What does an accounts payable specialist do

Posted by Fed Finance Canada in Our employment advice
Posted at 19/08/2023
What does an accounts payable specialist do
In the context of upholding strong fiscal well-being within a corporation, adeptly handling accounts payable emerges as a matter of utmost significance. This necessitates proficient collaboration across diverse departments and astute utilization of systems and resources to guarantee precise monitoring of financial commitments to suppliers.

Frequently, the duty of ensuring proper management falls upon the accounts payable clerk or technician, a role extensively detailed by our employment agency specialized in accounting jobs.

What is account payable 

Accounts payable are a fundamental component within a company's financial operations. They symbolize the sums owed to suppliers and service providers for merchandise and services received through credit transactions. Typically categorized as liabilities on a company's balance sheet, accounts payable mirror immediate financial responsibilities.

Accounts payable vs receivable

Accounts payable and accounts receivable are distinct financial concepts with opposing directions of transaction. Accounts payable refer to the money a company owes to suppliers for goods and services received on credit, representing the company's liabilities. Conversely, accounts receivable denote the money owed to the company by customers for goods and services provided on credit, representing the company's assets. While accounts payable reflect the company's obligations, accounts receivable indicate expected future payments.

When working in accounting, both concepts are pivotal in tracking cash flow, evaluating financial health, and maintaining favorable business relationships.

Accounts payable process

Effective accounts payable management involves several crucial aspects:

  • Accurate tracking: Maintaining an accurate record of all invoices received from suppliers, as well as payment due dates, is crucial to avoid delays and penalties.
  • Automation: Modern software solutions can automate the accounts payable process, facilitating invoice entry, approval and payment follow-up.
  • Negotiation: The ability to negotiate favorable payment terms with suppliers can help optimize a company's cash flow.
  • Planning: Scheduling payments according to due dates and availability of funds helps avoid cash shortages.
  • Expense control: Rigorous management of accounts payable can reveal spending trends and help identify savings opportunities.

Accounts payable clerk duties and responsibilities

Accounts payable clerks play an important role within a company. They handle all financial documents concerning the organization.

Their main tasks include:

  • Calculate and issue documents related to the company's accounts manually or through a computerized system (invoices, inventory records, etc.)
  • Complete and update databases on a computer, verify all company transactions: invoices, accounts payable and receivable, payrolls, cheques, orders, etc.
  • Calculate the company's budget and the costs of overhead, expenses and quotes
  • Periodically make accounting reports
  • Respond to and maintain a good relationship with customers
  • Perform related tasks such as word processing and file creation

How to become an accounts payable clerk

The constant economic changes in our society mean that businesses must constantly stay alert and engaged. This is why accounts payable specialists are a great help to managers.

To become one, you must have completed a high school and college diploma in accounting or other course offered by the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada.

Accounts payable clerk skills

As the labour market continuously evolves, it is now essential to possess qualities that go beyond a university degree.

As such, individuals with these qualities are preferred:

  • Good math skills: to work easily with numbers
  • Ease of working on a computer: since it is the main work tool
  • A sense of organization: for accounting data to be organized
  • Enjoy working with people: to maintain good relationships with customers and suppliers
  • Careful and discreet with attention to detail: figures and accounting in general must be accurate
  • A sense of responsibility: to ensure the proper execution of accounting operations
  • A command of French and English: to communicate with all customers

Future prospects in this sector are numerous, but it is especially rewarding to turn to SMEs. Small and medium-sized businesses are the most in need of accounts payable clerks.

Accounts payable clerk salary

According to the 2023 financial professions salary guide made by our accounting recruiters, accounts payable clerks start out earning between $40,000 and $50,000 a year. With more experience, they may be eligible for salaries of up to $60,000.

Where should you look to find a job?

If, after reading this information on the accounts payable profession, you think this could be an interesting career opportunity for you, submit your resume or apply to our finance job offers!