1.1. Accounts payable professional standards

1.1.1. The accounts payable professional should adhere to the highest level of professional standards set forth by his or her organization’s finance operation.

1.1.2. The accounts payable professional has a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that invoices are properly approved and funds are disbursed in accordance with the organization’s financial policies.

1.1.3. The accounts payable professional must maintain the highest level of integrity, objectivity, confidentiality, and professional competency to ensure that there is an awareness of the consequences of committing external, internal, and collusion fraud. (Refer to Section II, 3.2, Invoice Processing Controls)

1.1.4. The accounts payable organization should be organizationally aligned so there is a proper level of segregation of duties and organizational independence. It is the responsibility of the accounts payable professional to promote steps to achieve the maximum level of segregation of duties and organizational independence possible.

1.1.5. The accounts payable professional should be provided with a prescribed job description and development plan (if applicable). The organization’s accounts payable department as a whole comprising the associates and management team should possess or obtain the knowledge, skills, and other competencies needed to perform its responsibilities at any given time.

1.2. Accounts payable core competencies

1.2.1. With the changing world of accounts payable, the importance of the core competencies listed below will vary depending on the assignment of priorities within the organization. The accounts payable director/manager should have strong management skills and experience in leading large teams. Often this position requires a bachelor’s degree in accounting, master’s in business administration, or certification such as CPA. The accounts payable director/manager will need to influence and team with other entities such as procurement, receiving, and business partner organizations. The director/manager will be called upon to provide metrics and report to senior management on at least a monthly basis and will require strong project management skills if a new system is being implemented or upgraded or if the organization is undertaking an outsourcing, off shoring, or shared services project. The accounts payable director/manager will require the core competency of customer service in dealing with vendors as well as internal organizational customers. Business planning and change management are important skills because the director/manager will need to ensure that his or her accounts payable organization is keeping up with the changes required to be successful. Lastly, the accounts payable director/manager is responsible for ensuring that the internal controls with the accounts payable process are properly executed and there is no risk impacting the company’s statements. The accounts payable supervisor/team leader will require skills similar to those of the director/manager but on a smaller scale and for a specific section of the process as assigned. Additionally, the educational requirements are not as stringent but may include a bachelor’s degree in accounting. The supervisor/team leader will be responsible for supervising the team assigned to a specific accounts payable process. The supervisor/team leader is held accountable for the success, results, and outcome of the process. The supervisor/team leader will report to the accounts payable manager. The accounts payable associate is assigned a specific job within the accounts payable process such as processing invoices for a specific range of letters within the alphabet. The associate is expected to have a good background in accounting and analytical skills. In some organizations, the position requires a degree in accounting.