What is accounts receivable and what does an accounts receivable clerk do?

Companies extend credit to potential clients in order to facilitate the sales of their products or services. Accounts receivable clerks specialise in accurately processing and recording financial transactions that generate revenue for their company, as well as monitoring income payments. They are also required to follow up with clients on overdue invoices and bills

The role is similar to that of a credit controller and the two job titles are often used interchangeably. Typically, however, a credit controller will be focused and targeted on ensuring that cash is received for outstanding invoices that are due, while accounts receivable clerks will be responsible for raising these invoices and maintaining the receivables ledger. Both roles can have responsibility for evaluating new credit requests and advising on credit limits.

Key responsibilities

Responsibilities will vary, but examples include:

  • Preparing bills and invoices for clients who have purchased products or services
  • Processing accounts and incoming payments in compliance with financial policies and procedures
  • Performing day to day financial transactions, including verifying, posting and recording accounts receivables’ data
  • Reconciling the accounts receivable ledger to ensure that all payments are accounted for and properly posted
  • Reviewing the accounts receivable ledger regularly to pinpoint discrepancies and correct them
  • Verifying and resolving clients’ billing issues
  • Facilitating payment of invoices due by sending bill reminders and contacting clients
  • Producing financial statements and reports detailing accounts receivable status

Why are they important?

Senior management rely on accounts receivable clerks to accurately process and monitor a company’s incoming payments and ensure that the company is being properly paid for products or services received.

Accounts receivable clerks also manage receipts and invoices to ensure all revenue is accounted for within the general ledger.

Skills needed for this role

Accounts receivable clerks must be highly organised and numerate with excellent attention to detail.

Strategic Professional Options examinations linked to this role

Advanced Financial Management

Career opportunities presented by this role

Accounts receivable clerks work in any company that is large enough to hire specialised staff to closely monitoring its income, and opportunities are available in virtually any industry. Accounts receivable clerks often gain the experience required to progress to roles such as accountants, auditors, and financial managers.

Competencies

High level competencies required include:

  • Corporate and business reporting

    A. Prepares financial statements, corporate financial and integrated reports for external stakeholders using appropriate technology.

    B. Leads effective decision making through analysing, evaluating and communicating performance and position of entities.

    C. Prepares financial statements for groups of entities using appropriate technologies.

    D. Monitors, critically evaluates, and advises on the relevant accounting standards, regulations, conceptual and financial reporting frameworks.

     

  • 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.

     

     

  • Governance, risk and control

    A. Evaluates organisational structures and governance to protect the long-term interests of stakeholders.

    B. Recommends appropriate strategies to ensure adherence to governance structures and application of best practice internal controls.

    C. Identifies and manages risk appropriately.

    D. Uses risk management for the best interests of an organisation and its stakeholders.

    E. Monitors and applies relevant legislation, policies and procedures.

  • Stakeholder relationship management

    A. Positively develops relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

    B. Communicates and gains commitment from internal and external stakeholder.

    C. Uses emerging technologies to collaborate and communicate effectively with stakeholders.

    D. Applies professional and ethical judgement when engaging with stakeholders.

    E. Aligns organisational strategic objectives with stakeholder needs and manages expectations.