Topics: Accounts Payable Optimisation, Accounts Payable Process

What Makes a Good Accounts Payable Professional?

Posted on March 17, 2022
Written By Divya Ramaswamy


Even as businesses are rethinking how they approach Accounts Payable (AP), the role of an AP professional remains crucial as no business can function without them. From taking charge of timely payment of bills, maintaining good relationships with the vendors, managing better cash flows, and preventing frauds & thefts, AP professionals tackle critical business processes that take care of your organisation’s payable obligations.

If there’s one thing that the best accounts payable departments all have in common, it is that they all work towards creating a streamlined and efficient process to make payments accurately and on time. To achieve this, it is important to recruit candidates with relevant education alongside the ideal skillset – a combination of technical savvy and soft skills.

Accounts Payable: Everything You Need To Know

Want to know more about Accounts Payable? Check out our ultimate guide and optimize payables for your business.
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So, what type of candidate is a great fit for an Accounts payable role? Below are some of the core skills and qualities that we look for.

  1. Expertise in Specialized Accounting: As the role involves handling financial documents and organising large data sets, it’s good to be an accounting ninja! An in-depth understanding of accounts payable and general accounting procedures, familiarity with general ledgers, financial transactions, expense reports, and various accounting-related documentation are some of the skills we expect. Moreover, hands-on experience in relevant accounting software and proficiency in data entry and management are welcome.
  2. Basic Data-entry & Bookkeeping skills: Competencies pertaining to processing, recording, and tracking data & information are a must-have for an Accounts Payable employee. Good computer skills, alongside fast typing speeds, is equally important. Also, basic bookkeeping knowledge, alongside attention to detail, is crucial for handling financial data accurately. While an expert-level understanding of spreadsheets is vital, basic experience with word processing tools is also essential for record-keeping, generating and writing records.
  3. Analytical skills: The ability to analyse data alongside great attention is a crucial skill that can help interpret records effectively. Strong analytical skills play a crucial role in handling complex financial documents and records for hours at a time. An AP professional with good analytical skills will spot potential disparities when reviewing records which might sometimes help reduce costs or improve a business’s cash flow.
  4. Meticulous Organisational skills: Solid organisational skills are a desired trait that every Accounts Payable professional should acquire. Working with and managing a wide range of clients’ documents needs concentration prioritising responsibilities, and multi-tasking. A successful AP specialist will have a system to keep track of all the portfolios they manage, transactions handled, and deadlines to meet.
  5. Good Communication: As communication is key to collaborating and establishing proper record-keeping procedures, written and verbal communication skills are prized in the Accounts Payable department. Even as you work remotely or on projects independent from the rest of the department, you still need to engage with people. Being a great communicator can enable you to build convey your ideas, drive action, and ensure work gets delivered consistently to deadlines. Also, effective communication allows an AP professional to build rapport and strong vendor relationships.
  6. Attention to detail: Accuracy cannot be compromised while handling financial data, and attention to detail can help AP professionals make their mark in the team. The ability to review and identify inconsistencies in large data sets is crucial in the accounts payable department. As there’s absolutely no room for error in the role of an AP clerk, it takes a very detail-oriented person to get it right.
  7. Adaptability: AP roles might sometimes require numerical coding or building Excel macros as the job involves a lot of numbers crunching. Programming can not only help improve efficiency and productivity but also accuracy. And new programs and accounting software will also keep popping up. Grasping such skills quickly and adapting to the recent trends in the industry can make an AP candidate stand out. Moreover, being open to finding diverse and unexpected solutions can help solve numerous problems and challenges in the AP department.
  8. Confidentiality: The principle of confidentiality is fundamental to AP professionals to ensure that the client’s privacy stays protected. Not only is confidentiality key to building trust, but it can also help protect and secure confidential information and prevent fraudulent activities. A good AP professional should be able to keep sensitive information confidential, possess good judgement, be discreet and understand the importance of secure storage and transfer of confidential data.
  9. Problem-solving: As AP teams can sometimes run into complex and unexpected situations, problem-solving skill is an added advantage. Critical thinking can also help AP professionals solve problems and resolve challenges by identifying trends, patterns, or irregularities in transactions.
  10. Discipline & Commitment: The procure-to-pay cycle can involve a number of complex tasks which are critical to the financial condition of the company. To perform this day in and day out, in a timely manner and without making mistakes, requires discipline, commitment and a strong work ethic.

Building a High-performing Accounts Payable Department

From accelerating your P2P cycle and improving working capital management, to delivering improved user experiences and building better supplier relationships, a high-performing Accounts payable department can help deliver exceptional results.

QX has been delivering accounts payable services for over a decade. Ours is a fantastic talent pool of AP experts with a proven track record of reducing invoice processing time, improving supplier relationships, and achieving cost reduction up to 60%. Get in touch with our experts for personalised advice on how to streamline your business’ AP processes and deliver cost and efficiency gains.

Originally published Mar 17, 2022 01:03:32, updated Jun 07 2022

Topics: Accounts Payable Optimisation, Accounts Payable Process

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