What is an AP Clerk and what do they do?

An AP clerk (sometimes known as a payments analyst) is responsible for ensuring the timely and accurate processing of all incoming and outgoing payments for a company. They assist in creating and processing financial transactions - both manual and electronic (e.g. BACS, CHAPS, direct debits) and are responsible for ensuring that all payment processes are appropriately followed

Payments analysts verify client information, check signatures and manage payment requests. They are responsible for ensuring that client funds are reconciled, allocated and managed appropriately and within regulations. If discrepancies are discovered, they play an important role in investigating and resolving the payment queries

Additional duties include preparing monthly reports for senior management and monitoring transactions for fraudulent activity and liaising with banking providers where required.

Key responsibilities

  • Assisting in processing client financial transactions – Faster Payments, BACS, CHAPS, SEPA, direct debits, card transactions and FX
  • Verifying the authenticity of all payment instructions
  • Verifying inbound and outbound remittances
  • Preparing and analysing daily bank reconciliations within deadlines
  • Producing reports, such as income statements and balance sheets and checking these for accuracy
  • Reviewing exception reports, identifying any trends and resolving problems
  • Monitoring real-time payment/transaction flows, payment/transaction processing and activity
  • Ensuring new and amended contracts are accurate, comply with financial control requirements and can be paid to agreed timescales
  • Reconciling regular payment runs in line with core systems and agreed terms
  • Ensuring timely and appropriate resolution of customer queries
  • Responding to audit findings and implementing recommendations
  • Suggesting and implementing improvements to processes and workflows

Why are they important?

AP clerks and payment analysts are an essential part of an organisation as their work ensures the company’s creditors are paid appropriately. They are also key in ensuring that the organisation has a complete record of its financial payments and other transactions.

Competencies needed for this role

AP clerks and payments analysts must have exceptional attention to detail and accuracy, with strong analytical skills. They must be highly organised with the ability to multi-task and work to tight deadlines, as well as being able to solve problems using their own initiative.

Strategic Professional Options examinations linked to this role

Advanced Financial Management

Advanced Performance Management

Career opportunities presented by this role

Opportunities for accounts payable professionals exist across a variety of industries. It is typically an entry level or administrative role but can act as an effective foundation for a strong career in finance.

Competencies

High level competencies required include:

  • Audit and assurance

    A. Advises on and communicates effectively the role and scope of audit and assurance engagements to relevant stakeholders.

    B. Applies regulatory, legal, professional and ethical standards relating to audit and assurance engagements.

    C. Plans and prepares for audit and assurance engagements.

    D. Performs effective audit, and assurance engagements.

    E. Reviews and reports on the findings of audit and assurance engagements.

    F. Guiding efficient and effective operations.

  • Data, digital and technology

    A. Identifies strategic options to add value, using data and technology.

    B. Analyses and evaluates data using appropriate technologies and tools.

    C. Applies technologies to visualise data clearly and effectively.

    D. Applies scepticism and ethical judgement to the use of data and data technology.

  • Financial management

    A. Links developments in global trade, markets, business practices and the economic environment to required improvements in the financial and risk management of an organisation.

    B. Advises on business asset valuations, capital projects and investments using appropriate analytical qualitative and quantitative techniques.

    C. Identifies, evaluates and advises on alternative sources of business finance and different ways of raising finance.

    D. Communicates and advises on the impact on financial decision making on current developments in regulation, governance and ethics.

    E. Assesses and advises on appropriate strategies to manage business and organisational performance regarding business and finance risk and effectively communicates the impact.

     

  • Management accounting

    A. Applies development and performance management, in the wider business and technological environment, within the context of strategic planning and implementation.

    B. Directs organisational performance through the selection and measurement of financial and non-financial performance indicators.

    C. Collaborates on the key tactical and organisational areas of budgeting and control, capital investments, people and resource management.

    D. Consults on the design and use of current and emerging technology and information systems to improve strategic decision-making and organisational performance.