Accounting functions are often segmented into specific responsibilities in larger organizations. Functions such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, general ledger, and collections may be the responsibility of one or several people. Accounts payable professionals ensure all of an organization’s incoming invoices, loans, credit cards and other accounts are paid in a timely manner and entered accurately into the accounting records.
This occupation generally requires a high school diploma or GED, as well as some accounting or business experience. Employers prefer candidates with good math and computer skills, as well as a high-level of attention to detail, because a majority of the job requires addition, subtraction and entering information into spreadsheets and accounting software applications. Postsecondary education, such as vocational training or an associate’s or bachelor's degree, especially in accounting or business, can increase employment opportunities.
Processing Invoices and Payments
Accounts payable professionals receive incoming invoices and make payments. They ensure all bills are accurate and have an executive, such as a controller or accounting manager, approve all payments. Invoices may need to be approved by heads of certain departments before processing in larger companies. After the invoices are approved, they create checks and disperse funds. Accounts payable personnel review loans and other revolving accounts on a routine basis to ensure accounts are correct and payments are made in a timely manner. They also enter information into the organization’s accounting system to keep track of payments.
Organizations keep careful records of financial information for tax preparation and to ensure financial budgets are adhered to, as well as for company auditing purposes. Accounts payable professionals create reports for supervisors to review on a routine basis. Reconciling of certain accounts, such as credit cards, might be done before reports are generated.They may work as a team with other accounting personnel, such as accounts receivable clerks, bookkeeping clerks and auditing clerks, to reconcile financial records and review or create reports.
Careers and Salary
Employment of all accounting clerks, which includes accounts payable clerks, is expected to increase 14 percent between 2010 and 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Although some of the work of accounting clerks has changed because of advances in technology, stricter laws and regulations regarding business finances will spur growth for these professionals, because financial records must be tracked and recorded. Among over 1.6 million accounting clerks employed in the U.S. in 2011, the mean annual wage was $36,120 per year, according to the BLS.