What are the terms under Accounts Payable

What do Accounts Payable Clerks do?

Companies and banks are obliged to keep records for legal reasons. The work of the bookkeeping is among other things the basis for the determination of the sales tax and the preparation of balance sheets. In addition to balance sheet and accounts receivable accounting (receivables from customers), accounts payable is a traditional area of ​​external accounting.


Suppliers and other service providers from whom a company purchases goods or services are considered creditors. Together with these goods and services, companies receive incoming invoices from suppliers, which have either already been paid for or are to be settled at a later point in time (“purchase on target”). There are many different tasks involved in accounts payable as part of this process. Knowledgeable third parties must always be able to see until when which invoice amounts are owed to which supplier and how the company is financially positioned. In addition, payment deadlines must be observed so that the company can benefit from bonuses, discounts or other credits or discounts.


Incoming invoices from suppliers and service providers are the starting point for the activities of an accounts payable clerk. The incoming invoices must be recorded and posted. The accounts payable clerks are in contact with specialist departments, for example by comparing the goods or services shown on the invoice with the orders from the purchasing or specialist departments. In addition, the incoming invoices must be entered and accounted for in systems. Account assignment is a classic accounting process in which the invoice amounts are posted with posting records to accounts payable and possibly internal cost centers.


However, the processing and payment of incoming invoices are often not standardized. Among other things, unclear or incorrect invoices, special booking regulations (e.g. for foreign suppliers) or the offsetting of credit notes require separate processing processes.


In addition to these tasks, the sorting and scanning of invoices as well as the maintenance of supplier master data belong to the area of ​​responsibility of an accounts payable clerk. In addition, travel expense reports are also part of the accounts payable department in many companies. Annual or monthly financial statements can be particularly labor-intensive. Various balance sheet accounts and accounts payable are compared, checked and closed. The resulting figures provide information about the company's success. In times of credit checks, there must be no mistakes, especially with banks.


Nowadays, all of the tasks and activities mentioned are usually carried out with the help of accounting and ERP software. Most companies use SAP R3 and the associated module FI for this. Accounts payable is also paid electronically, either automatically using an ERP tool or manually using an online banking process. A lot of things happen automatically in accounting today. At the latest, however, when troubleshooting posting differences, an accounts payable clerk needs theoretical accounting knowledge.


Accounts payable clerks don't just work on the computer. The job is extremely communicative. In particular in the context of clarification cases, they are in close contact with purchasing and specialist departments as well as tax advisors and suppliers.


The job of the accounts payable clerk enables fields of application in various industries, since every company has to keep accounts of the supplier liabilities in some form. Most larger companies often have their own accounts payable departments. In addition, there are also external accounting firms that are commissioned by companies with the corresponding tasks.


The area of ​​accounts payable plays an important role in banks. The accounts payable are not so much raw material suppliers as in industry, but for example service providers from the financial, IT, advertising, consulting or auditing environment.