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Questions To Ask In An Interview For Accounts Payable Position

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The Real Purpose Behind Unusual Questions

ACCOUNTING/ACCOUNTS PAYABLE Interview Questions & Answers

Now take your interviewing skills to the next level by practicing replies to a few unusual questions. In a Robert Half survey, executives were asked to share the strangest questions they’d ever been asked during an interview. Here are just a few they cited:

  • “What would I find in your refrigerator?”
  • “What’s the last book you read?”
  • “What animal are you most like?”

Why don’t hiring managers just stick to standard questions when interviewing an accounts payable clerk? Because your answers to oddball questions may shed light on your personality, problem-solving skills and performance under pressure in ways that standard questions do not.

Top Accounts Payable Interview Questions

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed’s data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

An interview for an accounts payable position tests your ability to perform key functions when working with employees in the accounting department. Understanding the different questions an employer can ask helps you prepare and answer them effectively. In this article, we will review accounts payable interview questions to gauge your experience as well as tips to help you succeed during this interview.

Related: Top 6 Common Interview Questions and Answers

Jenn, an Indeed Career Coach, breaks down the intentions behind employer’s questions and shares strategies for crafting strong responses.

Read more:

What Accounting Software Are You Familiar With

Say how long you have been working with the software. You can even say why you prefer it to other, competing software packages available on the market.

You can also add that you are a quick learner, and that user interface is somehow similar with each accounting software, and that you are sure you will quickly learn to work with the program they use in their work. Show them that you are not afraid of the challenge, and will do what you can to master your job quickly.

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List Of Commonly Asked Accounting Interview Questions:

#1 Walk me through the three financial statements.

The balance sheet shows a companys assets, liabilities, and shareholders equity. The income statement outlines the companys revenues and expenses. The cash flow statement shows the cash flows from operating, investing, and financing activities.

#2 If I had only one statement and wanted to review the overall health of a company, which statement would I use and why?

Cash is king. The cash flow statement gives a true picture of how much cash the company is generating. That being said, its important to note that all three statements truly are required to get a full picture of the health of a company. Learn more about how the three financial statements are linked.

#3 What happens on the income statement if inventory goes up by $10?

Nothing. This is a trick question. The only impact will be on the balance sheet and cash flow statement.

#4 What is working capital?

Working capital is typically defined as current assets less current liabilities. In banking, working capital is normally defined more narrowly as current assets less current liabilities .

#5 What does having negative working capital mean?

#6 If cash collected from customers is not yet recorded as revenue, what happens to it?

It usually goes into Deferred Revenue on the balance sheet as a liability if the revenue has not been earned yet.

#7 Whats the difference between deferred revenue and accounts receivable?

#9 Under what circumstances does goodwill increase?

Can You Describe A Mistake In Your Accounting Operations That Significantly Affected A Client How Did You Resolve That Issue

Questions To Ask For An Accounts Payable Interview

This question aims to assess your problem-solving, working under pressure and decision-making abilities. Employers can ask you this question to determine how well you can cope with challenging situations at work and how quickly can you develop alternate solutions to achieve the organisational objectives. When answering this question, consider sharing an experience that significantly affected your client and how you overcame that situation to meet their needs.

Example:”One of the mistakes I made in my accounting career was not outsourcing work enough. In my recent experience at a large accounting firm, my primary responsibilities included managing client accounts, tracking our company’s finances and developing strategies to reduce our overall company cost. About a year back, I was working on a project that contained our client’s tax information systemically, all in one place. To develop this structure, I could have benefited from some help from my colleagues since I was not well-versed in customer relationship management or CRM software.

I developed it using my understanding and did not feel comfortable outsourcing work or seeking help from an experienced mentor. Later, one of my bosses was kind enough to review my document and even offered to help me refine it. After this incident, I understood that asking for help or guidance is okay and can help enhance the quality of your project. I reach out to my mentors more actively now.”

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What Does An Accounts Payable Clerk Do

An accounts payable clerk has many duties as a part of their job. Your role as an accounts payable clerk is to verify and reconcile invoices for a company or organization. Your training would concern all aspects of invoice management from first receiving the invoices to processing the invoices. Some responsibilities you may have as an accounts payable clerk are:

  • Verifying the accuracy of invoices

  • Inputting the invoices into a computer system

  • Paying company bills monthly, weekly or daily

  • Maintaining a list of all the vendors a company uses for business

  • Keeping record of what the company owes to the vendors and what vendors owe to the company

  • Printing monthly financial statements

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What Do You Understand By Ifa

The term IFA stands for Institute of Financial Accountants. It is a professional accountancy body that represents and provides certification for financial accountants in the United Kingdom. The IFA is a full member of the International Federation of Accountants. It was founded in 1916 with the motto of making small businesses count.

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Best Interview Questions For Ap Specialists

While theyre expected to demonstrate financial expertise and skills as standard accounts payable clerks, accounts payable specialists focushence specialistin making sure an organizations bills get paid correctly, completely, and on or before the due date. In this capacity, they must also engage in more direct vendor relationship management than standard AP clerks, as they will deal directly with suppliers in the course of everyday business as well as when resolving discrepancies.

The educational requirements for AP specialists are often more restrictive than for basic bookkeepers candidates may be expected to hold a two-year degree at a minimum, and preference will likely be given to those with more advanced education or considerable direct experience in the role of AP specialist. In addition, these candidates should have strong familiarity and extensive experience with standard accounting software as well as industry-specific tools.

In fact, because todays AP specialists tend to operate almost exclusively in digital environments rather than with manual workflows and paper-based processes, candidates should have a much more robust understanding of, and experience with, emerging digital technologies and tools.

When interviewing candidates for specialist roles, consider these questions as well:

  • Please describe your approach to task management.
  • Answers Should Demonstrate:

    Answers Should Demonstrate:

    Answers Should Demonstrate:

    Accounts Payable Interview Questions About Experience And Background

    Ultimate Guide to Accounts Payable Interview Questions and Answers

    Here is a list of accounts payable interview questions about experience and background:

    • What strategies do you use to track the status of accounts?

    • What do you do if a vendor underbills us on an invoice?

    • Discuss your experience with creating spreadsheets and financial reports.

    • Describe your ability to work with bookkeeping software.

    • Please tell us about a situation where you faced a technical difficulty while working on a task.

    • When did you face a problem when working with a client?

    • Have you worked on a delinquent account before?

    • Do you prioritize accuracy or efficiency when working in this role? Explain why you made this choice.

    • Name the documents you need to verify a vendor’s invoice.

    • Discuss how you’d maintain the accuracy of financial records in this role.

    Read more:Learn About Being an Accounts Payable Specialist

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    Accounts Payable Interview Questions And Answers

    Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from an accounts payable professional, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

    If youre looking for an accounts payable job, you can expect to field questions about your experience working with invoices and payments, as well as your knowledge of bookkeeping and accounting principles. In this guide, youll find tips for answering common interview questions that are specific to the accounts payable role.

    What made you want to work in accounts payable?

    Employers ask this question to learn more about your interest in the role. They want to know what inspired you to pursue a career in accounts payable and how it aligns with their companys mission. When answering, think of a specific moment that made you realize you wanted to work in accounts payable.

    Example:Ive always been interested in accounting, but I didnt know there was an opportunity for me until my senior year of college. My professor gave us an assignment where we had to create our own business and keep track of its finances. I chose to start a small bakery, and I loved every part of the process. After that class, I knew I wanted to work in accounts payable.

    How do you keep up with the latest news in finance?

    What kind of education do you have?

    Are you able to multi-task?

    Tell me about a time you had to collaborate with others.

    Do you have any experience using accounting software?

    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.


    “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.”

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    Please Describe A Time When You Couldnt Resolve A Discrepancy In An Account Or Ran Into A Technical Roadblock

    No matter how much skill or practice applicants have, there will always be occasions when they have to learn something new. In addition to providing insight into their past accounting experience and technical abilities, this question reveals how they deal with challenges and frustration. An candidates answer here reveals how much they rely on others to come up with a solution.

    What to look for in an answer:

    • Level of technical proficiency
    • Critical thinking and problem solving
    • A routine that includes double checking


    I had to format a report in a way our accounting software didnt allow. I exported it to another program and made changes there.

    Our Firm Manages Several Different Accounts Could You Describe Your Strategy For Dealing With Ledgers

    Account Payable Interview Questions And Answers

    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.


    “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.”

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    When Does Goodwill Increase

    While goodwill is an intangible financial asset, it is a key part of your business and your candidate must understand how subsidiary purchases can greatly add to a company’s assets.

    Asking very specific accounting interview questions like this forces the candidate to lay their knowledge on the table.

    Other Questions You May Face In Your Accounts Payable Clerk Interview

    • Describe a conflict you had with one of your colleagues in your last job . How did you resolve the conflict?
    • Tell us about a time when you had to meet a tight deadline.
    • What steps would you take before issuing a payment to vendor?
    • Your superior scolds you for working slowly, comparing you to your colleagues in an accounting department, who, according to his words, work faster. What will be your reaction?
    • How do you ensure that you make no mistakes in your work?
    • Describe a time when you struggled to communicate something to your boss, colleague, or to a customer. How did you manage to get your message over?
    • Describe a time when you faced a tough situation in your personal life. How did that affect you in your job?
    • Describe the most difficult decision youve ever made.
    • Tell us about a time when you were overwhelmed with work.

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    Account Payable Interview Questions & Answers

  • What do you mean by Account Payable?
  • Accounts payable is nil but money which a company needs to give to vendors for goods and services purchased on credit. Accounts payable is an existing liability of a company.

  • Tell me the steps you will take before approving an invoice for payment?
  • Some of the following steps are:

    • Validate the statement once it is coordinated for checking any holds.
    • If the workflow is implemented, begin approval for the invoice. Once the invoice is approved, you can go for payments.
    • Create accounting after the endorsement of the invoice.

    WCC refers to Winter Compensation from Contributions.

  • Define Intercompany Settlement?
  • A key useful area of SAP for Utilities that ropes cross-company switch of settlement data based on global standards such as EDI, XML, and Microsoft Excel. Intercompany data exchange manages data to move between distributors, retailers, and autonomous service operators with particular regard to the requirements in deregulated markets.

  • What do you mean by Liabilities?
  • Liabilities are what all you are obliged from the bank on notes payable or in another language it is: Liability=Asset-Owners equity.

  • Tell the steps to define a Supplier?
  • The steps are:

    • Services to be done according to the requirement of the client.
    • He should be located another order by doing the over three steps.
  • What do you mean by Parked Report?
  • You can use text parking to enter and store unfinished documents in the SAP System without moving out extensive entry checks.

    This Job Requires A Fair Amount Of Data Entry And It Can Become Boring How Do You Plan To Motivate Yourself In Work

    Interview Questions for Accounts Payable

    You have a few good options here. First one is saying that you have your goals, know what you want to achieve in both personal and professional life, and understand that this step is necessary on your journey.

    The awareness of your goals and the bigger picture you carry in your mind will help you to stay motivated.

    Second option is saying that you actually prefer routine work, that you arent the most creative fellow out there, and exactly thats why you opted for a job with a big corporation .

    Third alternative is saying that you do not consider the job repetitive, or boringthere are always some new vendors, you have to communicate with other people in the team, and problems arise on daily basis, different issues you have to address

    * Do not forget to check also: Guide on how to overcome interview nerves Do not let anxiety to kill your chances in accounts payable clerk interview.

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    What Does Accounts Payable Mean

    Accounts payable refers to an amount a business owes its suppliers or vendors for their services or goods. The amount is usually outstanding, meaning that the services or goods have not been paid for yet. The total of the outstanding payments owed to vendors will appear on the companys balance sheet.

    If the accounts payable amount increases or decreases, the cash flow statement will show these changes in the total.

    What Are Your Salary Expectations

    Many consider this question to be a loaded gun dangerous in the hands of the inexperienced. Often times, an interviewee will start talking salary before theyve had an opportunity to illustrate their skill set and value making any sort of leverage valueless. Here, knowledge is power, as salary often comes down to negotiation. Do some research into your industry to establish base rates of pay based on seniority and demand but keep in mind your employer is hiring you for what they believe you are worth, and how much benefit they feel you will provide.

    One relatively safe approach is simply asking the interviewer about the salary range. If you wish to avoid the question entirely, respond by saying that money isnt a key factor and your primary goal is to advance in your career.

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    What Do You Understand By Account Payable Explain It With An Example

    Accounts payable or AP is an amount that a company needs to give to vendors for goods and services purchased on credit. It has to be paid off to its creditors or suppliers within a period. Accounts payable is a type of existing liability of a company.

    In other words, we can say that accounts payable is due money which the company has to pay to the vendors or suppliers for goods or services received that have not yet been paid for. Accounts Payable is considered as a liability and comes under the head ‘current liabilities’. It is a short-term debt payment that needs to be paid to avoid default.

    For example, suppose a restaurant orders food and beverage from a company on credit to owe money to the company. These items are part of the inventory and are considered trade payables. On the other hand, the restaurant’s obligations to other companies, such as the company cleaning the restaurant’s staff uniforms, are considered accounts payable. Generally, both categories fall under the broader accounts payable category, and many companies combine both under the term accounts payable.

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