Accounts Payable Coordinator Interview Questions
Interviewer: Good morning, thank you for joining us today. Can you start by telling us about your previous experience working in accounts payable?
Candidate: Yes, of course. I have worked in accounts payable for the past five years for a variety of businesses. Most recently, I worked for a large technology company and was responsible for processing and reconciling vendor invoices, managing accounts payable ledgers, and communicating with vendors regarding payment inquiries.
Interviewer: That sounds extensive. Can you walk us through your process for reconciling vendor invoices?
Candidate: Sure. When a vendor invoice is received, I first verify that the invoice is accurate and that the charges match the goods or services that were received. I then ensure that the invoice is properly authorized, and then enter the invoice into our accounting system for payment. Finally, I reconcile vendor statements on a monthly basis to ensure that all invoices have been recorded and that there are no discrepancies.
Interviewer: What steps do you take when communicating with vendors regarding payment inquiries?
Candidate: Generally, I try to respond to inquiries within 24-48 hours. I first confirm that the vendor is referring to the correct invoice in question and then investigate the issue. This includes checking our system for any discrepancies or errors, and, if necessary, reaching out to other departments to gather any necessary information. Once I have resolved the issue, I communicate the solution back to the vendor and ensure that their account has been credited or debited accordingly.
Interviewer: How do you ensure accuracy and efficiency while managing accounts payable ledgers?
Candidate: One way is by utilizing automated systems such as electronic invoicing and automated payments. This helps reduce manual errors and improves efficiency. Additionally, I make sure to properly categorize and code each invoice to allow for thorough and accurate reporting. Regularly reconciling vendor statements also helps identify and resolve any discrepancies before they become bigger issues.
Interviewer: Can you describe your experience with accounting software such as QuickBooks, SAP or Oracle?
Candidate: Yes, I have experience with QuickBooks and SAP. I have used QuickBooks for small business accounting needs, and SAP for larger businesses. Both systems have helped me effectively manage accounts payable tasks, such as recording invoices, tracking payments, and reconciling vendor statements.
Interviewer: How do you handle a large volume of invoices that need to be processed?
Candidate: Prioritizing and multitasking are key. I first establish a routine and create daily checklists to prioritize invoices and ensure that all invoices are processed on time. I also establish workflows to delegate tasks if necessary, and coordinate with other departments to ensure timely receipt and processing of invoices.
Interviewer: Can you discuss any experience you have working within a team environment?
Candidate: Yes, in my previous role, I worked as part of a team responsible for finance and accounting. We collaborated frequently to ensure that our work was consistent and accurate, and that deadlines were met. I also coordinated with other departments such as procurement and operations to resolve any invoice discrepancies or issues.
Interviewer: How do you stay organized in your duties as an accounts payable coordinator?
Candidate: I prioritize my workload, utilize a task tracker or daily checklist, set timelines for each task and ensure that deadlines are met. Regularly reviewing and reconciling accounts payable ledgers can also be helpful, as it allows me to identify and resolve any potential errors and streamline processes accordingly.
Interviewer: Can you discuss a time when you effectively resolved a vendor invoice issue?
Candidate: Sure. Recently, a vendor submitted an invoice for payment that did not match the goods received. After verifying the discrepancy, I reached out to the vendor to investigate. It turned out the vendor had made an error and invoiced us for the wrong order. I worked with the vendor to correct the invoice and after reviewing and reconciling the statement, the payment was processed accurately.
Interviewer: How do you maintain confidentiality when dealing with financial information?
Candidate: I understand the importance of maintaining confidentiality in regards to financial information, especially as an Accounts Payable Coordinator. I limit access to our accounting system and employ password protection on files containing financial data. I ensure that only those persons who need access have it, and always treat financial information with sensitivity.
Interviewer: What do you think are some of the most important qualities to have as an accounts payable coordinator?
Candidate: Attention to detail is crucial, as are strong organizational skills, time management, and the ability to multitask effectively. It is also essential to have excellent communication skills when dealing with vendors, colleagues, and other departments. Analytical skills are also very important as they are required to analyze and reconcile invoices as well as other financial documents.
Interviewer: Can you describe how you manage your time effectively throughout the day?
Candidate: I establish daily checklists and prioritize my workload to ensure that critical tasks are given adequate attention. I utilize time slots efficiently, which means being aware of what needs to be done in each time slot, and work on important, time-sensitive tasks first.
Interviewer: How do you ensure that you meet monthly and quarterly accounting deadlines?
Candidate: By prioritizing and working efficiently throughout the month, ensuring that all vendors are paid before the month end close. Reconciling accounts payable ledgers on a regular basis aids in identifying, resolving, and reconciling any discrepancies before the deadline. If, for some reason, we are behind schedule, I can bring in additional resources or work longer hours if necessary to catch up and meet deadlines.
Interviewer: Finally, what motivates you to excel and continue to develop in the role of an Accounts Payable Coordinator?
Candidate: I enjoy the challenge of managing a fast-paced environment and working on multiple tasks simultaneously. I appreciate the opportunity to develop in this field and have a positive impact on the business I work for. Successfully resolving issues and helping others is also a large motivating factor. There is always something new to learn in accounting and finance, making it an ever-evolving field that I am excited to be a part of.
1. Scenario: A vendor has sent an invoice for $500 but it includes a $50 discount for early payment. How much is the net amount due and what is the discount rate as a percentage?
Candidate Answer: The net amount due would be $450 ($500 - $50). To find the discount rate, we divide the discount amount by the original amount: $50/$500 = 0.10 or 10%.
2. Scenario: A supplier has sent an invoice with incorrect pricing due to a typing error. The invoice is for $2,500, but the actual amount due is $2,000. How would you handle this situation?
Candidate Answer: I would reach out to the supplier and inform them about the error. Then, I would request a new invoice with the correct pricing. If necessary, I would work with the supplier to resolve any discrepancies or misunderstandings.
3. Scenario: A company has recently switched to a new accounting software. How would you ensure that all invoices are properly recorded and paid?
Candidate Answer: I would first make sure that all the necessary data is entered into the new accounting system, such as vendor information, invoice numbers, amounts, and due dates. Then, I would reconcile the vendor statements to ensure that all invoices have been recorded correctly. Finally, I would set up automatic payments for recurring invoices, and establish a clear process for handling any outstanding invoices.
4. Scenario: A vendor has submitted an invoice that exceeds the agreed-upon purchase order amount. How would you handle this situation?
Candidate Answer: I would investigate to determine if there was a misunderstanding or if the vendor made a mistake. If it was the vendor's error, I would ask them to correct the invoice and resubmit it. If the discrepancy was the result of a misunderstanding, I would work with the vendor to resolve the issue and update the purchase order accordingly.
5. Scenario: A vendor has not received payment for an invoice that was due two weeks ago. How would you follow up with them?
Candidate Answer: I would first review the payment status in our accounting system to determine if the invoice is still outstanding. If it is, I would contact the vendor to inquire about the status of the payment, and make sure that they have all the necessary information (such as the invoice number and payment amount). If there was an issue on our end (such as a delay in processing or approval), I would work to resolve it as quickly as possible to ensure timely payment.