How to Become an AP Clerk
by Jamie Radford
A career as an accounts payable clerk can be a steady but rewarding one, with options for career progression and advancement. Clerks will usually work within the accounting departments of large organisations or within accounting firms. Their responsibilities include handling customer queries, preparing financial statements, preparing and entering supplier invoices, making payments to suppliers, creditor report maintenance, reconciliation of supplier statements and others such as balance sheet and purchase ledger, using Sage or other accounting software, supplier database maintenance, adding new suppliers to the company system following relevant procedures, preparing payment runs, using Excel spreadsheets and more. Overall, accuracy and attention to detail is extremely important in all tasks the AP clerk will carry out.
To become an AP clerk, not only is it a requirement that you are able to work well as part of a team and be able to handle working in a fast-paced office, but qualifications and skills are important too. Gaining the relevant skills obviously requires hard work and dedication as well as a time commitment which may mean sacrificing personal time whilst in favour of studying. But it also requires knowing whether you are the right type of person for a career as an AP clerk. Here are the most important factors to consider when thinking of taking this career path…
School leaving subjects
Did you graduate school having taken mathematics as a subject? If yes, this will stand you in good stead. Studying to be an AP clerk, and of course working as one, requires a certain level of mathematics ability – this does not mean you need to be an algebra whizz though! It’s only a recommendation and not a necessity.
Complete relevant courses
To become an AP clerk, not only is mathematics as a school subject recommended, but completing suitable courses to gain the required qualifications is something to be considered. Some companies will accept AP clerks with experience but no qualifications, however in order to get a foot in the door, a reputable course completed to a good standard will help you to get an interview and if offered the job, you’ll know what is required of you.
Gain additional skills
Being proficient with MS Excel and Word will be important for any new clerk alongside the main qualifications. Additional skills from attending CPD (continuing professional development) courses will also help your CV to stand out when applying for jobs as an AP clerk. Another option is to consider doing an internship or other work experience to gain some indispensable skills. Many clerks starting out without experience will not have anything besides AP qualifications to add to their CV but having some work experience with the qualifications will go a long way to put you above the rest.
Ability to follow the rules
Most companies will have procedures and guidelines in place that need to be adhered to. You’ll also need to follow generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) during the course of your duties.
Are you determined? Do you have a genuine love of working with numbers? Are you able to focus for long periods of time? Are you able to work on your own without the input from others? Are you reliable? Do you also have the aptitude to work as part of a larger team? Becoming an AP clerk could be perfect for you if you answered yes to these questions.
Do you have a strong work ethic, good communication skills, able to communicate with suppliers over the phone and handle complaints or queries as well as good customer service? And do you have a strong eye for detail? If so, this could be the career for you.
If you are interested in entering the finance arena, want an entry level career with potential for growth and you can tick all the above, then starting out as an AP clerk could be the perfect job to step into the accounts and field.