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Balance Your Career – 5 Steps to Becoming an Accounts Payable Specialist

steps to becoming an accounts payable specialist end with you making a living wage, feeling respected, and with a sense of accomplishment.

Thinking about a career as an account payable specialist? Here is what you need to know. 


Your day would be spent verifying and recording invoices, processing payments, and reconciling all applicable accounts. 

Your responsibilities would include: 

  • Receiving all company invoices, checking for accuracy, and charging payments to the correct account.
  • Ensuring all invoices are paid in full on time. Verifying with the vendor that an accurate payment was received. 
  • Comparing reports with account balances to verify accuracy. 
  • Reviewing monthly bank statements and compare against GL and other records. 
  • Resolving any accounting issues as they arise with efficiency and accuracy. 
  • Maintaining the petty cash spending. 
  • Monitoring and overseeing payroll balances and distribution. 
  • Preparing all needed financial reports. 
  • Preparing all reports and accounts for auditors. 

Requirements and Skills 

  • Technical Computer Skills – Accounts Payable Specialists use computer systems such as Microsoft, QuickBooks, NetSuite, Soho Books, etc. to process invoices and monitor payments. It is important to have efficient typing skills and the ability to confidently navigate common accounting systems. 
  • Knowledge of Industry Standards and Regulations – An accounts payable specialist must have a deep understanding of industry standards, regulations, and protocols to ensure the requirements are met.  
  • Detail Oriented – It is crucial for accounts payable specialists to pay close attention to detail in order to correctly process invoices and identify any spending discrepancies. 
  • Organization – Accounts payable specialists are in charge of keeping financial documents, such as invoices and payments, in order. Therefore, organization is key to quickly and effectively responding to any issue that may arise.   
  • Communication – An account payable specialist will spend some time interacting with suppliers, managers, and other financial teams. Clear communication is crucial to effectively convey information, answer questions, or respond to issues. 

6 Key Skills to Focus On to be a Qualified Candidate

  1. Knowledge of double-entry bookkeeping
  2. Proficiency in a few different accounting software (e.g. Quickbook, MS Excel, SAP, or Oracle)
  3. Good verbal and written communication skills
  4. Strong attention to detail
  5. Excellent organizational skills
  6. Strong mathematical aptitude.


Accounts payable specialists typically work 40 hours a week Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Depending on the time of year, they may also work in the evenings or on the weekends to meet deadlines. 


The average salary for accounts payable specialists is $44,153 per year or approximately $21 an hour. This will depend on your location, level of expertise, and years of experience. As a result, it can range anywhere from $25,500 to $59,500 with most people making around $37,500 to $50,000. 

Work Environment 

As an accounts payable specialist, you will spend most of your time working independently in your office. There may be times when they will need to interact with other company departments to examine and interpret relevant financial data. 

Steps to becoming an Accounts Payable Specialist:  

  1. Education. – Earn at least a high school diploma or GED certification. Additionally, consider pursuing a degree in accounting or a related field.  
  1. Gain Work Experience. – Although experience may not be required for all accounts payable specialist positions, starting out in an entry-level position will help you gain a competitive edge and advance your career. 
  1. Consider Certification – Specific certificates may also help differentiate you from other potential employees. Once you have gained experience consider certification programs such as Certified Accounts Payable Associate (CAPA) and Certified Account Payable Professional (CAPP). 
  1. Apply – Find companies who are seeking an accounts payable specialist. Be sure to read the job description carefully to see if you are interested and meet the requirements. 
  1. Interview – Once you have applied and earned an interview, spend some time preparing. Most interviewers will ask questions to assess your technical knowledge, problem-solving abilities, and personality traits. 

Sources: BLS.gov | careeronestop.org | Millennium Search LLC’s Job Market Research Department

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