While marketing, sales, and services are typically prioritized in most businesses, management and recruitment of strong accounts payable employees can have a major impact on a company.
AP teams handle the cash flow and vendor relationships within a business and strongly influence a company’s liquidity. But, with the right AP team and management, your company can maintain healthy cash flow and great relationships.
So, how do you recruit qualified AP candidates? Recruiting qualified talent in today’s competitive marketplace can be a challenge, especially for accounts payable positions. As you begin the recruitment process, it’s important to be aware of the changing AP landscape and how this impacts your account payable team and future hires.
The Changing Accounts Payable Landscape
Recent changes in accounting departments have had a direct impact on hiring. In turn, it’s important for companies to understand the shifts taking place within the accounts payable industry and where it’s headed in order to future-proof your recruiting efforts.
Over the years, most AP departments have seen a steady decrease in resources, budget, and headcount. Forced to do more with less, many accounting departments are addressing this challenge through the use of new technologies like AP automation. As technology advances, the role of accounts payable & receivable clerks is expected to shift from a transactional to an analytical emphasis.
AP automation digitally captures, codes, and extracts data from invoices, identifies billing errors, automatically routes invoices for approval, and ensures payments get sent on time, allowing for early-pay discounts. Using an automated platform helps AP departments optimize their performance, better manage cash, control spend, mitigate risk, and bring advanced capabilities to your business.
This also means AP staff members will spend less time on manual processes and more time on data analysis, reporting, and relationship building. These automated platforms are positively changing the way AP departments function and are perceived within today’s business place; it’s important for recruitment to be reflective of these changes.
Here are a few of the skills companies should look for in today’s accounts payable recruits:
- Automation Software Skills
AP automation is changing the way accounts payable departments operate by turning a large part of the manual workflow process into a digital, automated system. As more companies adopt AP automation into their workflows, the need for manual clerical work and bookkeeping has reduced significantly. This AP automation shift requires tech-savvy and analytic workers. Looking for employees who can bring experience with AP automation to your company, whether you’re currently implementing automation or not, can be a huge advantage.
- Data Analysis Skills
AP automation software platforms collect data that can offer a wealth of insights into financial operations and savings potential. But, before this data can be used, it first needs to be analyzed within the AP department. Because of this, job titles are also changing from “clerk” and “bookkeeper” to positions such as “accounts payable specialist” and “AP data analyst.” Finding recruits that have a background in data analysis along with traditional AP skillsets can help shift your department from a back-office function to a strategically, data-driven powerhouse that helps drive company growth.
- Enterprise Resource Planning Skills
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a business management software that collects an organization’s shared transactional data from multiple sources (such as AP automation software), eliminates data duplication, and provides data integrity using a single source of truth. Bringing in new employees with experience with or understanding of ERP systems can be a huge benefit to companies looking to grow.
Attracting the Right Talent with A Stellar Job Description
Finding a great candidate with the skills your company needs starts with an outstanding job description. Crafting a compelling job description can help set a precedent for the people who apply, as well as increase the likelihood it will be shared and, thereby, grow your pool of potential candidates.
Here are a few tips on creating a stellar accounts payable job description:
- Choose the Right Job Title
Choosing the right job title requires balancing a literal description of what you’re looking for with the ability to choose something interesting that stands out and is easy to find via Google. This means using a majority of searchable, relevant, plainspoken keywords, with a dash of something exciting that piques interest.
- Craft A Successful Job Description
Despite what you may think, there is no actual standard for job descriptions. Most companies simply mimic each other when, in fact, there’s a wide range of resources (i.e. media types, platforms, formatting, etc.) that can make your job listing stand out. Once you choose your unique format, you’ll want to focus on the relevant technical skills, soft skills, and even future skills you may want this candidate to possess.
Accounts payable professionals need a core set of skills to handle day-to-day work such as receiving payments, plus processing, verifying, and reconciling invoices. But, as technology increases in the workplace and some of this manual work becomes automated, skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, and strong leadership that facilitate more human interaction are becoming increasingly important. Other skills such as organization, attention to detail, accuracy, confidentiality, and the ability to maintain positive vendor relationships will remain the mainstay skills relevant to the evolving AP department.
- Communicate Your Culture with Honesty
In addition to understanding what a position requires, recruits will also want to get a sense of your company’s culture and working environment. Remember to be conscious of diversity and help give people a glimpse of the team they’ll be working with. Also, it’s important to skip the jargon and speak sincerely; write in a way that reflects the qualities representative of your company. And don’t forget the benefits. In today’s workplace benefits such as flexible schedules, respect for personal and vacation time, and competitive pay are valuable assets that can be highlighted in the hiring process.
Remember, throughout your search process; it’s important to show you recognize how important accounts payable positions are to your organization. Instilling a sense of purpose and meaningful work are increasingly pivotal factors when choosing an employer. So, use your job description and the recruitment process to demonstrate the shared purpose that drives the entire company.