What Do an Accounts Payable Specialist Do?
Accounts payable (AP) is an essential function of any organisation that involves managing its financial obligations to its vendors, suppliers, and other creditors.
It is a crucial department that ensures timely supplier payments while maintaining accurate financial records.
An accounts payable specialist is an essential member of the accounts payable department who plays a vital role in maintaining financial stability for a company.
This article delves into the role of accounts payable specialist and their responsibilities in managing the accounts payable function.
Role of Accounts Payable Specialist
An accounts payable specialist is responsible for managing the accounts payable function of an organisation. They are responsible for processing and recording invoices and expenses in the company's financial system. They work closely with the accounts payable team to ensure that all invoices are paid on time, vendors are reconciled, and financial records are accurate. The accounts payable specialist ensures that all financial obligations are met.
Responsibilities of an Accounts Payable Specialist
- Invoice Processing: The accounts payable specialist is responsible for processing all the organisation's invoices. They ensure invoices are accurate and complete and have approval before payment processing. They enter the invoice data into the company's financial system, where it is recorded, and ensure that all invoices are coded correctly.
- Payment Processing: Once the invoices have been approved, the accounts payable specialist is responsible for processing the payments. They ensure that all payments are made on time and the correct amount is paid to the vendor. The accounts payable specialist is also responsible for reconciling vendor statements and resolving discrepancies.
- Vendor Management: The accounts payable specialist is responsible for managing vendor relationships. They communicate with vendors regarding payment status, resolve issues or disputes, and ensure that all vendor information is accurate and up-to-date. The accounts payable specialist also maintains vendor files, including contracts, purchase orders, and invoices.
- Record-Keeping: The accounts payable specialist is responsible for maintaining accurate financial records. They ensure that all financial transactions are accurately recorded in the company's financial system. The accounts payable specialist reconciles vendor statements, tracks payment history, and maintains all supporting documentation.
- Compliance: The accounts payable specialist ensures that all payments and financial transactions comply with company policies and procedures and legal and regulatory requirements. They also provide that the appropriate personnel approves all invoices and expenses before payment.
Skills Required for an Accounts Payable Specialist
To be a successful accounts payable specialist, there are several essential skills required, including:
- Attention to Detail: The accounts payable specialist must have excellent attention to detail to ensure that all invoices and expenses are processed accurately.
- Organisational Skills: The accounts payable specialist must be highly organised to manage the high volume of daily invoices and payments.
- Communication Skills: The accounts payable specialist must have excellent communication skills to manage vendor relationships and communicate effectively with internal departments.
- Analytical Skills: The accounts payable specialist must have strong analytical skills to reconcile vendor statements, identify discrepancies, and resolve issues.
- Technical Skills: The accounts payable specialist must proficiently use financial software and accounting systems.
The accounts payable specialist's role is critical to financial stability. They manage the accounts payable function, process invoices and payments, work vendor relationships, maintain accurate financial records, and ensure compliance with company policies and regulatory requirements.
The accounts payable specialist plays a vital role in maintaining financial stability for a company. Their responsibilities are crucial for ensuring that the company maintains positive relationships with its vendors and suppliers. To be a successful accounts payable specialist, one must possess a combination of skills, including attention to detail, organisational, communication, analytical, and technical skills.
As businesses continue to grow and expand, the role of the accounts payable specialist is becoming increasingly important. With the increasing use of automation and technology in the accounting industry, the accounts payable specialist's role is evolving to include more strategic and analytical tasks.
How to become an account, payable specialist?
If you are interested in becoming an accounts payable specialist, there are several steps you can take to begin your career in this field. Here are some essential steps to follow:
- Obtain a high school diploma or equivalent: To become an accounts payable specialist; you must have a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification. A certificate in accounting or finance is an added advantage, but it is optional.
- Gain relevant experience: Many employers prefer hiring candidates with some accounting or finance experience. This experience will help you develop the skills and knowledge required for the role. You can gain this experience by working in related positions such as data entry, bookkeeping, or accounting assistant.
- Pursue relevant education and certifications: While not mandatory, pursuing a degree or certificate in accounting, finance, or business administration can improve your job prospects as an accounts payable specialist. Community colleges, technical schools, and universities offer accounting or finance courses.
- Certified Accounts Payable Professional (CAPP) or Certified Bookkeeper (CB) can also help you stand out in the job market and demonstrate your expertise to potential employers.
- Develop necessary skills: To be a successful accounts payable specialist, you must develop essential skills such as attention to detail, organisational skills, communication skills, analytical skills, and technical skills. You can gain these skills by taking courses or participating in training programs.
- Look for job opportunities: Once you have gained the necessary skills and experience, you can start looking for job opportunities. Check job portals, company websites, and social media platforms for job postings in your area. Networking with professionals in the accounting or finance field can also help you find job openings.
- Prepare for job interviews: When applying for an accounts payable specialist position, prepare for the interview by researching the company and familiarising yourself with the job description. Be prepared to discuss your experience, skills, and qualifications that make you a good fit for the role.
Becoming an accounts payable specialist requires education, experience, and skills. Following the steps outlined above, you can develop the necessary qualifications and start your career in this field.
Career, Job Scope and Salary
Accounts payable specialist's career is often an entry-level position in the accounting or finance industry. However, the right experience and education can lead to more senior roles such as accounts payable manager or accounting supervisor. Some individuals also use their accounts payable experience as a stepping stone to other accounting or finance positions, such as financial analyst or accountant.
The job scope of an accounts payable specialist varies depending on the organisation and industry they work in. Generally, they are responsible for managing and processing the company's invoices, payments, and expenses. Some of the everyday tasks that an accounts payable specialist performs include:
- Processing invoices and purchase orders
- Recording transactions in the accounting system
- Reviewing and verifying invoices for accuracy
- Reconciling vendor statements and resolving discrepancies
- Responding to vendor inquiries and resolving payment issues
- Preparing and processing payments to vendors
- Maintaining accurate records and files
- Providing financial reports to management as needed
- Ensuring compliance with accounting policies and procedures
In addition to the above tasks, an accounts payable specialist may also be responsible for other ad-hoc projects and tasks assigned by their supervisor.
The salary of an accounts payable specialist varies based on several factors, such as experience, education, location, and industry. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for accounting and auditing clerks, which includes accounts payable specialists, was $42,410 in May 2020.
However, salaries can range from around $28,000 to over $60,000, depending on the organisation and region.
Some factors that can affect an accounts payable specialist's salary include:
- Years of experience: As with many professions, the more years of experience an accounts payable specialist has, the higher their salary will likely be.
- Education and certifications: Pursuing additional education, such as a bachelor's degree in accounting, or obtaining credentials, such as Certified Accounts Payable Professional (CAPP) or Certified Bookkeeper (CB), can increase accounts payable specialist's earning potential.
- Industry: The industry accounts payable specialist works in can also affect their salary. For example, accounts payable specialists in the healthcare industry may earn more than those in the retail sector.
- Location: The cost of living in the region an accounts payable specialist works in can also affect their salary. Larger metropolitan areas generally offer higher wages than smaller towns or rural areas.