How Do I Become an Accounts Payable Manager?

Alex Newth
Alex Newth
Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

When a business purchases items or services, it contacts a vendor to supply the product and the vendor requests payment for any products or services rendered. This is when the accounts payable manager for the business steps in, schedules payment and ensures that all vendors are paid on time so the business never has strained relations with its vendors. To become an accounts payable manager, both experience and education are needed, and the manager should have skills that the general accounts payable employee does not have. Along with supervising and going through invoices and checks, the accounts payable manager should have superior computer skills and be able to use a variety of accounting programs.

To become an accounts payable manager, a four-year degree or higher is required. The degree likely should be in accounting or financing, though some companies may approve of a business management degree. If armed with a business management degree, the applicant should have had many classes focusing on accounting and how to run the money side of a business, along with supervisory classes. A degree is needed just to become an accounts payable employee; becoming a manager also requires experience.

Many skills that the regular employee lacks will be expected of the applicant who wants to become an accounts payable manager. The manager should be capable of supervising other accounts payable employees, managing the tasks of going through and reconciling invoices and checks without being directly told to do so, and having a grasp of all the functions that the accounts payable department handles on a daily basis. This means accounts payable mangers typically are expected to have five years of experience; having supervisory power during those five years also may be required. While some companies may require as little as three years of accounting experience, this is rare.

The accounts payable manager is expected to know all accounting terms, how to handle vendor relations, and how to prepare tax statements and reconcile invoices. This plays partially into experience but also into the acumen of the particular manager. If the accounts payable employee who wants to become an accounts payable manager does not have a full grasp of accounting terms and procedures, it is recommended that he or she get additional training and experience before pursuing an accounts payable managerial role.

The manager oversees aspects of the accounting department, so he or she is expected to be detail-oriented and responsible. To become an accounts payable manager, the applicant should have these traits and be able to work without direct supervision. He or she also should be able to work on computer-based accounting programs and adapt to new programs, because most businesses have a large number of accounts that cannot be tracked by just using paper.

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