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

Accounts payable specialists perform essential job functions to ensure vendors get paid in a timely manner for services and products rendered. They also review and process invoices, audit credit card bills, address vendor and supplier inquiries, reconcile vendor statements, process and maintain tax statements, and process and distribute checks. An accounts payable specialist must be organized, have excellent time management skills, and be able to effectively multi-task.

An accounts payable specialist may be responsible for company financial information, records, and financial documentation. They also maintain accuracy in all payments, track expenses, and process expense reports. This role requires technical knowledge of ledger and accounting procedures and good communication skills. A typical day’s work might include reviewing vendor invoices for accuracy, verifying tax ID numbers, calculating freight charges, discounts and taxes due, as well as identifying and correcting payment errors.

Sample job description

The accounts payable specialist is responsible for the accurate and timely processing of all invoices received by the company. They will also be responsible for maintaining vendor files and preparing weekly and monthly reports. The ideal candidate for this position is a detail-oriented individual with strong organizational skills and a good working knowledge of Microsoft Excel. You may be reviewing supplier invoices for accuracy and completeness, entering invoices into the accounting system, processing payments, maintaining vendor files, and preparing weekly and monthly reports.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Maintain petty cash
  • Log all outgoing disbursements
  • Monitor all vendor payment agreements
  • Be responsible for paying all sales taxes on relevant invoices
  • Verify discrepancies and resolve clients’ billing issues
  • Reconcile payable reports each month to confirm that all amounts paid were accurate
  • Keep track of all credits owed to the company and ensure they are appropriately applied to vendor payments

Education and experience

This position requires a bachelor’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

  • Proven experience in accounts payable
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Good communication skills
  • Knowledge of accounting software packages

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for an accounts payable specialist is $53,000 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$52,700$71,300
Los Angeles, California$59,450$80,450
Denver, Colorado$49,550$67,050
Washington, DC$60,350$81,650
Miami, Florida$49,350$66,750
Orlando, Florida$45,500$61,550
Tampa, Florida$45,950$62,150
Atlanta, Georgia$48,200$65,200
Chicago, Illinois$55,400$74,950
Boston, Massachusetts$59,900$81,050
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$47,750$64,600
New York City, New York$63,050$85,350
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$51,350$69,500
Dallas, Texas$50,000$67,650
Houston, Texas$49,550$67,050
Seattle, Washington$57,650$78,000
National Average$45,050$60,950

Typical work environment

Work is performed in an office environment, with the opportunity to work both independently and as part of a team. Accounts payable specialists will typically work 40 hours per week; Monday – Friday; 9 AM to 5 PM (or local equivalent). You can expect to be sitting for the majority of your work, but there may also come a time where you will be moving around and standing as you work with different employees or consumers.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for an accounts payable specialists are from 9 AM to 5 PM, 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

If you want to stand out from the rest of the applicants, you can receive certifications that will help showcase your talents and knowledge.

  • Certified Payroll Professional (CPP). The CPP designation is designed for those who handle payroll functions or payroll management. To earn the CPP designation, you must pass an exam that covers seven main areas of knowledge. You’ll answer questions about core concepts like taxes and benefits. You’ll also be quizzed on compliance issues and calculation methods. Payroll systems and accounting are also addressed in the exam.

Career path

The first step in becoming an accounts payable specialist is earning a bachelor’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

  • What experience do you have in accounts payable?
  • Describe a time when you had to reconcile an account.
  • What will be the most difficult part of this position for you?
  • Do you know any accounting software packages?
  • How would your co-workers describe your work ethic?
  • When was the last time that you worked with accountants?
  • What is your biggest pet peeve?
  • Can you tell me about a time when you had to deal with multiple requests at one time?
  • Are you willing to work overtime or on weekends if necessary?
  • Have you ever shadowed an accounts payable specialist?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • What are three things that make this position stand out from the others you have applied for?
  • What is your biggest weakness? How would you compensate for it in this position?
  • In what ways do you prioritize your work and why?
  • How do you manage multiple tasks at once?

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