Skills For Accounts Payable Specialists (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 29 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Accounts payable specialists verify bank statements, invoices, tax documents and general ledger entries to maintain the financial records of a company. They also help gather, analyse and interpret financial data of a company to ensure its smooth functioning. If you are interested in pursuing a career in this field, you can benefit from knowing the technical skills and soft skills required for the job role. In this article, we discuss various skills for accounts payable specialists, find out how to develop these skills and look at some ways to highlight them during a job search.

What Are The Skills For Accounts Payable Specialists?

Skills for accounts payable specialists are a combination of hard and soft skills that professionals use on the job or to advance in their careers. They may specialise in a variety of fields, such as finance, banking, auditing and accounting software as part of their bachelor's degree in business, finance, or a relevant subject. Additional certification courses also allow graduates to learn and develop the skills they need for this career.

Related: How To Write Accounts Payable Resume Objective In 5 Steps

Examples Of Accounts Payable Specialist Skills

Here are some examples of hard skills and soft skills for accounts payable specialists:

Data entry

The duties of an accounts payable specialist include performing data entry, which may include invoices, expense reports, ledgers and purchase orders. To input data into a digital database effectively, these professionals require entering data from a range of sources, such as handwritten documents and recorded audio clips. The knowledge of data entry can help them verify the data accurately.

Related: What Are Data Entry Skills? (13 Examples And How To Improve)

Technology skills

These professionals use a wide range of accounting tools to perform their daily duties. They use accounting software to track invoices, make payments, record vendor and employee information, reconcile transactions, and track business performance. Having a good understanding of these tools can help them perform their work efficiently and troubleshoot common computing issues.

Related: Accounts Payable Interview Questions And How To Answer Them

Data analysis and presentation

Accounts payable specialists require gathering, analysing and interpreting financial data of a company and presenting it to the management. Detailed reports and visual diagrams are among the ways to help the management understand complex financial reports. Examples of relevant skills include:

  • Data visualisation

  • Presentation skills

  • Trend analysis

Attention to detail

Inconsistency in data or errors in managing expenses can affect the financial operations of a company. The ability to focus on details allows these professionals to validate the accuracy of data records, keep track of financial transactions, balance the ledgers and verify payroll expense claims. This helps them verify if the cash flow statements are accurate and prepare financial reports to help management make informed decisions.

Related: Format Of A Cash Flow Statement (With Methods And Examples)

Communication

As an accounts payable specialist, you may require presenting financial reports and expense reports to non-technical clients and management. Excellent communication skills enable you to deliver this information effectively and solicit feedback. As a part of larger projects, you may work by collaborating with other accounting and bookkeeping professionals from various departments. Having strong communication skills can help you establish trust among colleagues, improve teamwork and foster a positive work environment.

Related: Communication Skills In Leadership: Importance And Benefits

Time management

These professionals may simultaneously work on managing payrolls of multiple departments and handle payments related to multiple vendors. An effective time management strategy helps them organise their work well and complete tasks on time. By prioritising tasks, creating to-do lists, checking progress and delegating tasks, they can effectively manage their time.

How To Improve Accounts Payable Specialist Skills?

Follow these steps if you want to improve your skills:

1. Set a goal

As professionals advance in their careers, they set career goals for tracking their progress. Some of these goals include completing additional certifications, learning new accounting software and mentoring junior accounts payable specialists. Start by setting a career objective, outlining the steps to follow, identifying the resources you can use and choosing a completion date. For example, if you want to improve your understanding of various accounting tools, you might set a goal of taking software courses and getting hands-on experience.

Related: Career Objective: Definition, How To And Examples

2. Get certified

Most employers expect professionals in this field to be certified in their areas of expertise. Some relevant certification courses are:

  • Certified Accounts Payable Associates (CAPA)

  • Certified Bookkeeper (CB)

  • Certified Accounts Payable Professional (CAPP)

Enhance your credibility by including certifications on your resume.

3. Stay updated

Here are some ways you can stay current with the latest developments:

  • Keeping informed on regulatory requirements and best practices in accounting

  • Staying up-to-date with the latest accounting software releases

  • Attending seminars, live events and workshops

  • Following other professionals and industry experts

Related: What Are Current Liabilities? (And How To Record Them)

4. Focus on your soft skills

Apart from technical proficiency, companies seek candidates who can collaborate well with others and foster a positive work environment. Other soft skills include communication, leadership, problem-solving and teamwork. Here are some ways you can improve them:

  • Practising active learning

  • Pursuing additional courses to improve your communication skills

  • Building positive relationships at the workplace

  • Adapting to workplace changes

  • Emphasising teamwork

  • Asking for feedback and making improvements

Related: Basics Of Accounting - Terminology, Principles And Concepts

Accounts Payable Specialist Skills In The Workplace

The ability to demonstrate your skills at the workplace helps you gain the credibility and trust of your colleagues and managers. Listed below are some ways to present your skills at the workplace:

  • Understand business processes. Having an in-depth knowledge of how a company operates can help you devise strategies to help it grow and succeed. This includes understanding the finances and operations of a company to help identify areas for improvement.

  • Make recommendations. It can be beneficial to suggest innovative ways of improving the current accounting processes, which can reduce costs and resources, minimise human errors and increase operational efficiency. It shows that you are up-to-date with current technology and industry trends.

  • Conduct training sessions. You can conduct sessions to share recent developments in the field, such as new accounting tools or regulatory requirements and best practices in accounting. This shows that you are eager to learn new things and share your knowledge with others in the team.

  • Propose unique solutions. By identifying a unique solution to a problem or an alternative method to accomplish something, you can demonstrate your creative problem-solving skills.

  • Accept challenging projects. A challenging project can help you improve your technical skills, collaborate with people from different domains, propose creative solutions and contribute to an organisation's growth.

Related: 8 Steps Of The Accounting Process (With Key Terms)

How To Highlight Accounts Payable Specialist Skills?

It is essential to highlight your technical skills and soft skills during your application process. Follow the steps below to highlight your skills:

On a resume

You can begin by listing your skills in the professional summary section of your resume. This helps the interviewer gain a better understanding of your professional background and work experience. When describing your work experience, mention how you used your skills to achieve goals in the past. You can include skills such as accounting, financial reporting, invoice reporting, financial analysis and proficiency with accounting software such as Oracle, SAP, and Quickbook.

Position the skills section at the top of your resume so that the employer gets a quick overview of your technical skills and qualifications. Place the skills section after you have added the header and contact details. If you plan on writing a professional summary, you can include the skills section below it. Review the job description to ensure you add skills and include specific keywords that the employer may look for when screening resumes.

In a cover letter

In your cover letter, mention how you used your skills to achieve your objectives in your previous roles. Explain how you plan to achieve similar results for the company for which you are applying. As an example, you can mention how you designed an automated process to monitor payrolls, invoices, account statements and expenditures, which reduced errors by 35%, and manual effort by 60%. Through this, you can clearly demonstrate to potential employers that you understand their mission, challenges and goals, and are eager to contribute to the organisation's growth.

Related: Short Cover Letter Sample (With Helpful Steps And Tips)

During an interview

As part of your job interview, the interviewer may ask you questions related to your past work experience. Mention how you applied your technical skills to solve problems in your previous workplaces. For instance, you can mention your experience in handling the payroll and reimbursements for 10 departments comprising over 250 employees. This helps the interviewer assess if you are a suitable candidate for the job role.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in the article are associated with Indeed.

Explore more articles