Interview

20 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 you’re looking for an accounts payable (AP) 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, you’ll 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 company’s mission. When answering, think of a specific moment that made you realize you wanted to work in accounts payable.

Example: “I’ve always been interested in accounting, but I didn’t 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?

Employers ask this question to see if you are interested in learning more about the accounting industry. They want to know that you will continue your education and stay up-to-date on new developments in finance. When answering, make sure to mention a few resources you use to learn about the latest news in the field.

Example: “I am always looking for ways to improve my skills as an accountant. I subscribe to several newsletters that provide tips and advice for accountants. I also have a subscription to a financial magazine where I can read articles written by some of the top minds in the accounting world. Another resource I use is online forums where I can connect with other professionals who share their experiences.”

What kind of education do you have?

Employers ask this question to see if you have the education and experience they’re looking for. They may also want to know what kind of career path you’ve taken so far. When answering, be honest about your educational background and how it relates to the job. If you don’t have a degree in accounting, explain any other relevant certifications or training you have.

Example: “I graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. I took several accounting classes throughout my undergraduate program, which helped me get an internship at a local accounting firm during my senior year. After graduating, I worked there as an accounts payable clerk for two years before moving to another company.”

Are you able to multi-task?

Employers ask this question to see if you can handle multiple tasks at once. They want to know that you are organized and able to prioritize your work. In your answer, explain how you stay on top of your work while also managing other responsibilities.

Example: “I am very good at multi-tasking. I have experience working in a busy office environment where there were many things going on at once. I learned early on that it’s important to be organized with my work so I could keep track of what needed to get done when. I find that being organized helps me manage my time better and complete my work more efficiently.”

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

This question can help the interviewer determine your ability to work with others and communicate effectively. Use examples from previous experiences where you had to collaborate with other employees or departments to complete a task or project.

Example: “In my current role, I have two coworkers who assist me in processing invoices for payment. We each take turns reviewing the documents before submitting them for approval. This helps us ensure we’re all looking at the same information when making our decisions about which invoices should be paid. It also allows us to provide feedback to one another if we notice something that needs to be addressed.”

Do you have any experience using accounting software?

This question can help the interviewer determine your comfort level with using accounting software. If you have experience using a specific type of software, share what you like about it and how it helps you complete tasks more efficiently. If you don’t have any experience using accounting software, explain that you are willing to learn new systems if hired for the role.

Example: “I’ve used several different types of accounting software in my previous roles, including QuickBooks Online and Freshbooks. I find both of these programs very helpful when working on accounts payable because they allow me to create reports quickly and easily. In my last role, I also had access to an ERP system, which was great for tracking large amounts of data.”

What do you think is the most challenging part of working in accounts payable?

Employers ask this question to see if you have experience with the challenges of working in accounts payable. They want to know that you can handle a challenging work environment and still be productive. In your answer, explain what you find most challenging about working in accounts payable and how you would overcome it.

Example: “The most challenging part of working in accounts payable is balancing the company’s budget. I understand that budgets are important for keeping track of expenses, but sometimes they make it difficult to pay vendors on time. To solve this problem, I use my accounting skills to help create more flexible budgets that allow me to pay vendors within 30 days while still staying within the company’s overall budget.”

What accounting principles do you use the most often?

This question can help the interviewer determine your level of accounting knowledge and how you apply it to your work. Use examples from your previous experience that show your ability to use accounting principles, such as accuracy, completeness, timeliness, segregation of duties and documentation.

Example: “Accuracy is one of the most important principles in accounting because it ensures all financial records are correct. I always make sure my data entry team members have a strong understanding of accuracy so they enter accurate information into the system. In my last role, I also implemented an automated system for checking transactions against vendor balances to ensure we didn’t overpay or underpay vendors.”

How would you handle sensitive information?

Employers ask this question to make sure you understand the importance of confidentiality. They want to know that you will keep their company’s information private and secure. Use your answer to show that you are trustworthy and have good judgment.

Example: “I am very aware of how important it is to protect confidential information. I would never share any sensitive information with anyone outside of my department, even if they asked for it. If someone needed access to a file, I would only give them what they need to do their job. For example, if an employee was requesting their paycheck, I would provide them with their hours worked and the amount owed. However, I would not include any personal details like their address or social security number.”

Describe a project where you had to improve a process.

Interviewers ask this question to learn more about your problem-solving skills. They want to know how you apply them in the workplace and whether they can expect you to improve processes within their company. In your answer, explain a situation where you had to find ways to streamline or automate a process. Explain what steps you took to make improvements.

Example: “At my previous job, I noticed that we were spending too much time entering data into our system. We would have to enter information from each invoice into multiple systems, which was taking up valuable time. So, I started looking for solutions that could help us with this issue. After some research, I found an accounting software that integrated directly with our current system. This allowed us to save time by eliminating redundant tasks.”

How do you organize your daily tasks?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you approach your work and organize information. Your answer can also reveal whether you have experience using accounting software, which is often used to manage tasks in this role. If you don’t have experience with accounting software, consider describing a system you use for organizing your daily tasks.

Example: “I usually start my day by checking emails and voicemails from my supervisor or coworkers. I then review any outstanding invoices that need to be paid. After that, I enter all of the data into an accounting software program so I can keep track of what needs to be done. I prioritize the most urgent invoices and pay them first before moving on to other tasks.”

Describe your experience with Capital Asset Thresholds.

Capital asset thresholds are a financial accounting term that refers to the amount of money an organization can spend on capital assets before it needs to record them as an expense. This is important because recording expenses correctly helps organizations stay within their budget and maintain accurate records. Interviewers may ask this question to see if you have experience with capital asset thresholds and how you would apply your knowledge in their company. In your answer, try to explain what capital asset thresholds are and describe a time when you applied this concept in your previous role.

Example: “Capital asset thresholds are a way for companies to track the amount they’re spending on capital assets. If a company spends more than $5,000 on a capital asset, they need to record it as an expense. I’ve worked with several clients who needed help managing their capital asset threshold. For example, one client had no idea how much they were spending on office supplies each month. By creating a spreadsheet to track our purchases, we could accurately calculate our monthly expenditures and make sure we stayed within our budget.”

Can you tell me about a time when you had to resolve an invoice dispute?

Interviewers ask this question to see how you handle conflict and resolve issues. They want to know that you can work with others, communicate effectively and solve problems. Use your answer to highlight your problem-solving skills, communication abilities and ability to collaborate with others.

Example: “I once worked for a small company where the accounting department was just me. One day, I received an invoice from a vendor that seemed suspicious. The vendor claimed they had already delivered the product but we hadn’t paid them yet. I called the vendor to discuss the invoice further. After speaking with them, I realized there was no reason to be concerned about the invoice. It turns out, the delivery driver accidentally dropped off the package at another location. We paid the invoice as usual.”

How do you handle repetitive/monotous tasks?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you handle repetitive tasks and whether you would be able to perform accounting duties in their company. Use your answer to highlight your ability to work with repetition, attention to detail and time management skills.

Example: “I enjoy working with numbers and performing repetitive tasks because it helps me stay organized and focused on my work. I find that when I’m doing a task for the first time, I take extra care to ensure accuracy, but once I’ve done it a few times, I know what to expect and can focus more on other aspects of the job like ensuring all documents are filed properly.”

What is your experience level with Excel?

This question is a great way to determine how much experience you have with accounting software. Interviewers ask this question because they want to know if you are familiar with the Excel program and its functions. When answering, be honest about your level of expertise. If you don’t have any experience using Excel, explain that you’re willing to learn.

Example: “I’ve been working in accounts payable for three years now, but I only started using Excel within the last year. While I’m still learning some of the more advanced features, I am comfortable using most of the program’s functions. I find it helpful when entering data into the system since it allows me to keep track of my work.”

What would you do if you didn’t know how to solve a problem?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you approach challenges and solve problems. Use your answer to highlight your problem-solving skills, attention to detail and ability to learn new things quickly.

Example: “If I didn’t know how to solve a problem, I would first try to find someone who could help me. If no one else in my department knew how to solve it either, I would look for resources online or ask other departments if they had any advice. I would also talk with my supervisor about what I was doing so that they could give me more guidance.”

How do you stay calm during stressful situations?

Employers ask this question to make sure you can handle the pressure of working in accounts payable. They want employees who are able to stay calm and focused during busy times, so they can complete their work efficiently. When answering this question, try to emphasize your ability to remain organized and productive under pressure.

Example: “I find that staying calm is one of my greatest strengths when it comes to accounting. I am naturally a very organized person, which helps me keep track of all my tasks. During stressful situations, I take deep breaths and remind myself that I have everything I need to get the job done. This helps me focus on what I’m doing rather than worrying about how much work I still have left.”

How would you go about building rapport with clients?

Employers ask this question to see if you have the interpersonal skills necessary for working in accounts payable. They want someone who can communicate clearly with clients and keep them happy. Use your answer to show that you know how to work well with others. Explain a few steps you would take to build rapport with clients.

Example: “I find it important to be friendly and helpful when communicating with clients. I always try to respond to emails within 24 hours, but I usually reply much sooner than that. When answering questions or concerns, I am clear and concise. I also make sure to thank them for their business and offer any additional help they may need.”

What would you do if a payment was late?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you handle challenges in your work. Use examples from past experience to show that you have a plan for handling unexpected situations and that you’re willing to take initiative when needed.

Example: “If I noticed a payment was late, I would first check with my manager or supervisor to see if they had any additional information about why it wasn’t received on time. If not, I would contact the client to find out more about what happened. In this situation, I would also make sure to follow up with the client after the initial conversation to ensure everything was resolved.”

What strategies do you use to ensure your work is accurate?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your attention to detail and ensure you’re able to perform the job’s responsibilities. Your answer should demonstrate that you have a strong work ethic, are committed to accuracy and can meet deadlines.

Example: “I use several strategies to ensure my work is accurate. First, I always double-check data before entering it into the system. Second, I make sure all documents are signed by authorized personnel. Third, I check with my supervisor if I’m unsure of how to enter data or process payments. Finally, I regularly review my work for errors.”

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