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Accounts Payable Clerk interview questions and answers

This Accounts Payable Clerk interview profile brings together a snapshot of what to look for in candidates with a balanced sample of suitable interview questions.

accounts payable clerk interview questions

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10 good accounts payable clerk interview questions

  1. What interests you about working in accounts payable at a company like ours?
  2. What training or experience has prepared you for the role of accounts payable clerk?
  3. Describe your familiarity with accounting software. Which ones have you used?
  4. In as much detail as possible, describe the accounts payable process.
  5. What differentiates accounts payable from bills payable?
  6. How would you define a workflow?
  7. From the bank’s point of view, what is debit and credit? What is it from the customer’s point of view?
  8. This position requires a fair amount of data entry. How do you ensure accuracy in your work?
  9. Describe a time you found an invoice discrepancy. How did you resolve it?
  10. What steps would you take to make a payment?

Here are 10 essential interview questions and sample answers to help identify the best candidates for this role.

1. What interests you about working in accounts payable at a company like ours?

This question aims to gauge the candidate’s motivation for the role and their alignment with the company’s culture.

Sample Answer:

“I’m drawn to the dynamic environment here and the opportunity to be part of a team that values accuracy and efficiency. I believe my skills in accounts payable will contribute positively to the company.”

2. What training or experience has prepared you for the role of accounts payable clerk?

This question assesses the candidate’s background and qualifications for the role.

Sample Answer:

“I have a degree in accounting and have worked for three years in a similar role where I was responsible for managing vendor payments, reconciling accounts, and maintaining accurate records.”

3. Describe your familiarity with accounting software. Which ones have you used?

This question evaluates the candidate’s technical skills and experience with accounting software.

Sample Answer:

“I am proficient in QuickBooks and SAP. I’ve used these platforms for invoice processing, payment scheduling, and financial reporting.”

4. In as much detail as possible, describe the accounts payable process.

This question tests the candidate’s understanding of the accounts payable process.

Sample Answer:

“The accounts payable process starts with receiving the invoice and verifying its accuracy. Then, it’s entered into the accounting software, approved by the relevant department, and finally, the payment is processed.”

5. What differentiates accounts payable from bills payable?

This question examines the candidate’s understanding of accounting terminology.

Sample Answer:

“Accounts payable refers to short-term obligations to suppliers, while bills payable are long-term liabilities usually evidenced by a formal instrument like a promissory note.”

6. How would you define a workflow?

This question aims to understand the candidate’s organizational skills.

Sample Answer:

“A workflow is a defined sequence of tasks that outlines the steps for completing a specific process or project.”

7. From the bank’s point of view, what is debit and credit? What is it from the customer’s point of view?

This question tests the candidate’s understanding of basic accounting principles.

Sample Answer:

“From the bank’s perspective, a debit decreases liabilities and increases assets, while a credit does the opposite. From a customer’s point of view, a debit reduces their bank balance, and a credit increases it.”

8. This position requires a fair amount of data entry. How do you ensure accuracy in your work?

This question assesses the candidate’s attention to detail.

Sample Answer:

“I double-check all entries and use features like auto-fill and templates to minimize errors. I also reconcile accounts regularly to catch any discrepancies.”
Describe a time you found an invoice discrepancy. How did you resolve it?

9. This question evaluates problem-solving skills.

Sample Answer:

“I once noticed a mismatch between a received invoice and the purchase order. I immediately contacted the vendor to clarify, and it turned out to be a billing error on their end, which was promptly corrected.”

10. What steps would you take to make a payment?

This question tests the candidate’s understanding of the payment process.

Sample Answer:

“First, I’d verify the invoice and approval, then schedule the payment in the accounting software. I’d ensure funds are available and finally process the payment, recording all details for future reference.”

What does a good accounts payable clerk candidate look like?

A strong candidate for an accounts payable clerk position will have a solid understanding of accounting principles, be detail-oriented, and have excellent organizational skills. They should also be proficient in accounting software and have good communication skills for vendor interactions.



Accounts Payable Clerk Interview Questions

Accounts Payable Clerks are responsible for compiling and maintaining accounts payable records in all types of industries. Common requirements for this role include a BS degree or experience in Finance, Accounting or Business Administration. Technical skills include proficiency with proprietary software and spreadsheets.

In some situations, the type of their experience may prove to be more important than the length of their experience. If knowledge of your industry would contribute to faster onboarding and a deeper understanding of the role, be sure to add questions that pertain to the industry.

The following open-ended and situational interview questions will help you assess their accounts payable experience. The most important thing will be to differentiate theoretical experience from hands-on experience — especially if you don’t consider this to be an entry-level role or don’t have the capacity to train a new hire.

Related: How to attract and hire entry-level employees 

Operational and Situational questions

  • What interests you about working in accounts payable at a company like ours?
  • What training or experience has prepared you for the role of accounts payable clerk?
  • Describe your familiarity with accounting software. Which ones have you used?
  • In as much detail as possible, describe the accounts payable process.
  • What differentiates accounts payable from bills payable?
  • How would you define a workflow?
  • From the bank’s point of view, what is debit and credit? What is it from the customer’s point of view?
  • This position requires a fair amount of data entry. How do you ensure accuracy in your work?
  • Describe a time you found an invoice discrepancy. How did you resolve it?
  • What types of documents do you need to verify an invoice?
  • What steps would you take to make a payment?
  • What does it mean when a vendor has  a debit balance and what would you do in this case?
  • Describe a time you negotiated vendor terms. How did you handle it?
  • Describe a time you suggested a way to lower costs, increase revenue, or improve efficiency.

Frequently asked questions

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