If you are good at math, interested in finance and eager to help your company run more effectively, an accounts payable position may be for you. This type of job allows you to work directly with your business’ expenses; it also gives you valuable experience as an accountant that you’ll need if you decide to start your own business.
The primary function of an accounts payable clerk is to ensure that a company’s bills are paid on time and that the company is not overcharged for any service. The accounts payable person is usually responsible for tasks like:
- Receiving, opening and logging invoices
- Getting department approval to pay invoices
- Paying invoices on time
- Contacting creditors with questions or concerns about bills
Sometimes the accounts payable person is also responsible for accounts receivable. Accounts receivable work involves sending invoices to clients and others who owe the company money, collecting and posting payments and handling issues such as non-payment or payment disputes.
Skills and Abilities
Accounts payable positions obviously require a good grasp of numbers and financial principles. In addition, successful accounts payable position candidates may want to have the following attributes or abilities:
- Strong organizational skills
- Independent work skills
- Analytical and problem solving skills
- Strongly detail-oriented
- Computer skills, especially the ability to use accounting software
- Written and verbal communication skills
This position may appeal to people who pay strong attention to detail, enjoy math and don’t want to have to interact with co-workers on a regular basis. However, accounts payable people do need to have strong interpersonal skills as well because they need to speak with creditors and communicate with supervisors about financial concerns.
In some cases, accounts payable personnel may be subject to a pre-hire credit check since the position involves handling money on a regular basis.
Some accounts payable people are happy staying in their current job. However, if you want to advance, there’s plenty of potential. Accounts payable clerks may have the opportunity to work more extensively with a company’s finances. For example, an employee who starts out as an accounts payable clerk may be put in charge of budget or payroll for the department.
After a certain period of time, accounts payable personnel may be promoted to financial management positions. Financial managers supervise a company or department’s finances. They make decisions about investing and spending as well as supervise the company’s accountants.
If a financial management position doesn’t appeal to you, there’s also the possibility of starting your own business. Many accountants begin their own accounting practices and hire themselves as independent contractors after gaining experience by working for a particular company. Other people may start a completely different type of business; the knowledge you gain from working as an accounts payable clerk can help you make wise financial decisions and oversee your finances better when you open any type of business.