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An accounts payable clerk ensures the company’s debts to suppliers and creditors are paid accurately and on time. As an employee in this role, your tasks include processing and reconciling invoices and verifying and recording expenses. Depending on the employer, you may or may not provide team leadership and supervisory duties to other personnel.
As an accounts payable clerk, you review vendor invoices for accuracy and make the required changes before submitting payment. During this process, it might be necessary to verify tax identification numbers and calculate line item charges, discounts, freight charges and taxes due. After identifying invoice errors and fixing them, you generate checks via web payment or Automated Clearing House. Other duties might include matching invoices to their respective purchase orders, scheduling payments according to the terms of the purchase contract and issuing stop payments on inaccurately paid invoices.
Accounts Receivable Responsibilities
In some companies, the accounts payable clerk also performs accounts receivable duties which involves invoicing customers and others who owe the company. In this capacity, you generate company revenue by calculating payments due and sending out invoices. It might also be necessary to process refunds, send payment reminder notices, address insufficient payments, refer delinquent accounts to collection agencies and solve payment disputes.
General Accounting Tasks
You might verify and post accounts payable transactions in the general ledger and maintain the ledger’s payable account. In addition, the job might require the allocation of expenses to cost centers and accounts, generating and evaluating expense reports and making closing entries at the end of the accounting period. You may also report sales taxes to the government, record petty cash disbursements, send W-9 forms to vendors and fill out credit applications to create lines of credit for vendors. From an administrative standpoint, the job might require providing support to the company’s financial officers and maintaining accounts payable spreadsheets and files.
If the position is for a large company with multiple branches, you may serve as the liaison between the head office's and the branch's accounts payable departments. On a daily basis, you might interact with other accounting employees and departmental heads to solve accounts payable issues. For example, if an invoice does not have a purchase order, it might be your responsibility to obtain the appropriate approval and signatures before paying the bill. You might also work with the payroll department to process garnishment checks.
Qualifications and Skills
Confidentiality is a must for this position. Knowledge of bookkeeping or accounting principles and the ability to expand your job awareness by pursuing educational prospects are also essential. You need to be a team player with strong communication, organizational and problem solving skills. A high school diploma is typically required for this position. Some employers prefer bookkeeping or accounting experience and related college level courses. Knowledge of accounting software is a plus as well.
Grace Ferguson has been writing professionally since 2009. With 10 years of experience in employee benefits and payroll administration, Ferguson has written extensively on topics relating to employment and finance. A research writer as well, she has been published in The Sage Encyclopedia and Mission Bell Media.
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