Accounts Payable: Job Description Guide

By Michelle Matthews, MBA, CPCC

September 27, 2021

The founder of RBG Royalty Enterprises, Michelle Matthews is a certified professional career coach and accounts payable professional who helps individuals craft strategic approaches in the workplace using her signature Boss Up & Hustle framework.

What is accounts payable?

The accounts payable department is widely responsible for the financial, administrative and clerical support of a company. It oversees the timely completion of payments, the application of payments and processing, verifying and reconciling of invoices. Accounts payable job descriptions will often highlight that deadline-driven activities are part of the day-to-day tasks associated with the payment cycle of the organization. These professionals ensure the accuracy of an organization's financial documents for payment, auditing and tax purposes.

Read more: What Is Accounts Payable? Definition and How It Works

What should be included in an accounts payable job description?

An organization that is hiring an accounts payable professional typically features the following tasks:

  • Tracking all payments and expenditures, including payroll, purchase orders, invoices and statements

  • Reconciling processed payments through verification of entries and other supporting documents to balances

  • Maintaining the accuracy of historical data and records

  • Providing support in audit and tax preparation

  • Verifying expense reports and preparing paychecks for employees

  • Correspondence with all creditors and vendors regarding payment schedules, outstanding credits and other finance-related inquiries

  • Preparing an analysis of accounts and other monthly reports

  • Continuous improvement of the payment process

Read more: Learn About Being an Accounts Payable Specialist

What skills and qualifications should an accounts payable professional have?

A degree is not mandatory for an accounts payable role, but an understanding of accounting principles and basic bookkeeping is required. However, having a degree in the following subjects would be beneficial for a professional looking to start a career in accounts payable:

  • Accounting

  • Business

  • Economics

  • Finance

Professionals are expected to have the ability to pay attention to detail and enter a high volume of data. They are generally in daily communication with employers and vendors, so conducting themselves in a professional manner is a requirement.

Other skills include:

  • Adaptability

  • Critical thinking

  • Interpersonal aptitude

  • Project management

  • Strong work ethic

  • Teamwork capabilities

Related: 6 Essential Accounting Skills

How much does an accounts payable professional earn?

Salaries for accounts payable professionals vary depending on their job title, level of education, relevant work experience, the geographic location of the job, the size of the company and the industry in which they work. Accounts payable professionals are typically full-time employees, but they may also be part-time or seasonal workers.

Below are the average salaries for common roles in an accounts payable department. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the links provided.

Accounts payable clerk

National average salary: $17.70 per hour

Primary duties: Sometimes called an accounts payable specialist, an accounts payable coordinator or an accounts payable officer, these professionals provide financial and clerical support to a business, making payments to vendors, suppliers and other creditors, verifying and reconciling invoices and managing the general ledger to ensure proper cash flow. The job descriptions may vary for each title based on the size of the organization.

Accounts payable specialist

National average salary: $19.42 per hour

Primary duties: These more experienced accounts payable specialists oversee accounts payable records and transactions. They may help manage the department and train new accounts payable clerks.

Accounts payable manager

National average salary: $65,675 per year

Primary duties: These senior professionals train, hire, supervise and lead staff members within the accounts payable department. Accounts payable managers maintain accurate financial, client and staff records in addition to building relationships with their organizations' clients, lenders, shareholders, employees and vendors.

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