Accounts Payable Clerk Interview Questions

If you are interviewing for an accounts payable clerk position, you will likely encounter a variety of interview questions to determine your strengths, knowledge and experience. The interview questions can help the hiring team assess your ability to handle the various aspects of the job.
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Example Interview Questions

In this article, we explore some common accounts payable clerk interview questions and provide sample answers to guide you as you prepare for your own interview.

How would you describe a typical day as an accounts payable clerk?

The interviewer is asking this question to see whether you understand the description of your job. Like the interviewer, you should be able to anticipate challenges and be prepared for them. You can do this by demonstrating your knowledge of the job. If you are looking to advance in the profession, answer by outlining how you would like to see yourself grow into the job.

Example answer: "A typical day for me as an accounts payable clerk goes something like this. I usually arrive in the office and immediately take care of my emails. I reply to any colleagues who have contacted me. I then deal with the paperwork and other financial tasks that have accumulated overnight. I spend the majority of my day completing invoices, managing the accounts payable process and tallying up documents and payments before preparing them for the next day. Occasionally, I will order new supplies or replace old equipment, but that doesn't happen too often."

What is most challenging about working as an accounts payable clerk?

This question is designed to reveal the challenges that come with the job. It may also be a way to gauge your attitude and personality. Employers want to be sure you know what you are getting into and what working as an accounts payable clerk means. You should show your awareness of the challenges and your ability to resolve them.

Example answer: "The most challenging part of this job is managing the different file formats and managing the various numbers systems. It's also important to be on the lookout for fraudulent invoices and missing invoices. I am confident that I can make the necessary adjustments to handle these challenges."

What is your career goal as an accounts payable clerk?

A well-qualified and successful accounts payable clerk will have the ambition to advance in their career. The interviewer wants to see if you have a growth plan. Have a goal that is achievable in about five to seven years. This shows the hiring manager that you are thinking about the future and you have plans for your career.

Example answer: "My goal is to be an accounts payable clerk for this company for a minimum of five years. I want to learn as much as I can about the business, while performing my job well. After five years, I would like to transfer into a management role. I am a great team player and I have excellent organizational skills, so I believe I am a good fit for management. I would love to continue learning and improve my skills with the goal of one day owning the company."

What do you see as the key challenges facing an accounts payable clerk?

It is important that the accounts payable clerk understand those challenges and is able to think of ways to overcome them. In this question, the supervisor is looking for a discussion that demonstrates your critical thinking skills. Use the STAR approach to structure your answer and be sure to use examples to illustrate how you would approach each challenge.

Example answer: "There are three main challenges facing an accounts payable clerk: the first is time management, the second is communication, and the third is accuracy. Time management is the most important issue because if a vendor is not paid on time, then there are penalties that could be incurred. I would address this by creating a schedule that includes the due dates for each payment by vendor. This will allow me to better manage my time. Communicating with vendors is essential because it offers them more security. For example, if a bill is not paid in the designated time frame, it could result in a vendor's ceasing business with us. Having good communications solves this problem. Finally, accuracy is also very important. If invoices are paid incorrectly, then the accounts payable clerk's supervisor has to spend time fixing the mistake. I would make sure that invoices are paid exactly how they were received so they don't have to be changed."

What are the most important qualities required of a good accounts payable clerk?

A good accounts payable clerk must have excellent communication skills, the ability to multitask, and an understanding of corporate financial processes. This question is designed to see if you are familiar with the role, so your answer should reflect this awareness by referencing the qualities that make up a good AP clerk.

Example answer: "Accounts payable clerks need to be organized, detail oriented and have a great attention to detail. They also need to be highly self-motivated and organized, since this is a highly independent role. They need to be able to multitask and prioritize as well. It's also important that they have excellent communication skills and are able to negotiate and maintain relationships with vendors."

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