What Salary for Accounts Payable Jobs and Accounts Receivable Jobs?

Salary Spotlight: Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable

To recruit and retain top talent for accounts receivable jobs and accounts payable jobs, organizations have to offer a competitive salary. Why? Demand and salaries are going up.

First of all, skilled financial professionals are always in demand. As long as corporations exist, they’ll need operational support staff, whether they bring in $25 million in revenues or $250 million or more.  

Secondly, creating the right compensation package for accounts payable jobs and accounts receivable jobs, is often easier said than done. First, you need to understand the skills and experience required. Then, you must benchmark the salary offered against the norm for the industry, company size and location. You also have to take into account the value of the organization’s unique compensation elements, especially the intangible benefits, such as professional development opportunities or generous leave policies included in the package.

So let’s take a look at how the compensation variables stack up. Then we'll take a look at the expectations and requirements for people working in accounts receivable jobs and accounts payable jobs.  

Salaries for AP and AR positions

2017 Salary Guide coverInitial salary benchmarking for accounts receivable jobs and accounts payable jobs is easy if you have the right data, which is available in Robert Half's latest Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance.

The starting salary range for an AR or AP manager in a midsize company is $52,750 to $73,000 in 2017 — an increase of 3.7 percent over salaries in 2016, showing that these operational support positions are still competitively compensated. For an AR or AP clerk at midsize companies, the range is $38,000 to $47,000 — also on the rise, by 3.3 percent since last year.

In larger companies, those salary ranges increase to $58,250 to $89,590 in 2017 for AR or AP managers, and $38,000 to $50,500 for clerks. At a small company with less than $25 million in revenues, they’re a little lower: $45,500 to $62,500 for managers, and $34,250 to $44,250 for clerks.

These are the national average starting salary ranges, so they don’t include additional compensation elements such as time off, bonuses or health insurance. Those details can make a big difference to the comparative value of different compensation packages.

Visit the Salary Center, where you'll be able to adjust salaries for accounts receivable jobs and accounts payable jobs in your city with the Salary Calculator, and get your own copy of the Salary Guide.

Duties and expectations

Every organization has its own expectations that depend on company culture and human resources policies, in addition to the basic requirements of the role.

That said, the essential task of an accounts receivable clerk is to process outbound invoices and incoming payments. For an accounts payable clerk, it’s to verify and pay incoming invoices. Other primary duties for either role may include:

  • Maintaining accounting ledgers
  • Reconciling accounts and resolving discrepancies
  • Analyzing and reporting on account information and trends
  • Maintaining operational and financial security by following best practices

An accounts receivable or accounts payable manager has many additional responsibilities:

  • Selecting, training, mentoring and managing AR/AP clerks
  • Planning projects and monitoring performance
  • Contributing to and implementing operational improvement initiatives
  • Meeting or exceeding financial standards
  • Investigating non-payment and negotiating resolution
  • Auditing delinquent accounts and assigning bad debt status if necessary
  • Presenting financial reports and forecasts

Professional experience and skills

Though many entry-level accounting clerk jobs require little or no experience and can be filled by staff with no higher qualification than a high school diploma, employers generally look for accounts receivable clerks with some professional experience. AR and AP clerks must have strong organizational, communication and customer service skills, along with proficiency in common office and accounting software applications.

AR and AP managers may need five years or more of experience as clerks before progressing to managerial roles. A graduate degree or professional certification should add roughly 5 to 15 percent to the salary range. Managers should be able to demonstrate all the skills of a clerk, plus the additional soft skills needed to motivate a team.

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Editor's note: This post was originally posted in 2015 and was updated recently to reflect information in the new Salary Guide.

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