what does an accounts payable clerk do?

  • job profiles
  • August 25, 2020

Accounts payable (AP) clerks process business transactions, analyze documents, report on key financial statements and maintain records, frequently liaising with partners, vendors and more. Given all those different hats, these vital finance professionals would be wise to use ancillary search terms like “bookkeeping,” “accounting,” “auditing,” “vendor accounts,” “purchase orders” and “entry level” as well when navigating job boards. The shortened form “AP clerk” is another good search term to keep in mind.

Other responsibilities of accounts payable clerks include:

  • aligning accounts payables operations with the broader financial, liquidity and cash flow goals of the organization
  • monitoring invoices and resolving any discrepancies
  • providing support during audits
  • proactively addressing and responding to vendor inquiries
  • ensuring continual compliance with relevant regulatory policies

Day-to-day duties of accounts payable clerks typically include:

  • processing and responding to requests for payment
  • gathering expense reports on a regularly scheduled basis
  • coding and addressing vendor invoices
  • carrying out monthly reconciliations
  • managing and processing credit card and other ongoing bills

what are the key skills of an accounts payable clerk?

Accounts payable clerks are close to the center of the action within the finance function at most businesses today. And even though a lot of their work is organized around financial calculations, they aren’t automatons who do that all day — on the contrary, a lot of interpersonal interaction is baked into the role, too. As such, skills that can be key differentiators for accounts payable clerks include:

  • accounting expertise
  • relationship management skills
  • experience managing budgets and expenses
  • attentiveness to detail
  • organizational and time management aptitudes
  • computer proficiency in general, and expertise using Microsoft software and applications specifically
  • data-entry skills
  • general math ability
  • written and verbal communication skills

how much do accounts payable clerks make?

Based on the latest data, average salaries for accounts payable clerks can be bucketed into three tiers — low range, mid range and high range — depending on your location, market, responsibilities and relative level of expertise. Those tiers are as follows:

  • low range $33,572-$37,905
  • mid range $40,492–$45,718
  • high range $46,949-$53,008

As you can see, salaries for accounts payable clerks can vary considerably. To get a handle on how much your expertise is worth, take advantage of our free salary comparison tool. It’ll help you uncover at-a-glance insights about pay in your market.

how do you become an accounts payable clerk?

Becoming an accounts payable clerk isn’t as easy as snapping your fingers, but with a little preparation — and perhaps an online certification or training course to beef up your core skill set — this is a professional goal that should be within reach.

Essential qualifications typically include:

  • high school diploma, GED or the equivalent
  • previous accounts payable experience
  • a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance or a related field (definitely a plus, but not always required)

Haven’t got it made, based on the above criteria? Not to worry. Check out an online class like “Accounting 101: Accounts Payable Best Practices For 2020” on Udemy, our learning partner, to build up your skill set. It’s the best way to get your foot in the door.

key takeaways

Is becoming an accounts payable clerk going to mark the start of the next exciting stage in your career? If so, we're thrilled to hear it — and we’re here to support you in your journey, too. Demand for skilled accounts payable clerks remains high, what’s more, despite the constraints of COVID-19.

To recap, in this article we covered:

  • what an accounts payable clerk does
  • background, training, experience and other requirements for this position
  • key skills
  • salary
  • and more

Wondering who's hiring in your area for accounts payable clerks right now? Search available jobs to find out.