All businesses have bills to pay. That makes the job of accounts payable a good choice for many students after accounting school. Why is accounts payable a great career starter, and what can you do to boost your chances of landing a great accounts payable job? Here are a few answers to get you on the right track.
What Is Accounts Payable?
Accounts payable, simply put, is the accounting function that's responsible for paying a company's bills and expenses. A/P clerks receive, sort, and process invoices from vendors and enter them into either ledgers or computer systems for payment. An A/P clerk will work with vendor representatives to answer inquiries about payments, research missing invoices, and work with other employees to ensure the correct processing of invoices.
As you move up the ladder in A/P, you may also find yourself scheduling payments, working with the controller or management to meet budgets, balancing A/P related accounts, and preparing end-of-year documentation. Accounts payable is usually a fast-paced job with ongoing responsibilities and a variety of projects throughout the year.
What Training Should You Get?
Accounts payable work begins with education from an accounting school. You need to learn how A/P relates to the other basic functions of accounting and the accounting cycle. You should also learn how to use accounting software platforms, spreadsheets, database programs, and 10-key machines. Since an A/P employee often works with both internal and external customers, you should also develop good communication, writing, and group-work skills.
What Is the Career Trajectory?
Most accounts payable workers start out as an A/P clerk, doing a lot of data entry. If you're going through accounting school, this is a good position to pursue even before you finish your degree. It requires less formal training than some other functions and allows you to get real-life accounting experience.
Once you master the skills of an accounts payable clerk and finish an accounting degree, you may want to pursue higher level A/P positions, such as accounts payable specialist or manager. Because accounts payable touches so many other departments of any company, it naturally leads into other positions like purchasing, general ledger, controller, auditor, and internal accounting manager.
Are you ready to start on your accounting career? Working in accounts payable is a great early step that offers hands-on training in many different areas of accounting. Contact your local accounting school today to learn more.