Accounts payable professionals have the important task of coordinating billings and payments from creditors, vendors and customers. While required job strengths such as accounting and math are similar for most positions, higher-level managers and executives often have bachelor's or master's degrees to accompany their skill sets. Higher-level executives also better understand how their positions fit into the overall scheme of corporate operations. All accounts payable professionals have several other common skills that help them perform their jobs effectively.
Accounts payable professionals must be highly organized. These workers must distribute letters to many creditors and customers, indicating when payments are due. Most creditors, for example, have certain common deadlines in which to make payments, such as within 30 days. Subsequently, these workers must keep track of payments, partial payments and late payments. They then maintain records of payments in ledgers. High-level managers are also required to select, hire and train employees. They must coordinate the tasks of all department workers to meet crucial deadlines.
Companies usually have specific corporate policies to follow when reporting financial data or payments. There may also be certain legal ramifications involved with some creditors' accounts. For example, several creditors may be going through bankruptcy. Therefore, accounts payable professionals may be involved in negotiating discounted payoffs for certain accounts. Whatever the case, accuracy and detail are important job strengths for those employed in this career.
Accounts payable professionals must have excellent communication skills, including written, listening and speaking skills. They must write letters that prompt action from creditors. They must know how to tactfully include more urgency in letters to those who fail to pay bills on time. Accounts payable workers must be able to speak effectively with customers and many different levels of employees and management. They use listening skills to fully understand all aspects of assigned projects. Accounts payable managers often present their bill-collecting data to company executives.
Accounts payable workers must have computer skills. They often work with computer databases of customers, keeping track of payments. They may also use certain types of proprietary accounting software to create invoices and reports, and to manage payments. Moreover, accounting professionals must be adept at using word processing software for writing reports, and spreadsheets for maintaining extensive lists and records.
2016 Salary Information for Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks earned a median annual salary of $38,390 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks earned a 25th percentile salary of $30,640, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $48,440, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 1,730,500 people were employed in the U.S. as bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics; Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition: Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks; December 2009
- Job Descriptions: Accounts Payable Job Description
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks
- Career Trend: Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks