Accounts Payable Specialist Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

An Accounts Payable Specialist is responsible for the financial processing of transactions for an organization. Their duties include daily bookkeeping and record keeping, financial reporting and the preparation of tax records for financial audits.

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Accounts Payable Specialist duties and responsibilities

Accounts Payable Specialists assist companies with invoicing and billing. Key duties and responsibilities of an Accounts Payable Specialist include:

  • Managing accounts payable using accounting software and other programs 
  • Handling accounts payable for separate entities and vendors 
  • Analyzing workflow processes 
  • Establishing and maintaining relationships with new and existing vendors 
  • Ensuring bills and payroll are paid in a timely and accurate manner while adhering to departmental procedures 
  • Processing due invoices for payments 
  • Comparing purchase orders, prices, terms of payment and other charges
  • Processing transactions and performing accounting duties such as account maintenance, recording entries and reconciling books of accounts
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What does an Accounts Payable Specialist do?

Accounts Payable Specialists are typically employed by accounting firms or corporations. They reconcile and verify invoices within the finance department of a corporation. They usually assist accountants and auditors in preparing documentation up until tax season. They may also be responsible for paying company bills and ensuring that financial statements include the correct information.

Accounts Payable Specialist skills and qualifications

A successful Accounts Payable Specialist will have a mix of organizational and analytical skills. They should be able to work out numbers, generate reports and find discrepancies as well as cost-saving opportunities. Other qualifications may include: 

  • Competency with QuickBooks, Xero, Zoho Books and other accounting tools
  • Basic data entry skills
  • Comfortable with math and calculations
  • Good listening and communication skills
  • Attention to detail

Accounts Payable Specialist salary expectations

An Accounts Payable Specialist makes an average of $56,987 per year. Salary may depend on education, experience level and geographical location.

Accounts Payable Specialist education and training

This position typically requires at least a high school diploma and some accounting experience. Recent graduates with a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting or any other related field and relevant internship experience are encouraged to apply. A master’s degree in either field is going to be an advantage. Candidates that don’t have a bachelor’s degree may be able to apply with a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification.

Accounts Payable Specialist experience requirements

The right person for this role should have at least 3 years of experience in accounting. Competence in financial and bookkeeping software is necessary. An understanding of current accounting trends is a plus. Expert-Level knowledge of spreadsheets is crucial, and experience with word processing tools is essential for generating and writing reports for record-keeping and presentations. Since the candidate will be working with entries, experience with general ledgers is a must. Other desirable skills and experience include budget creation and finance management.

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Frequently asked questions about Accounts Payable Specialists

What makes a good Accounts Payable Specialist?

A good Accounts Payable Specialist is someone who has a proficient knowledge of accounting practices and an ability to work well with others to ensure a corporation’s financial health. Further, an Accounts Payable Specialist should be able to support the actions of other finance professionals by using software, making calculations a tracing the sources of potential errors.

What is the difference between an Accounts Payable Specialist and an Accounts Payable Clerk?

There isn’t a distinct difference between an Accounts Payable Specialist and an Accounts Payable Clerk. Instead, an Accounts Payable Specialist can be seen as a type of Accounts Payable Clerk who focuses specifically on ensuring that a company pays its debts/bills within a given timeframe. They may also complete basic clerk duties like bookkeeping and organizing files, but the main focus of their job is much more focused on that specific task.

Who does an Accounts Payable Specialist report to?

An Accounts Payable Specialist typically reports to a Head Accountant or Accounting Manager. In smaller companies, they may work specifically for one or more Accounting or Auditing professionals to help them complete their job duties. They may also work for individuals or sole-proprietorships to perform financial maintenance as needed.

What are some potential career paths for Accounts Payable Specialists?

An Accounts Payable Specialist can pursue a variety of different career paths as their job allows them to explore several different areas in accounting and finance. As Accounts Payable Specialists typically have a high school diploma or GED, they can typically advance their careers by obtaining degrees as the associate and bachelor levels, or certifications. Here are a few examples:

  • Accounts Receivable Clerk
  • Accounts Payable Accountant
  • Certified Public Accountant
  • Auditor
  • Controller
  • Financial Planner
  • Accounting Manager
  • Personal Financial Advisor
  • Director of Accounting

This is important to recognize as an Accounts Payable Specialist you hire could go on to make beneficial contributions to your company in more advanced, senior roles. This may be helpful when current Accountants, Auditors or other employees decide to go for more advanced opportunities themselves as it allows you to select a candidate who already knows your company.

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