Accounts Payable ClerkJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

An accounts payable clerk is responsible for processing all the invoices for a company and processing all payments. They might typically handle utility bills, product or inventory invoices, employee expense accounts, and reimbursements. Some accounts payable clerks also assist with payroll. Accounts payable clerks must be familiar with accounts payable practices, general accounting procedures, and have a good working knowledge of relevant accounting software, such as QuickBooks. 

Accounts payable clerks need to be organized, have excellent attention to detail, strong communication skills, and good problem-solving skills. They might have to resolve payment discrepancies and disputes and must be comfortable working with vendors and suppliers. Some accounts payable clerks also provide administrative support to a company or private office by maintaining inventory files, financial documents, and ensuring the safety and confidentiality of employee records and other financial documents.

Sample job description

Accounts payable clerks work under the supervision of the accounting manager and are responsible for receiving, processing, and verifying invoices. They handle all aspects of accounts payables, including purchase orders, bank deposits, and bills. They must be extremely accurate, able to meet payment schedules and deadlines, and have excellent attention to detail. [Your Company Name] is looking for an experienced accounts payable clerk to take our company to new levels. As an ideal candidate, you have experience in bookkeeping, working with accounting software, and processing payments.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Maintain petty cash
  • Log all incoming invoices and outgoing payments
  • Monitor all vendor contracts and supplier agreements
  • Identify discrepancies and resolve billing issues
  • Reconcile payable reports on a monthly basis
  • Keep track of all credits owed to the company and ensure they are appropriately applied to vendor payments

Education and experience

This position requires an associate’s degree in accounting, finance, or a related discipline.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Strong organizational ability
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite
  • Effective corporate communication skills
  • Ability to consistently meet deadlines
  • Excellent data entry skills

Preferred qualifications

  • Strong bookkeeping and accounts payable skills
  • Proven experience calculating, posting, and managing financial records
  • Solid mathematical skills 
  • Proficiency with spreadsheets and accounting software
  • Attention to detail
  • High level of accuracy

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for Accounts Payable Clerk is $49,800 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$49,550 $67,000 
Los Angeles, California$55,900 $75,600 
Denver, Colorado$46,550 $63,000 
Washington, DC$56,700$76,750 
Miami, Florida$46,350 $62,700 
Orlando, Florida$42,750 $57,850 
Tampa, Florida$43,200 $58,400 
Atlanta, Georgia$45,300 $61,300 
Chicago, Illinois$52,050 $70,450 
Boston, Massachusetts$56,300 $76,200 
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$44,850 $60,700 
New York City, New York$59,250 $80,200 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$48,250 $65,300 
Dallas, Texas$47,000 $63,550 
Houston, Texas$46,550 $63,000
Seattle, Washington$54,200 $73,300
National Average$42,350 $57,250 

Typical work environment

Accounts payable clerks typically work in office settings and spend most of their day in front of a computer. They generally work during normal business hours Monday through Friday. Some accounts payable clerks may work flexible schedules or full-time from home.  

Typical hours

The typical work hours for an Accounts Payable Clerk are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in an office setting. However, longer or different hours can be necessary, depending on the needs and hours of an individual company.

Available certifications

Accounts payable clerks work in many different environments, and many institutions offer certifications to help them improve their skills. Here are two of the best certifications for accounts payable clerks:

  • Certified Accounts Payable Professional (CAPP). The CAPP sets you apart from your peers by designating that you have demonstrated the knowledge and skills required to be successful as an accounts payable professional. This self-paced program contains 13 modules that thoroughly cover accounts payable best practices and procedures. Two or more years of work experience is required to obtain certification. The certification must be renewed every 2 years.
  • Accredited Payables Specialist (APS). The APS shows your strong understanding of accounts payable fundamentals, best practices, and your commitment to accuracy and compliance. The self-study online program covers invoices, payments, internal controls, taxes, and more. Three years of experience is recommended without a degree and 1 year of experience with a degree. To maintain certification, you are required to complete 15 continuing education units per year.

Career path

The first step in becoming an Accounts Payable Clerk is earning an associate’s degree in accounting, finance, or a related discipline. Beyond that, candidates can gain skills and accreditation by earning accounting certifications like Certified Accounts Payable Associate (CAPA). 

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 43-3031

2020 Employment1,620,000
Projected Employment in 20301,571,900
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 3% decrease
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift48,100 decrease

The Accounts Payable field is continually evolving. Rather than thought of as a back-office function, accounts payable departments are beginning to be thought of in a more strategically important way than in the past. As well as depending on this department for its traditional function, companies will be looking to accounts payable departments to supply essential data.

Sample interview questions

  • Why do you want to be an accounts payable clerk?
  • How familiar are you with accounting software? Which ones have you used?
  • What is the accounts payable process?
  • How accurate are you in performing data entry? 
  • What would you do if you found a discrepancy in an invoice?
  • What are the steps involved in making a payment?
  • How do you prioritize your work?
  • How do you deal with a difficult customer? Can you give a past example?
  • How does the accounts payable department impact the overall success of a business?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Can you describe a mistake you made and explain what you learned?
  • How do you verify an invoice?

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