An accounts payable analyst reviews and analyzes an organization's invoices and expenses, making certain that they’re for goods or services actually contracted for and received. The goal is to prevent unauthorized use of the company's funds. As with most administrative jobs related to finance, an AP analyst must be detail-oriented and capable of routinely performing repetitive tasks with a high degree of accuracy.
Training and Experience
Although many organizations hire AP analysts with a high school diploma, some prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree. An AP analyst is generally not an entry-level position; most employers prefer that candidates for the position have previous experience in a finance, auditing or accounting department. While there is on-the-job training, it usually relates specifically to the organization’s standards, requirements and procedures. In addition, while AP analysts are not accountants, they are expected to have a basic understanding of bookkeeping principles, and relevant federal and state policies, procedures and regulations.
An AP analyst reviews invoices, expense accounts, vouchers and check requests to ensure that they conform to company guidelines. For instance, if an invoice is for goods that the company has purchased, he makes sure that the company actually ordered the goods and received the shipment in good condition, and that all quantities and prices are accurate. He enters items into an accounting system for payment and may perform other finance department tasks, such as communicating with vendors.
Work Environment and Compensation
AP analysts generally work a traditional 40-hour workweek during normal working hours in an office environment, but about 25 percent work on a part-time basis. Overtime may occasionally be required to meet deadlines. While they’re often paid on a salary basis, AP analysts’ job duties don’t qualify them for exemption from wage and hour laws, which means that they are entitled to overtime pay when they work overtime. According to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks, the broad classification that covers AP analysts, was $17.91, or $37,250 annually in 2013. The median wage was $16.91 per hour, or $35,170 per year.
The Department of Labor projects that jobs for all types of accounting clerks will grow by about 11 percent from 2012 to 2022, on par with job growth overall. With a few years’ experience, AP analysts may move into positions of greater responsibility, or they may become bookkeepers, accountants or auditors. A college degree, college-level coursework or other professional training may enhance an AP analyst’s prospects when applying to such positions.
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.