An accounts payable and receivable clerk is someone who works for a company’s financial department. Accounts payable clerks pay a company’s bills, while those in the receivable department collect on accounts. Occasionally, clerks are responsible for both tasks. Either way, accounts payable and receivable clerks are among the most important employees in the business, as they play major roles in keeping the cash flowing.
Accounts payable and receivable clerks work for a variety of businesses, from banks to government agencies to hospitals to hotels. Many use computer software to help keep track of payments that need to be made or collected, or which clients need to be billed and how often. Clerks working in accounts payable double-check invoices and make sure the product their company is paying for has been received and is in good order. Those in accounts receivable send bills and past-due notices and contact clients to work out payment strategies.
Accounts payable and receivable clerks need to possess strong math and communications skills, as their jobs focus on numbers and relaying financial data to supervisors, vendors and clients. They must be highly organized, professional, analytical and adept problem-solvers. They also will need to have basic computer skills, as well as better-than-solid knowledge of related accounting software. Mostly, accounts payable and receivable clerks should have a positive attitude, sound work ethic and an ability to follow instructions.
Many accounts payable and receivable clerks need a at least an associate degree, with an emphasis on courses in accounting, finances, mathematics, economics, business and administration. Others need a bachelor’s degree, while some can get a job with solely a high school diploma and perhaps a bookkeeping certificate. Basically, the level of education required varies by each company and industry.
Jobs for accounts payable and receivable clerks are likely to be solid for at least the next decade. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for accounting clerks is expected to grow by 10 percent from 2008 to 2018, or about as fast as average for all occupations. More than 2 million workers were employed as accounting clerks in May 2008, according to the BLS.
Accounts payable and receivable clerks can make a decent living depending on their skill, experience and industry. According to PayScale.com, accounts payable clerks earned between $26,000 and nearly $36,000 per year in April 2010. During that same month, accounts receivable clerks earned from $30,000 to more than $40,000 per year, PayScale.com reported.