Why this matters:

Accounts payable specialists need to be extremely organized in order to keep track of important financial records and documents. The candidate should demonstrate their ability to prioritize tasks, streamline workflows, and pay attention to detail. They should be able to explain their strategies to keep their workspace and work life in order, while staying on top of their accounts and tasks.

What to listen for:

  • Effective strategies to stay organized, including prioritizing tasks, managing time, and maintaining their daily responsibilities 
  • Diligent attention to detail
  • Good time-management skills

Why this matters:

Accounts payable specialists often maintain vendor relationships through payment invoices. Most companies have clear policies on how to prepare for invoice payments and recording account discrepancies, but the candidate should also have a system in place that works for them. This question is designed to assess a candidate’s general knowledge of approving invoices and ability to follow company policy.

What to listen for:

  • Understanding of company policy in regards to approving invoices
  • The candidate’s process for approving an invoice
  • Examples of clear communication with clients and vendors

Why this matters:

Bills payable refers to the actual invoices vendors send companies as a request for payment, while accounts payable is an account category in the general ledger that records current liabilities. Proper accounting minimizes errors, so understanding the difference between bills payable and accounts payable is important so accounts receivable specialists don’t accidentally mix up the two in the general ledger.

What to listen for:

  • Understanding of both job functions
  • Ability to perform both clearly and precisely
  • Understanding of candidate’s general knowledge

 

Why this matters:

No matter the skill level of an accounts payable specialist, they will run into minor discrepancies from time to time. This question gives you a glimpse into their past accounting experience and technical abilities, and tests their research and verification skills.

What to listen for:

  • A routine that includes research and double checking
  • Real-life example and how the candidate approached the situation
  • Accuracy and consistency

Why this matters:

Accounts payable specialists frequently interact with coworkers and vendors, so they should be able to communicate and collaborate when it comes to solving errors. Discrepancies can include incorrectly entering data, or processing payments before receiving proper receipts. This question will provide insight into how the candidate deals with challenges and frustrations, and give you an idea of how they work in a collaborative environment.

What to listen for:

  • Ability to collaborate with others when solving problems
  • Ability to stay calm under pressure
  • Willingness to seek help when they are unsure or overwhelmed

Why this matters:

Accounts payable specialists often use accounting software and other tools to track invoices, distribute payments, create financial records, and perform other general tasks. Your candidate should be familiar with various software applications used in the accounts payable department and be able to adapt to new tools as technology advances.

What to listen for:

  • Familiarity with various accounting software and tools, including Upflow, QuickBooks, and DocuWare
  • Commitment to learning
  • Ability to troubleshoot basic computing issues

Why this matters:

Accounts payable specialists need attention to detail in order to be successful in their role, so the answer to this question is that both are important. Accounts payable specialists need to be efficient when working day-to-day, but maintain accurate results when dealing with clients, customers, and vendors. The candidate should be able to explain the difference between being accurate and efficient, and how they work together.

What to listen for:

  • A diligent attention to detail to minimize possible errors
  • Willingness to go above and beyond for clients, vendors, and employees
  • Examples of how the candidate measures success

 

Why this matters:

This question is designed to see how the candidate views the role, and what values the candidate will bring to your company. Accounts payable specialists should produce work that is accurate, consistent, and timely, with a high level of integrity and confidentiality. Your candidate should explain values they believe are integral to the role and explain how they would demonstrate those values on the job.

 

What to listen for:

  • Values that align with your company’s mission
  • Mutual respect and trust
  • Relevant qualities and values that relate to the role

Why this matters:

Goals for the accounts payable department depend on the needs of their organization. Your candidate may want to increase productivity or efficiency, or minimize production costs. A good candidate will connect any organizational needs with appropriate goals for the role and describe strategies to meet them.

What to listen for:

  • An emphasis on creating and achieving goals
  • General alignment with your company’s approach to setting goals
  • Ability to stay on track of the goal
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