Top Accounts Payable Interview Questions and Answers

a picture of business professionals interviewing for a Accounts Payable role and conducting an interview

Here are accounts payable interview questions and sample answers. For someone interested in accounting, an accounts payable clerk position might be a fantastic fit. Your first interview is a crucial step in pursuing this opportunity.

Knowing some of the questions, you'll be asked ahead of time will help you create a strong first impression.

accounts payable interview questions

What is the role of an accounts payable clerk?

As part of their profession, an accounts payable clerk is responsible for various tasks. From receiving invoices to processing invoices, your training would cover all areas of invoice administration.

As an accounts payable clerk, you'll be responsible for verifying and reconciling bills for a firm or organization. As an accounts payable clerk, you may have the following responsibilities:

  • Invoices must get checked for correctness.
  • The invoices get entered into a computer system.
  • Paying business payments on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis.
  • Keeping track of all the vendors a firm works with is essential.
  • Keeping track of what the firm owes its vendors as well as what the vendors owe the company.
  • Monthly financial statements get printed.
  • Microfilming and filing papers to preserve historical records.
  • Accounting for invoices and expenses.
  • Using accounts to charge expenditures.
  • Verifying the statements of vendors.
  • Taking money from a documented entry and distributing it.
  • Documentation verification.
  • Reporting sales taxes on invoices that have gotten paid.

Qualifying accounts payable interview questions

The interviewer may start by asking broad questions about your history, objectives, and experience. Make sure your responses include relevant examples using the STAR (situation, task, action, outcome) approach. Before moving on to more serious matters, the interviewer will ask you these questions to better understand you.

  • Are you prepared to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and submit it to a background investigation?
  • What kind of schooling do you have?
  • What kind of work atmosphere do you prefer?
  • What do you think you could bring to our team?
  • What accounting software do you use regularly?
  • How do you ensure that you're paying accurate bills?
  • How frequent are the accounts payable cycle?
  • What drew you to finance in the first place?

accounts payable interview questions

Questions on soft skills

During an interview, a hiring manager may inquire about specific abilities that will impact how you operate in the workplace, such as:

  • Do you have the ability to multitask?
  • In a fast-paced atmosphere, how do you function?
  • Are you capable of dealing with sensitive material professionally?
  • Are you able to fulfill deadlines regularly?
  • How do you use a report and vendor invoice to verify a purchase order?
  • Are you someone who works well with others?
  • Would you like to move up in the organization to a new position?

Question about accounts payable skills

A hiring manager would want to hear about your practical talents as an accounts payable clerk in addition to your soft skills of how you function in an office atmosphere.

The recruiting manager may ask you the following questions:

  • What's the state of your communication skills?
  • Do you know how to use office software like Microsoft Word and Excel?
  • What work experience do you have in the accounting field?
  • Have you ever worked with money?
  • What type of accounting education did you receive?

Questions on technical matters

A hiring manager will, of course, ask you questions about your employment as an accounts payable clerk. While you won't know the hiring manager's precise questions, there are several websites with sample accounts payable clerk interview questions.

During the interview, you may get asked the following questions:

  • What is an accounting workflow?
  • Could you describe how to invoice a vendor at the end of the month?
  • What is capital, and how does interest on capital become recorded in a ledger?
  • Please explain consolidation to me.
  • Explain your process for verifying invoices before they get paid.

Accounts payable interviews often include these and other job-specific questions.

Accounts payable interview questions and sample answers

Here are some additional interview questions with examples of responses:

  • How well do you prioritize numerous things during the day?
  • What does it mean when a vendor has a debit balance?
  • Our business manages several different accounts. Could you describe your strategy for dealing with ledgers?
  • We have a lot of deadlines to meet. How have you dealt with meeting deadlines in a fast-paced environment?
  • Do you get along well with others?
  • What has been your most outstanding professional achievement, and what has been your worst professional failure? What did you learn from your accomplishments and setbacks, if anything?
  • Why do you want to be an accounts payable clerk for us? What is it about our firm that interests you?

1. How well do you prioritize numerous jobs during the day?

Multitasking is a necessary aspect of effective time management, a valuable ability in this sector. This question allows you to demonstrate your flexibility during the workday by providing instances of times when you fulfilled deadlines for numerous projects simultaneously. Please include any times when you had to manage a hectic schedule or coordinate your schedule with other employees.

Example

"At my former employment, I had to report to three different financial officials regularly." Without jeopardizing the quality of any of my work, I had to keep records, present reports, and schedule meetings with all three of them. I made it a point to have a meticulous personal calendar so that I never missed a meeting or missed a deadline. I was able to finish work on time while maintaining a level head in a chaotic environment because of my schedule."

2. Our firm manages several different accounts. Could you describe your strategy for dealing with ledgers?

Give detailed instances of how you keep track of several accounts accurately. Being a successful accounts payable clerk necessitates accuracy and honesty. Share your commitment to always keeping accurate and reliable records, even when handling multiple books. If you've just managed one account, talk about your experience and how you're looking for more challenges.

Example

"At my first employment, I was in charge of two different customer accounts at an accounting firm. I had to regularly prepare invoices, document transactions, and mail bills for each account. On paper and in my digital calendar, I color-coded all of the associated chores. I also maintained separate filing places and ensured that my material got filed promptly and appropriately. I was able to keep both accounts open for eighteen months without any problems."

3. We're working on a tight schedule. How have you dealt with meeting deadlines in a fast-paced environment?

Interviewers ask this question to learn how you will operate in the unique work environment of this position. Answer this question by giving instances of how you've fulfilled deadlines and the benefits that came as a result, such as enhanced vendor loyalty, greater deliveries, and high customer satisfaction.

Example

"Ever since I graduated from college, I've been meeting deadlines at work." My previous job required me to work in a very fast-paced setting. I worked for many levels of management, each of whom required different outcomes at different times. By defining attainable and useful daily objectives for myself, I managed my time and saved my energy. I prioritized my duties and made sure to leave enough time for each one to get completed. I was able to accomplish projects effectively and on time after I become acclimated to the atmosphere."

4. Do you get along well with others?

Working with other people is essential if you are an account payable clerk because you will frequently be interacting with coworkers and vendors. This question allows you to promote your communication and collaboration skills. Answer that you work well in a team environment and give examples of times you coordinated with a group on a project.

Example

"I am very comfortable working as a part of a team. I have always considered myself a social person, and I aim to use my skills to benefit my team and my entire workplace. In the past, I have had to collaborate with coworkers to meet our deadlines on time. I try to utilize my team members' skills whenever possible, and I am always willing to offer my help if it benefits the team."

5. What is your greatest professional success, and what is your greatest failure? What, if anything, did you learn from your successes and failures?

Hiring managers seek people who are emotionally mature, honest, and able to work on teams but not necessarily perfect. These questions are intimidating but not anything to fear. They are behavioral questions designed to understand if you would fit in with what the company needs as an employee. Answer these questions honestly, even the tough ones about failures or mistakes that have happened in your career.

Example

"My greatest professional success was receiving a promotion at my last job. The promotion was a lesson in what years of hard work and determination can help you achieve. After two years of working as an administrative assistant, I finished my degree and transitioned into the accounts payable role.

My greatest failure was when I lost track of a vendor's records, and they chose to take their business elsewhere as a result. I was embarrassed and disappointed in myself, but my supervisor encouraged me to take the situation as a lesson in the importance of taking my job seriously and completing all my tasks efficiently."

6. Why do you want to work for us as an accounts payable clerk? What do you find interesting about our company?

One of the best things you can do before an interview is to research the company. Learn about the company's specific industry, its history, its place in the economic market, the name of the CEO, and any outreach it has to the community. Know the name, if you can, of the hiring manager or the person who will conduct the interview. Be prepared to show that your skills, education, and experience are relevant to the company and its goals.

Example

"I am looking to work for a company that has a mission statement I can support. I am impressed by this company's commitment to excellence and customer service. My skills and experience would make me a valuable addition to your team. I also think my personality and professional goals would be a good fit for the work environment."

Other subjects you may discuss with the hiring manager include the schedule, potential benefits, and salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2013 average annual salary for accounts payable clerks was approximately $35,700.

Before the interview, research the salary range and employee benefits expected in your area, including living costs. Your seniority matters too in salary talks.

A fresh out of college graduate is less likely to request the same salary as an accounts payable clerk with years of experience.

Preparation is the most critical contributor to a successful job interview. Take the time to practice your answers, familiarize yourself with the position and decide on questions you want to ask the interviewer.

Use the suggestions in this article, along with other resources, to make sure you can handle the interview confidently and competently. The more you prepare, the more likely you will leave a lasting impression on the interviewer.

How do you prepare for an accounts payable interview?

Here are the ways to prepare for an accounts payable interview:

  • Stay calm during the interview.
  • Ask for clarity on questions you understand.
  • Take your time with your responses.
  • Perform mock interviews. Practice in advance.

Preparation Resources

The best job interview preparation resources.

free interview question and answer full guide

Interview Question and Answer Guide (PDF)

Download our full interview preparation guide. Complete with common interview questions and example answers. Free download. No email required.

Download PDF

Related Hiring Resources

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

Fact checked: Our small and dedicated team rigorously evaluates every article, guide, and reference to ensure the information is accurate and factual. Learn more.

Share

Help us by spreading the word