17 Accounts Payable Manager Interview Questions and Answers

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

The accounts payable (AP) manager is responsible for the financial health of a company by ensuring that all invoices are paid on time and that all expenses are accounted for. This position is critical to the day-to-day operations of a business, so interviewers will want to make sure they hire the best possible candidate for the job.

To help you stand out from the competition, we’ve put together a list of accounts payable manager interview questions and answers. Review the questions and answers below, and then practice your responses so you’re ready to shine in your interview.

Are you familiar with the different types of invoices that can be issued by suppliers?

The interviewer may ask you a question like this to assess your knowledge of the accounting process and how it relates to AP. Your answer should show that you understand the different types of invoices, their purpose and when they are used.

Example: “There are three main invoice types in accounts payable. The first is an original invoice, which is issued by suppliers at the time of sale. A duplicate invoice is one that’s created when there’s a change to the original invoice, such as a price adjustment or credit note. Finally, a third-party invoice is issued by a company other than the supplier.”

What are some of the most important qualities that an accounts payable manager should possess?

This question is an opportunity to show the interviewer that you possess the skills and abilities necessary for success in this role. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a few of your most important qualities and how they help you succeed as an accounts payable manager.

Example: “Accounts payable managers should have excellent organizational skills, strong attention to detail and the ability to work well under pressure. These are three qualities I possess, which has helped me excel in my previous roles as an accounts payable clerk and senior accountant.”

How would you rate your written communication skills as an accounts payable manager?

This question can help interviewers assess your ability to communicate with others in the workplace. Use examples from past experiences where you had to write a memo, email or other document that helped your team complete an important task.

Example: “I would rate my written communication skills as a five out of five because I have experience writing memos and emails to employees about company policies and procedures. In my last role, I wrote several memos to employees who were late submitting invoices for payment. These memos outlined our policy on tardiness and how it could affect their performance reviews.”

What is your process for managing supplier invoices?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you manage your team and delegate tasks. Use examples from your experience to highlight your leadership skills, communication abilities and organizational skills.

Example: “I have a process for managing supplier invoices that I developed over my career. First, I review all outstanding invoices to ensure they are accurate and complete. Then, I check with my team to see if there are any questions or concerns about the invoice. After this step, I send the invoice to the accounting department to be processed. Finally, I approve the invoice so it can be paid.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to negotiate with a supplier to obtain a better price on goods or services.

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your negotiation skills and ability to save the company money. In your answer, try to highlight how you were able to successfully negotiate a better price for goods or services while still maintaining good relationships with suppliers.

Example: “In my previous role as accounts payable manager, I noticed that we were paying more than other companies in our industry for similar products and services. So, I called up one of our major suppliers to discuss why our prices were higher than theirs. They explained that they had recently raised their prices across all clients, but assured me that they would work on finding ways to reduce costs for us. After some back-and-forth communication, they found a way to lower our monthly bill by 10%.”

If you had to choose one, what is your preferred method of managing accounts payable?

This question is a great way to determine how much experience the candidate has in accounts payable management. It also allows you to see what methods they prefer and why. This can help you understand if their preferred method aligns with your company’s current processes, which may allow for an easier transition.

Example: “I would say my favorite method of managing accounts payable is through the use of software. I find that it helps me stay organized and on top of all payments. However, I have worked in companies where this wasn’t possible due to budget constraints or other factors. In those cases, I found that using spreadsheets was the next best option. I am comfortable working without software as long as there are clear guidelines and expectations.”

What would you do if you noticed a recurring error in one of your employees’ invoicing procedures?

This question can help the interviewer assess your leadership skills and ability to delegate tasks. In your answer, describe how you would communicate with your employee about the error and what steps you would take to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Example: “I would first speak with my employee one-on-one to understand why they were making this mistake. I would then create a training plan for them that includes both formal and informal learning opportunities. For example, I might have them watch a video on invoicing procedures or practice creating invoices in front of me so I can provide feedback. This way, my employees can learn from their mistakes while also receiving constructive criticism.”

How well do you understand the legal aspects of accounts payable management?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your knowledge of compliance and risk management. Your answer should show that you understand the importance of following legal regulations in accounting processes. You can mention a specific law or regulation, and explain how it affects accounts payable management.

Example: “I am very familiar with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act as I have worked in several companies that are publicly traded. The act requires public companies to maintain accurate financial records and implement internal controls to protect against fraud. As an accounts payable manager, I ensure that my team follows all the requirements set by the act when processing invoices. This includes ensuring that we only pay for goods and services that our company has received.”

Do you have experience working with large volumes of data?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have experience with accounting software that processes large amounts of data. Your answer should highlight your ability to work efficiently and accurately under pressure.

Example: “In my previous role, I was responsible for processing thousands of invoices each month. My team and I used a proprietary accounting system that allowed us to process these invoices quickly. We had a set deadline each day to submit our reports to upper management. In this position, I learned how to manage my time effectively while working with others on projects.”

When is it appropriate to authorize a refund?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your decision-making skills and ability to apply company policies. Your answer should include a specific example of when you authorized a refund in the past, along with the reasoning behind your decision.

Example: “In my last role as accounts payable manager, I had to authorize a refund for an employee who was overpaid by $500. The employee noticed the error within two weeks of receiving their paycheck, so we were able to reverse the transaction before they spent any of the money. In our company policy, it states that employees can request a refund if they notice an error within 30 days of receiving their paychecks. Since the employee followed the policy, I approved the refund.”

We want to improve our accounts payable turnaround time. What strategies would you suggest we implement?

This question is an opportunity to show your problem-solving skills and ability to implement change. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific strategy you used in the past that helped improve turnaround time.

Example: “I would suggest implementing a system where employees submit their invoices electronically so they’re easier to track. This will help eliminate any errors or missing documents that may slow down processing. I’ve also found that automating some of the processes within accounts payable can save time and reduce human error.”

Describe your experience working with accounting software.

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your experience with the company’s accounting software. If you have worked with their software before, describe how well you understand it and what features you like most. If you haven’t used their software before, explain which accounting software you’re familiar with and why you prefer it over others.

Example: “I’ve been using QuickBooks for my own business since I started it five years ago. I find that it is easy to use and has all of the features I need to manage my finances effectively. In my previous role as accounts payable clerk, we used Intuit’s Enterprise Resource Planning system, which was also very user-friendly.”

What makes you an ideal candidate for this position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications for the role. They want to know what makes you a good fit for their company and how you can contribute to its success. Before your interview, make a list of all your relevant skills and experiences that relate to the job description. Use these points to highlight why you are an excellent candidate for the position.

Example: “I am passionate about accounting and finance. I have been working in this field for five years now, and I feel like I am ready for a new challenge. I think my experience as an accounts payable specialist would be beneficial to your organization. I also understand the importance of accuracy when it comes to financial records. I am committed to maintaining high standards and ensuring the company’s money is spent wisely.”

Which accounts payable management systems have you used in the past?

This question can help the interviewer understand your experience with different software and systems. It can also show them which ones you prefer to use in your work. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a few of the systems you’ve used before and what you like about each one.

Example: “I have worked with several accounts payable management systems in my career so far. I started out using SAP, but found that it was too complicated for me to learn on my own. I switched over to NetSuite, where I learned how to navigate through the system more easily. I find that NetSuite is easy to use while still being highly functional.”

What do you think is the most important skill for an accounts payable manager to possess?

This question is your opportunity to show the interviewer that you possess all of the skills necessary for this role. You can answer by listing the most important skill and then explaining why it’s so important.

Example: “I think the most important skill an accounts payable manager needs is strong communication skills. This position requires me to work with many different people, including other accountants, vendors and my team members. I would need to be able to clearly explain accounting procedures to these individuals in a way they understand. Communication also helps me collaborate with others on projects and delegate tasks effectively.”

How often should accounts payable transactions be processed?

This question can help the interviewer assess your knowledge of industry standards and practices. Your answer should include a specific time frame, such as daily or weekly, along with an explanation of why you prefer this method.

Example: “I believe that accounts payable transactions should be processed at least once per week to ensure accuracy. Daily processing is also beneficial because it allows me to quickly identify any issues with invoices before they become more complex. For example, if I notice that an invoice has missing information, I can contact the vendor immediately to resolve the issue. This helps prevent late payments and other problems from occurring.”

There is a discrepancy in the amount due from a supplier compared to the amount in the company’s bank account. What is your next step?

This question is an opportunity to show your problem-solving skills and ability to make decisions. You can answer this question by describing the steps you would take to resolve the issue, including how you would communicate with others involved in the process.

Example: “I would first verify that there was no mistake in my calculations. If I found a discrepancy between the amount due from the supplier and the company’s bank account, I would contact the supplier immediately to find out why they sent us more money than we owed them. I would also check our records for any payments made recently to ensure that we did not overpay the supplier. If everything checks out, then I would ask the supplier to return the extra funds.”


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