what is an accounts payable clerk?

An accounts payable clerk performs a range of clerical and accounting tasks associated with the accounts payable process. This includes tracking and recording purchase orders, processing payments, and processing and verifying invoices. Day-to-day work also includes paying vendors, issuing stop payments or purchase order amendments, and disbursing petty cash. If you enter this career field, you will also handle sales tax reporting. Although a degree is not required, many accounts payable clerks hold an associate's degree in accounting. The main requirements to excel in this field, however, include strong time management and communication skills and incredible attention to detail.

other daily tasks of an accounts payable clerk

An accounts payable clerk works with existing company accounts as well as incoming and outgoing payments. You must work in compliance with the policies and procedures of the company to perform financial transactions, prepare bills, and issue bank deposits. Not only will you follow the procedures and policies of the company, but you must also do your job in accordance with state or even federal policies and procedures.

playing an important role in many industries

As an accounts payable clerk, you play a vital role in the company as you keep track of incoming and outgoing expenses and organize data in a way that is easily found and tracked. You must reconcile entries to balance books by maintaining accounting ledgers and posting transactions on accounts. You must compare system reports to balances as a small error can lead to bigger problems later on down the road. Accounting errors can lead to financial problems or even issues with the IRS by not reporting the correct earnings and expenses.

view jobs

average salary of an accounts payable clerk

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the accounts payable clerk position is listed under bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks. In this role, you earn an average of £42,410 per year. This breaks down to £20.39 per hour. In some locations, such as Los Angeles, you earn more. You earn less in other areas of the country where the cost of living is lower, such as in Kansas or Alabama.

other factors that affect pay

While the median salary for an accounts payable clerk is over £42,000 a year in the U.S., this is not likely to be your starting salary in an entry-level position with no experience. According to the BLS, the lowest 10% of earners in this position earned just over £27,000 annually. The highest earners receive nearly £64,000 per year. As you gain more experience, you can expect to improve your income. Getting more education and/or certification and training in the accounting field will also help you boost your pay. Another factor to consider is the industry in which you will work. Accounts payable clerks in the finance, insurance, and technical services industries tend to make the most money.


types of accounts payable clerks

Apart from the accounts payable clerk position, there are also accounts payable specialists. An accounts payable specialist has the job of making sure that the bills of a company are paid. Working with those in the accounts payable clerk position, they create reports, record transactions, and track expenses. It is important to note that, depending on your industry, you may have a title that differs from that of accounts payable clerk. Bookkeeping clerk, accounting clerk, and auditing clerk are common titles. You essentially perform the same tasks regardless of your title, however.


working as an accounts payable clerk

If you're looking for a rewarding entry-level position in the accounting field, a job as an accounts payable clerk should be on your list. This career offers a competitive salary and opportunities for advancement. Also, the work environment is indoors and gives you the chance to work with a team of professionals. Moreover, because you will typically spend your days in an office, you will often enjoy a regular "9 to 5" schedule during weekdays. Gaining experience, certification, and training helps you expand your opportunities and make more money in an important field.

When you're applying for a specific job, it is important to understand what that job will entail. Here's a closer look at what your duties and responsibilities, work environment, and work hours will be.

Womale in a black blazer, sitting at her desk.
Womale in a black blazer, sitting at her desk.

education & skills

To become an accounts payable clerk, you must have a high school diploma or have earned an equivalent, such as a GED. You earn more money with an associate's degree in basic accounting, and going on to earn a bachelor's degree opens up higher-paying managerial roles. Some employers prefer that the applicant have experience in the accounts payable area, but you will also find plenty of entry-level positions requiring nothing more than a high school diploma.


If you have no experience in the field, you typically receive on-the-job training as an accounts payable clerk. You work under the guidance of a supervisor or experienced employee to learn various tasks, including double-entry bookkeeping. In some cases, you also participate in classroom training to learn how to use software and company systems. For most entry-level accounts payable clerks, this on-the-job training takes around six months.

available certifications

Earning certain certifications will help you land a good position and further your career in the accounts payable field. Available certifications include the Certified Bookkeeper designation from the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. Earning this requires that you gain work experience, pass an exam, and adhere to a code of ethics. You will also have the opportunity to earn the Certified Public Bookkeeper designation from the National Association of Certified Bookkeepers.

skills & competencies

There are several skills you need to effectively perform your job. Not only do you need organizational skills and the ability to pay attention to details, but you must also have:

  • General math skills
  • Data entry skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Multitasking skills
focused female working in front of computer
focused female working in front of computer


FAQs about working as an accounts payable clerk.

thank you for subscribing to your personalised job alerts.