Accounts payable clerks make sure their company pays invoices and bills on time. They do this by reviewing them with a department head or following up directly with clients. Proven work experience as an accounts payable clerk is desired for many industries. However, other requirements include a solid understanding of bookkeeping and accounting payable principles, data entry skills (emphasis on numbers), and a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail. The best start to becoming an accounts payable clerk is to obtain a bachelor of science degree in finance, accounting, or business administration. Then, acquire jobs where you can apply your knowledge and skill set.
1. Learn about the Job Description and Responsibilities
Accounts payable clerks are responsible for processing all invoices received for payment. They also undertake the payment of all creditors accurately and efficiently. Good accounts payable clerks produce clear, timely, and stellar work. They have to pay attention to detail. Their job may also involve keeping up-to-date records of company purchases and organizing account statements.
Other responsibilities include:
- Processing outgoing payments complying with financial policies and procedures
- Performing day-to-day financial transactions (verifying, classifying, and recording accounts payable data)
- Reconciling the accounts payable ledger to ensure bills and payments are accounted for and correctly posted
- Verifying and investigating discrepancies
- Understanding expense accounts and cost centers
- Facilitating payment of invoices due by sending bill reminders and contacting clients
You can become an accounts payable clerk by obtaining a bachelor of science degree in finance, accounting, or business administration. Then, acquire jobs where you can apply your knowledge and skill set.
2. Discover the Finest Ways
Accounts payable clerks ensure company debts are paid in full and on time. Their days usually include reconciling and processing invoices and recording and verifying expenses. People often wonder what kinds of advantages are offered with the position. Salary is one major perk, and the salary for accounts payable clerks depends on experience and education. Average salaries can be anywhere from $36,185 to $44,905 a year.
Take a look at some other advantages below:
- Opportunities for Advancement
- Work/life balance
- Health Insurance
- Dental Coverage
- Mobile Eye Clinics
- 401k with Employee Match Contributions
- Job Security
- Paid vacation and Holidays
- Paid Sick Time
You can be a successful accounts payable clerk with enough experience from an accredited university and the appropriate skills (attention to detail, financial knowledge, and ability to write reports).
3. View the Top Colleges and Universities
Taking classes in accounting or bookkeeping in high school and college is the best way to begin your accounts payable career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that most accounting clerks must possess a high school diploma. However, many accounts payable clerks have an associate’s degree or higher. Knowledge of accounting concepts can help you earn an entry-level accounts payable clerk job.
Some of the top colleges and universities for accounts payable clerks are:
- University of Pennsylvania
- Northwestern University
- University of Arizona
- Grand Canyon University
- Southern New Hampshire University
By gaining the necessary knowledge and skills (math and computer skills) in school, you become closer to obtaining an accounts payable clerk position.
4. Consider Whether Working as an Accounts Payable Clerk is Worthwhile
Working as an accounts payable clerk is worthwhile if you enjoy handling financial transactions (especially processing invoices and outgoing payments). If you enjoy resolving billing issues and working on various financial tasks, then this job will suit your interest and skills. Along with serving your interest and abilities, there are other perks to the role.
- Work Environment: There is a considerable level of diversity since all businesses accrue regular expenses. No matter what you have prior experience in, there is no shortage of specialties. You have the chance to choose your surroundings that will enable you to work efficiently. You will work from an office for every industry with a computer, phone, and company software. In some scenarios, you may have the opportunity to work from home. In this case, you will report to a manager but socialize mainly with vendors or suppliers.
- Daily Interactions: While you spend most of your day at a desk, you will collaborate with co-workers, vendors, and service providers. Your focus is on paying invoices, so most payments are pre-approved before reaching you. That means you will spend more time verifying rates than negotiating costs. It is crucial to have good negotiation tactics and customer service skills.
- Benefits: The average salary for accounts payable clerks ranges from $36,185 to $44,905 a year. This is a decent salary, especially for someone entering the field two years after college. The more skills and experience you gain, the more you can earn and take on more responsibilities. You will also enjoy paid time off, dental coverage, life insurance, health insurance, parental leave, and flexible spending accounts (FSAs).
5. Prepare Required Skills
Accounts payable clerks provide financial and administrative support for an organization. They process payments, verify invoices, and reconcile all expenses to track what is going out of the business.
To perform well, accounts payable clerks must possess the following skills:
- Proven working experience as an Accounts Payable Clerk
- An ability to calculate, post, and manage accounting figures and financial records
- Data entry skills (a knack for numbers)
- Hands-on experience with spreadsheets and proprietary software
- Proficiency in English and Microsoft Office
- High level of accuracy and attention to detail
6. View the Average Pay
Accounts payable clerks are generally full-time employees but can also hold part-time or seasonal positions. Salaries of accounts payable clerks vary depending on their education level, relevant work experience, the location of the job, company size, and industry. In the United States, the average salary is $17.37 per hour for this position. Some salary ranges are from $7.35 to $31.55 per hour. Suppose you are thinking about venturing into a field in business or finance and possess the required skills of an accounts payable clerk. In that case, this is a great role to pursue.
To view the average salary for your area, you can search online on Google or any other preferred search engine. For example, if you live in Ohio, to know how much accounts payable clerks receive, you can type “average salary of accounts payable clerks in Ohio.” There is usually a salary range and comparisons to other accounts payable positions in other states.
7. Find and Apply for Relevant Jobs
When searching for jobs, it is important to seek opportunities that closely match your skill set and work style. Here are some tips for beginning a job search for accounts payable clerk openings:
- Polish Your Resume: Prepare your resume, so it includes current and accurate information. Your accounting education, training, and experience should be listed on it. Consider incorporating a summary that states your interest in the accounts payable field and what you can offer. Do not let a lack of prior experience stop you from applying; use the skills and education you have to proceed.
- Monitor Job Ads: Review job ads in the newspaper, on job boards (Indeed or Monster), or on company websites. Sift through the requirements to determine whether you have the skills, education, and experience needed for the position. Certain companies will stand out more since they best suit your qualifications and salary needs.
- The Application Process: Apply to positions by sending a cover letter and resume to the hiring manager or filling out an application for a job on a website. Have at least one or two references you can use from a previous employer or a teacher. However, check with people beforehand to ensure they are willing to serve as a good reference.
8. Investigate a Career Path
It is not difficult to become an accounts payable clerk if you have the skill set, knowledge, and drive for the role. Before pursuing this career path, ensure you conduct the necessary research to determine if this will be a good fit. To be an accounts payable clerk, you must have excellent mathematical skills, write well, manage your time wisely, and handle financial reports and procedures. If you believe these are things you do not mind dealing with daily, then consider getting the education and work experience needed. This is a great opportunity if you have a strong interest in math and managing business finances and other data.
Who is an Accounts Payable Clerk?
Accounts payable clerks pay an organization’s monthly bills. The role requires working closely with head accountants or supervisors that manage cash flow activities in the accounting department. This ensures you know what bills to pay and when they are due. AP duties consist of maintaining files on existing vendors, entering new ones into the system, and generating yearly 1099 tax documents. Additionally, you will keep files of vendors’ IRS W-9 forms listing tax identification numbers.
What are the Requirements for an AP Clerk?
Acquiring the accounts payable clerk position involves the following requirements:
- Education: Accounts payable clerks need at least a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some companies seek candidates who have completed some level of post-secondary education. Many individuals have not earned a bachelor’s degree. Relevant coursework includes basic financial accounting, business math, accounting technology, and written business communication.
- Training: Some accounts payable clerks may have to complete certifications covering the role’s basics. They also often receive additional on-the-job training targeted to their role and company. This is usually part of the onboarding process; the training can last a few days to a few months.
- Certifications: There are several certification programs to consider. Certifications are a way for you to prove your skills and qualifications to current and potential employers. Accounts payable clerks can also earn certifications to gain more knowledge about the responsibilities of their position and further their career advancement opportunities. Popular certifications are Certified Accounts Payable Associates (CAPA), Certified Accounts Payable Professional (CAPP), and Certified Bookkeeper (CB).
What are the Roles of an Accounts Payable Clerk?
Accounts payable clerks work in a variety of industries and organizations. Large and small businesses use accounts payable clerks to manage financial transactions, statements, and records. Federal, state, municipal government agencies, and nonprofit organizations also use accounting clerks. The key roles of AP clerks are monitoring revenue streams, sending out invoices, and paying financial obligations as they are due.
Accounts payable clerks handle outgoing bills and invoices on behalf of a company. Some examples of these bills are utility payments, product or inventory invoices, employee expense accounts, and reimbursements. Other roles of this position are:
- Updating and maintaining expenditure records: Expenditure records are ledgers and documents maintained by government agencies. They show how funds are spent (appropriated and non-appropriated)
- Sending out payments for company credit cards: Companies use credit cards for business activities. AP clerks are responsible for sending out payments for the credit cards so that companies do not fall behind and reach a delinquency status.
- Responding to vendor invoices: AP clerks have to respond to invoices from lenders the company receives. It is part of managing financial records for businesses.
- Ensuring all payments are made per company policy: Companies do not want to reach a delinquent status on any of their accounts. AP clerks must monitor payments and ensure they are made timely.
- Resolving any payment discrepancies: Sometimes, things do not go accordingly. Payments may not process correctly, or a mistake may lead to a payment not being registered. In these instances, AP clerks must find ways to solve the issue.
What Diploma is Required for the Position of AP Clerk?
AP clerks need a bachelor of science diploma in finance, accounting, or business administration. They need this degree to prove that they have developed the knowledge and skill set that will help them get an entry-level job as an accounts payable clerk. Without this degree, some companies may accept someone with a high school diploma. Still, some people eventually get an associate’s degree or higher. Numerous colleges and universities are available for anyone who wants to venture into the accounts payable field.
What are the Best Universities for an AP Clerk?
Listed below are the best universities for AP clerks.
- University of Pennsylvania
- Northwestern University
- Purdue University
- Capella University
- Liberty University
These universities are considered the best selections due to their courses for individuals aiming to become accounts payable clerks. They offer various mathematical and financial classes on company management and how to process financial transactions. They are similar in what they provide, and each university will appeal to someone based on their individual needs concerning learning style, environment, and similar things.
How Many Experiences Do You Need to be an AP Clerk?
While most companies prefer to hire someone with previous experience as an accounts payable clerk, someone with a high school diploma or no experience in a company environment can obtain the role. About 25 percent of AP clerks will eventually acquire a bachelor of science diploma to gain more knowledge and progress in their accounts payable career. Again, do not let a lack of previous experience prevent you from applying for a position. There are other ways to demonstrate that you are qualified to perform a job (education, volunteer work, and current skill set).
What is the Highest AP Clerk Salary?
The highest-paid AP clerks can receive over $62,410 a year, while the lowest salary is $25,870. However, the range of income for most AP clerks is $41,230. Entry-level AP clerks tend to earn more on the lower scale due to their lack of experience. But, the more experience they gain, and the more skills they develop, they can move toward the $41,000 salary range or higher.
Is Working as an Accounts Payable Clerk a Good Job?
Working as an accounts payable clerk is a good job when you have the interest, skills, and time to do the work. Also, you must remember that your salary may not be as much as you would like in the beginning. But with more experience and improved skills, you can earn more. Accounts payable clerks manage the cash flow activities in a department and handle various bills. This job is vital and requires high attention to detail, time management, and practical communication skills. Suppose you possess these skills and are interested in joining the accounts payable field. In that case, working as an Accounts Payable Clerk is a good job for you.