What Does an Accounts Payable Specialist Do?
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. Accounts payable specialists must be organized, have excellent time management skills, and be able to effectively multitask.
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, as well as 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.
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National Average Salary
Accounts payable specialist salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site zengig.com.
The average U.S. salary for an Accounts Payable Specialist is:
Accounts Payable Specialist Job Descriptions
The key to attracting the ideal accounts payable specialist often lies in the job description. To make this task easier, we have curated a selection of examples that can be used as templates, ensuring you set the right foundation for your talent search.
The accounts payable specialist is responsible for 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
- Proven experience in accounts payable
- Excellent attention to detail
- Strong organizational skills
- Good communication skills
- Knowledge of accounting software packages
The Accounts Payable Specialist compiles and processes accounts payable and prepares checks and electronic payments. Someone who will be successful in this position will be a self-starter who is motivated to learn. The Accounts Payable Specialist should have strong Excel skills.
- Full-Cycle accounts payable with 3-way matching
- Preparation of check runs and electronic payments
- Maintenance of all accounts payable reports and files
- Review employee expense reports to ensure adequate receipt documentation and to ensure that charges are within company policy
- Download ERP reports into excel as needed for analysis or additional information
- Assist in month-end closing
- Daily reconciliation of payments
- Processing of intercompany invoices
- General Ledger (GL) accruals for outstanding internal expenses
- Quickly process referral fees and marketing allowance payouts
- Maintain good standing with all vendors
- Creates and maintains vendor files with proper documentation and backup, including vendor records
- Updates ERP system with vendor updates and additional vendor management as necessary
- Additional projects related to accounting close, financial metrics, and internal controls, as assigned
- Initiative self-starter
- Problem Solving/Analysis
- Organizational Skills
- Communication Proficiency
- Ability to retain large amounts of information
Education and experience required
- Degree in accounting or equivalent experience
- 3+ years of AP experience
- Positive attitude and approach
- Microsoft Applications (MS Office, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook)
- Oracle NetSuite ERP experience preferred but not required
- Concur experience is preferred but not required
- Excellent organizational skills
The Accounts Payable Specialist will be working closely with the AP Manager and 4 other clerks on processing a large volume of invoices.
- Process a high volume of invoices daily
- Review purchase orders and receipts
- Transition on a rotating basis on those systems and code invoices correctly
- Obtain approval and resolve flagged items
- Assist in other special projects as needed
- Detail oriented and professional
- Team player
- SAP experience is a huge plus
- Basic Excel, must be able to modify formulas
Accounts payable specialists manage the expenses of companies, businesses, and organizations. They analyze invoices and expense reports, resolve accounting discrepancies, and charge expenses to accounts.
- Obtain primary financial data for accounting records
- Compute and record numerical data
- Check the accuracy of business transactions
- Perform data entry and administrative duties
- Previous experience in accounting, finance, or other related fields
- Previous accounts payable experience
- Fundamental knowledge of GAAP
- Ability to prioritize and multitask
- Strong organizational skills
- Deadline and detail-oriented
Candidate Certification to Look For
Certified Payroll Professional (CPP)
The CPP designation is designed for those who handle payroll functions or payroll management. To earn the CPP designation, candidates must pass an exam covering seven main knowledge areas. They will answer questions about core concepts like taxes and benefits. Candidates will also be quizzed on compliance issues and calculation methods. Payroll systems and accounting are also addressed in this exam.
How to Hire an Accounts Payable Specialist
Consider the following when hiring an accounts payable specialist:
- Recruiting: Do you have the internal resources and tools to source and recruit for this role successfully?
- Complexity: Do you need a senior professional, or will mid, or even junior-level skills suffice?
- Duration: Is this a one-time project, or an indefinite need?
- Management: Can you effectively direct the work effort?
- Urgency: Are there any deadlines associated with this need?
- Headcount: Do you have the budget and approval for an internal employee, or should you consider alternate options?
Answering these questions will help determine the best course of action for your current hiring need. Fortunately, various great options exist for every scenario, no matter how unique. For hiring an accounts payable specialist, we recommend the following options:
1. Use 4 Corner Resources (or another professional recruiting firm)
The heavy lifting is done for you when working with a top-tier staffing company like 4 Corner Resources. We source, screen, recruit, and deliver only the most qualified candidate(s), saving you significant time and effort throughout the hiring process while you remain focused on your core business. Understanding your needs and ensuring the right candidate for the position is the key to our success.
This is the best route to take when:
- You need to fill the position quickly
- You want access to a vast talent pool of high-quality, prescreened candidates
- Your position is suited for temporary hiring services, contract staffing, or contract-to-hire recruiting, and you intend to direct the work activity.
- You are hiring an employee as a direct placement but aren’t able to recruit effectively or efficiently with your internal staff.
- You aren’t familiar with current salary rates, market trends, and available skill sets
2. Advertise your opening on a top job board
Your best option may be to advertise your opening on a proven job board. There are many widely used job sites out there that draw visits from qualified candidates. If you have someone internally who can dedicate the time and energy to sort through applications and screen individuals effectively, this can be a great choice.
We recommend using a job board when:
- Your internal recruiting team has the knowledge and experience to assess candidate qualifications
- You are hiring a direct employee and have time to manage the entire recruiting effort
- You have a process for receiving, screening, and tracking all resumes and applications
- You are prepared to respond to all applicants
We recommend using CareerBuilder when hiring an accounts payable specialist:
CareerBuilder has been a trusted source for hiring since 1995. Reach 80+ million unique, diverse U.S. job seekers annually by posting your jobs through their talent acquisition channels. Through CareerBuilder, you can engage candidates and drive them into your sourcing pipeline. We recommend using CareerBuilder for hiring when you have the internal resources and processes to review, screen, and reply to all applicants.
3. Leverage your internal resources
You can utilize your own website, social media, and employees to assist in your search for top candidates.
A company website posting should be the first step in notifying prospective candidates that you are hiring. Social media can also be a powerful tool for spreading the word about your new opening. As far as exposure is concerned, this option can be as good as some job boards when you have a large enough following across various platforms, like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.
Current employees are every organization’s greatest asset. Encourage your internal team to promote job openings to their network by offering cash and other incentives.
We recommend these options when:
- Your brand has great name recognition
- You can consistently monitor and respond to candidate activity through your website and social media accounts
- You have a process in place to quickly and broadly communicate job openings and requirements
- You have an effective employee referral program in place
If you aren’t sure which path is best, schedule a discovery call today with our seasoned recruiting professionals. The 4 Corner team is on standby to help you find the best option for your unique hiring need.
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?
- Can you tell me about a time when you had to deal with multiple requests at one time?
- Have you ever shadowed an accounts payable specialist?
- 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?