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Accounts payable involves the recording and processing of financial transactions relating to procurement and suppliers. There are a number of analyst roles which can be found within this function:

The Accounts Payable (AP) Data Entry analystupdates the system for vendor invoices received, via all channels, liaising with the supplier, procurement or the relevant business unit, escalating unresolved issues to the exceptions team.

The Accounts Payable (AP) payments processing analyst performs the daily payment processes and period closing activities. This involves ensuring compliance with controls and general corporate procedures and that any issues are addressed and escalated as required.

The Accounts Payable (AP) Exceptions analyst is responsible for addressing disputes and issues for payments falling due, works to ensure that issues are identified and addressed / resolved within an appropriate timeline and with a high level of customer service.

The Accounts Payable (AP) Vendor Maintenance analyst is responsible for updating vendor data in line with the controls that are in place, in a timely manner. The analyst and supervisor work closely with internal departments and suppliers to ensure early recognition of new suppliers or changes to existing suppliers’ details.

AP managers are responsible for coordinating and motivating the AP analyst teams to ensure that vendor invoices are processed accurately and in a timely and efficient manner. The AP manager is also responsible for taking on new work from existing locations and optimizing service delivery to increase accuracy and improve efficiency. The manager works with all suppliers and internal teams to re-engineer processes in order to deliver best-in-class centralised services.

Entry and progression

AP is a key SSO function and the entry point is usually at the analyst level, leading to a supervisory level for those with adequate experience and showing team management capability. At entry level the work will focus on the specific AP function itself, but job development and enlargement may include working in the other related functions. Progression and advancement in the AP function is usually achieved by gaining experience and competence of the role, progressing to AP supervisor or even to the more senior position of AP Manager. Ultimately an SSO manager can reach the position of SSC service manager who has overall responsibility for managing the centre and all functions within it. 

As far as suitable learning and qualifications for these roles are concerned, the competencies covered by the analyst and supervisor roles relate most closely to the Foundations level suite of qualifications. These include the Introductory and Intermediate Certificate of Financial and Management Accounting. As employees in the AP function progress from supervisor to SSO manager level, and possibly higher, the competencies they need will relate more closely to the Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Accounting and Business offered within the main ACCA Qualification. Career progression in this function can be supported by learning and demonstrating professional behaviours associated with competence and such behaviours can be demonstrated at different levels of competence as you progress within your career.