What does an Accounts Payable Manager do?

Lily Ruha

An accounts payable manager oversees a team of accounts payable clerks and/or bookkeepers. The job description typically includes managing payroll processes, employee reimbursements, and vendor payments. Duties generally include overseeing the utilization of financial software applications and transitions to new systems. Although many employers prefer the minimum of a bachelor’s degree in accounting or business, the minimum requirement is typically a high school diploma and several years of on-the-job experience. These managers work in a wide range of industries in both the public and private sectors.

Accounts payable managers oversee payroll processes and other financial tasks.
Accounts payable managers oversee payroll processes and other financial tasks.

In almost all cases, the job description of an accounts payable manager includes oversight of payroll processes and vendor payments. Large companies generally have a separate department that is fully staffed with accounting clerks and bookkeepers devoted to processing payroll and issuing payments to vendors. This person generally oversees these employees and also plays a large role in the event of internal or external audits. A large part of this manager’s duties is to step in to resolve issues, for example, in the case of a missing payroll check or a delayed vendor payment.

Requirements for working as an accounts payable manager usually involve a combination of educational accomplishments, accounting skills, and work experience. Many companies prefer applicants with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in accounting or business, but will sometimes accept a high school diploma or associate’s degree and relevant experience. An aspiring manager without a degree can work his way up by starting as an accounting clerk or bookkeeper, and gaining experience across a number of years. In almost all cases, knowledge of specific financial software is necessary and is generally gained on the job. These managers must also have knowledge of laws related to payroll and sales tax.

Accounts payable manager jobs may be found across many industries. Government offices hire these managers at both the local and state levels. Private companies, whether large or small, need managers to oversee their accounts payable processes. Educational centers, health care organizations, and non-profit centers are among the long list of employers of accounts payable managers.

Working as an accounts payable manager requires distinct characteristics. Managers have access to payroll information and must keep this information confidential. In addition to trustworthiness, they must be detail oriented to identify discrepancies when reconciling accounts. These managers also generally oversee employees, so they must have solid interpersonal skills, good communication skills, as well as an ability to resolve conflicts and address complaints.

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