17 Senior Accounts Payable Specialist Interview Questions and Answers

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

The Accounts Payable Specialist is responsible for processing all invoices received for payment and for undertaking the payment of all creditors in an accurate, efficient and timely manner.

You will be expected to interview for this position. The questions asked in an Accounts Payable Specialist interview will focus on your experience, technical skills, and ability to handle difficult situations.

Read on to learn how to answer Accounts Payable Specialist interview questions.

Are you familiar with the laws and regulations that apply to your role as a senior account payable specialist?

Employers ask this question to make sure you understand the laws and regulations that apply to your role. They want to know that you can complete your job duties while also following any applicable laws or regulations. In your answer, explain that you are familiar with these laws and regulations and how they apply to your work. If you have experience working in a regulated industry, share that information as well.

Example: “I am very familiar with the laws and regulations that apply to my role as a senior account payable specialist. I worked for an organization where we had to follow strict compliance guidelines. As such, I learned about all of the relevant laws and regulations that applied to our department. I would be happy to provide references from my previous employer if needed.”

What are some of the most important skills you have that help you excel in your role as a senior account payable specialist?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your skills and abilities as an employee. They want to know what you feel are the most important skills for success in your role, so they can see if you have those skills. When answering this question, think of the skills that help you do your job well. You should also mention any soft skills that may be beneficial to employers.

Example: “I believe my organization and attention to detail are two of the most important skills I possess. As a senior account payable specialist, it’s essential that I pay close attention to all aspects of each invoice I process. This skill helps me ensure that I don’t miss anything when processing invoices. Organization is also very important because I need to make sure I file all documents properly. If I didn’t have these skills, I would not be able to perform my job duties effectively.”

How do you stay organized when dealing with multiple accounts and transactions at once?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you approach your work and manage time. Your answer should show that you have a system for keeping track of multiple tasks, prioritize important information and meet deadlines.

Example: “I use several different software programs to keep track of all my accounts payable transactions. I also use color coding in these programs to separate different types of transactions by client or vendor. This helps me stay organized when entering data into the program and allows me to quickly find specific transactions when needed. I also use email reminders to ensure I’m meeting all deadlines.”

What is your experience with using accounting software?

This question can help the interviewer learn about your experience with using accounting software and how you apply it to your work. Use examples from previous jobs to explain what types of software you’ve used, how often you use them and any specific skills or training you have in using these programs.

Example: “I’ve worked in my current role for five years now, and I’ve been using a variety of different accounting software during that time. At first, I was only familiar with QuickBooks but learned more advanced features as I gained more experience in my role. Now, I’m comfortable using several different accounting software including Intacct, NetSuite and SAP.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to negotiate with a vendor to get a better deal on a product or service.

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your negotiation skills and how you can use them to benefit their company. When answering, it can be helpful to provide an example of a time when you successfully negotiated with a vendor for a better deal on a product or service.

Example: “In my previous role as an accounts payable specialist, I had to negotiate with vendors quite often. One time, I was working with a vendor who offered us a discount on our products if we paid in full within 30 days instead of the usual 60-day payment period. However, I knew that paying in full would put a lot of stress on our budget because we were already behind on payments from other vendors. So, I asked the vendor if they could extend the payment deadline by 10 days. They agreed, which allowed us to pay all of our bills on time while still getting the discount.”

If hired, what would be your approach for ensuring that all of the company’s invoices and payments are properly organized?

This question is an opportunity to show the interviewer that you have a plan for how you would complete your work and ensure it’s accurate. Your answer should include details about how you will organize files, manage deadlines and communicate with other team members.

Example: “I use several different methods of organization when working on accounts payable projects. I prefer to sort invoices by vendor name or company name so that all documents from one business are together. This makes it easier to find specific invoices later if needed. I also like to keep my files organized by due date so that I can easily see which ones need attention first. Finally, I always make sure to save copies of important documents in case they get lost or damaged.”

What would you do if you noticed a payment error on a invoice that was already sent out to the vendor?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you would handle a specific situation in your previous role. Use examples from your experience to explain what steps you would take and why they are important.

Example: “I once noticed that we had accidentally sent out an invoice for $1,000 when it should have been $100. I immediately contacted my manager so she could contact our client about the mistake. We then worked with the vendor to send them a new invoice for the correct amount. This was a great opportunity to show my communication skills as well as my attention to detail.”

How well do you perform under pressure?

Employers ask this question to see how you react to a challenging situation. They want to know that you can stay calm and focused when the workload increases or deadlines approach. In your answer, share an example of a time you faced a challenge at work. Explain what steps you took to overcome it and what the outcome was.

Example: “I have worked in my current role for five years now, so I’ve had plenty of experience with pressure situations. When there’s a lot of work to do and not enough time to get it done, I try to prioritize tasks and focus on getting those done first. If I need help from other team members, I make sure to communicate clearly about what needs to be done and by when. This helps everyone stay organized and ensures we meet all deadlines.”

Do you have any experience working with vendors from outside of the country?

If the company you’re interviewing for has vendors in other countries, an interviewer may ask this question to see if you have experience working with international companies. Use your answer to highlight any specific skills or knowledge that will help you succeed in this role.

Example: “I do have some experience working with foreign vendors. In my current position, I’ve worked with a few Canadian vendors and one vendor from Germany. While it was challenging at first to communicate with them, I learned how to use translation software to make sure we were all on the same page when it came to invoices and payments. Now, I’m comfortable communicating with vendors outside of the country.”

When is it appropriate to request an extension on a payment deadline?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your ability to work with clients and vendors. Use your answer to highlight your communication skills, time management abilities and willingness to collaborate with others.

Example: “I typically request an extension when I know that a client or vendor will be late on their payment but has the funds available. For example, if a client tells me they’ll be late on their invoice because of a cash flow issue, I would reach out to my manager to see if we could extend the deadline until the client pays us. This helps ensure our company doesn’t lose money while still giving the client more time to pay.”

We want to improve our cash flow. What would you do to improve our accounts payable process?

This question is an opportunity to show your knowledge of the accounts payable process and how you can improve a company’s cash flow. When answering this question, consider what steps you would take to ensure that invoices are paid on time and in full.

Example: “I would implement a system where I receive all invoices electronically so they’re easier to track. Then, I’d create a workflow for my team members to approve invoices within 24 hours of receiving them. This will help me identify any issues with late payments sooner rather than later. In addition, I’ll set up automatic payment reminders to make sure we pay our bills on time.”

Describe your experience with working with a team of other accountants and bookkeepers.

Working as a senior AP specialist requires you to work with other professionals, such as accountants and bookkeepers. Employers ask this question to make sure you have experience working in teams and collaborating with others. Use your answer to explain how you’ve worked with other professionals in the past and what made it successful.

Example: “I find that working with a team of professionals is beneficial because we can all contribute different skills and ideas to projects. In my previous role, I was part of a team of five people who were responsible for managing the company’s finances. We each had our own responsibilities, but we also collaborated on larger projects together. For example, when preparing financial reports, we would each review our individual departments before presenting them to the rest of the team.”

What makes you the best candidate for this position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their company. Before your interview, make a list of the skills and experiences that make you an ideal candidate for this role. Focus on highlighting your relevant experience and soft skills.

Example: “I am highly organized and detail-oriented, which makes me a great fit for this position. I have extensive knowledge of accounting software and processes, so I know exactly what it takes to manage accounts payable. My communication skills are also strong, as I can work with my team members to solve problems and answer questions. These skills will help me succeed in this role.”

Which accounting software programs are you most familiar with?

This question can help the interviewer determine your level of experience with accounting software. It’s important to be familiar with the company’s specific accounting software, but it’s also beneficial if you have experience using other programs as well. You should answer honestly and mention any programs that you’re comfortable using even if they aren’t the same as the ones used by the company.

Example: “I’m most experienced with SAP, Oracle and Microsoft Dynamics GP. I’ve worked in my current role for three years, and we use SAP, so I was able to learn quickly. Before this job, I worked at a small business that used Oracle, so I learned how to use that program too. I also had some experience with Microsoft Dynamics GP when I interned at a large corporation during college.”

What do you think is the most important trait for a successful senior account payable specialist?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your work ethic and how you view success. When answering, it can be helpful to think of a specific example from your career that shows the trait in action.

Example: “I believe the most important trait for a senior account payable specialist is attention to detail. In my last role, I was responsible for reviewing invoices before they were sent out to vendors. One time, I noticed an invoice had been entered twice. This mistake would have caused our company to pay the vendor twice for one service. Luckily, I caught the error before sending the invoice. By paying close attention to each invoice, I saved my company thousands of dollars.”

How often do you review invoices?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you prioritize your work and manage deadlines. Your answer should show that you are organized, detail-oriented and able to meet tight deadlines.

Example: “I review invoices at least once a week, but I prefer to do it every day. This allows me to check for any errors or discrepancies as soon as they happen so I can resolve them before the end of the business day. If there is an error on an invoice, I will contact the vendor immediately to get more information about the discrepancy. Then, I’ll correct the invoice and resubmit it for payment.”

There is a discrepancy in the accounts payable ledger. How would you handle it?

This question can help the interviewer assess your problem-solving skills and ability to work independently. Use examples from previous experience where you had to resolve a discrepancy in an accounts payable ledger.

Example: “In my last role, I noticed that there was a discrepancy of $500 between two vendors. After checking with my supervisor, we discovered that one vendor had not been paid for three months while the other vendor had been paid twice. We contacted the vendor who hadn’t been paid yet and they confirmed that they had already received payment. My supervisor and I then checked our records and found out that we had made a mistake when entering the data into the system. We corrected the error and ensured that all future transactions were entered correctly.”


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