Accounts Payable jobs include those accounting professionals responsible for the disbursement of payments to vendors and independent contractors. They differ from payroll accountants and payroll specialists in that they are charged with approving and generating those payments that are not for the organization’s employees. However, in many organizations, the accounts payable department will work closely with the payroll department. Both departments typically report to the same officer.
Most accounts payable positions require a degree in business or a related field. Check out the programs below which offer free information:
The job outlook for accounts payable positions is quite good. As organizations expand and become more complicated due to overseas operations the number of skilled accounts payable professionals will rise. Most accounts payable positions do not require a college degree. Some positions, however, will require an associates degree in accounting, and accounts payable supervisory positions typically require a bachelors degree in accounting.
Accounts Payable Job Responsibilities
Accounts payable professionals, typically referred to as accounts payable clerks, perform jobs that are essential to the operation of organizations of all sizes. While staff throughout the organization may request payment for services rendered by vendors and independent contractors, as well as goods for purposes ranging from inventory to office supplies, the accounts payable clerks are responsible for verifying these payments.
Accounts payable clerks perform an important internal controls function by ensuring that payments are being made for valid business purposes in the correct amount, to the correct vendor or independent contractor. This is an important part of fraud deterrence in organizations of all sizes, and greatly reduces the chances of financial errors.
Accounts Payable Training and Education Requirements
Accounts payable clerks are not required to have college degrees, however it may be helpful to have an associates degree in accounting to obtain a position as an accounts payable clerk.
Most accounts payable clerks receive their training on the job. Accounts payable clerks must become well versed in the often complex financial reporting systems that large organizations use to track their financial information. Accounts payable clerks will learn how to use financial reporting systems, such as Oracle’s PeopleSoft to review and approve payment requests, prepare reports summarizing payments made by the organization, and to print checks. Accounts payable clerks also must be trained on how to initiate electronic credit payments and electronic debit payments from the organization’s bank accounts to vendors.
Accounts Payable Salary and Wages
Accounts payable clerks are always in demand, and as a result, routinely enjoy some of the highest salaries paid to professionals without four year college degrees. Actual salaries offered to accounts payable clerks will vary based upon whether the accounts payable clerk position is located in a city or suburb, and what region of the country it is in.
Experienced accounts payable clerks may also obtain a position as an accounts payable supervisor. As the accounts payable supervisor these professionals supervise the work of the accounts payable clerks. The accounts payable supervisor also may be responsible for training new accounts payable clerks. Because of these increased responsibilities, and the additional training that the accounts payable supervisor must have in order to do his or her job effectively, this position will command a higher salary. While the amount of the salary will vary based upon where the position is located, it will always be higher than that of an accounts payable clerk in the same organization.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Accounts Payable Certifications
The International Accounts Payable Professionals (IAPP) offer the only internationally recognized certifications. These certifications include the Certified Accounts Payable Professional (CAPP), which is a designation for managerial accounts payable professionals, such as accounts payable supervisors. This certification is also appropriate for non-managerial professionals who are engaged in more technically complicated roles related to accounts payable, such as business analysts and accounts payable consultants. Generally professionals who have obtained the CAPP designation have at least five years of accounts payable professional experience.
Certified Accounts Payable Associate (CAPA) is the certification available for less experience accounts payable clerks. These professionals are able to perform their accounts payable duties effectively, however they do not have supervisory responsibilities. Typically these accounts payable clerks have less than five years of accounts payable experience.
Both the CAPP and CAPA designations are recognized internationally, and often are a condition for employment of accounts payable professionals. Even if the CAPP or CAPA designtion is not required by employers, an accounts payable candidate who has this designation will have a distinct advantage over other applicants. While both designations list either a bachelors degree or an associates degree amongst their qualifications, additional work experience can be substituted for these.
Accounts Payable Professional Associations
Besides providing the CAPP and CAPA examinations for certification, the IAPP also is the largest professional organization for accounts payable professionals. Accounts payable professionals at all levels of their career benefit from the IAPP’s continuing education offerings. Continuing education is offered to IAPP members both through webcasts that are streamed to IAPP members over the internet, and in person seminars that are offered throughout the world.
The IAPP also serves as a networking resource for accounts payable professionals. This is an especially important benefit of membership. Both accounts payable professionals seeking positions, as well as those accounts payable professionals in supervisory positions, benefit from access to the IAPP’s large and varied membership.
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