Since a company’s ability to obtain goods and services is only as good as its ability to pay for those goods and services, the employee in charge of executing the prompt and accurate payment of vendors is critical. The daily duties of an Accounts Payable Clerk may seem mundane to the non-initiated, but without these contributions, a company would quickly grind to a halt.
The first order of business for an Accounts Payable Clerk upon receiving an invoice is to internally verify that the item(s) being billed were indeed purchased and obtained by the company, and that the amount in question is accurate. They must also confirm any tax, duties, and other residual calculations. Once an invoice has been verified and confirmed, it is then typically entered into a master database by the clerk, for archiving and payment purposes. The system used for this may be something as simple as Quicken software or, for larger companies, an enterprise solution of much greater complexity. Nevertheless, the goal is essentially the same: to register the amount due and trigger the cutting of a payment check.
Online versus In-house
In 2010, American Express began making a concerted promotional effort to publicize the convenience for small businesses of accepting and processing online payments through the use of an Open business account. Although more and more companies are paying vendors through services such as Open and Paypal, there tends to be more resistance to the online accounts payable methodology at larger corporations. Bigger companies prefer to keep centralized track of all accounts payable, and will tend to make the move to online rather than checks only when a large industry threshold for such payments has been crossed.
Other duties performed by an Accounts Payable Clerk may also include the processing of employee salaries and benefits as well as management of product inventory.