents in a computer or other filing systems. They also make sure that employee records, company files and every financial document on file are kept secured and confidential.
Education and Training Requirements
To obtain this job, an accounts payable clerk must possess a high school diploma or GED. In larger companies, at least 1 year experience in accounting and an associate’s degree may be necessary. Important courses include accounting, finance, bookkeeping, economics, business and computers. One can also obtain an MBA degree and apply for a clerk position to gain accounting experience.
Knowledge and Skills Requirements
To become successful in this career, one must have organizational and time management skills, excellent written and verbal communication skills, strong research skills, problem-solving and analytical skills, effective customer service skills and proficiency in general accounting computer programs or systems. Clerks should also be detail-oriented, honest, accurate and possess sound judgment.
Accounts payable clerks, who work under the supervision of accounting managers or supervisors, spend a typical 8 to 5 shift in front of computers in an office environment. Depending on deadlines or staffing needs, they may work longer hours.
The median annual salary of accounts payable clerks was $32,500. Half of these clerks earned between $26,000 and $40,000 annually, with the top 10% earning up to $50,000 and the bottom 10% earning $20,000 per year. Salaries vary depending on size and location of company, experience, education and other factors.