Find the Right Accounts Payable Manager for Your Ecommerce Business

Michael Pignatelli
Aug 26, 2022

Do you owe money to your vendor after replenishing your inventory? The credit you have with your suppliers or vendor invoices you have pending is what we call accounts payable. 

Ecommerce accounting is tricky as it is. Unfortunately, things can get even more complicated regarding your accounts payable system. Thus, you need an accounts payable manager who is knowledgeable about the ecommerce world and can handle all your transactions quickly and efficiently. 

So where can you find an AP manager for your online business? Let's find out!

Job Description of an Accounts Payable Manager

An accounts payable manager's duties are crucial to your online business's financial health. Here's a quick rundown to better understand what AP managers do.

  • They keep track of expenditures and payments
  • They reconcile processed work
  • They maintain historical records
  • They prepare analyses and reports
  • They improve processes and procedures

The accounts payable supervisor double checks that vendor invoices are accurate and properly authorized, investigating and resolving discrepancies. They also work closely with your accountant to maintain accurate financial records and ensure compliance with relevant regulations. 

The AP manager may also be responsible for negotiating payment terms with vendors and preparing reports on spending trends. As such, the job description of the accounts payable manager requires a broad range of skills and knowledge. 

Accounts Receivable Manager vs. AP Manager

If there is an accounts payable manager, there's also an accounts receivable manager. 

Accounts receivable managers oversee the invoicing and collections, ensuring that customers are billed correctly and that payments are collected promptly. On the other hand, accounts payable managers are responsible for issuing payments to your suppliers. 

Secondly, accounts receivable managers typically have more contact with customers, as they are responsible for sending invoices and following up on payments. Meanwhile, accounts payable managers usually have more contact with vendors. 

Finally, accounts receivable managers have more flexibility in managing their department, as they are not bound by set payment terms like accounts payable managers are. As a result, accounts receivable managers often have more opportunities to negotiate payment terms with customers and to implement creative solutions to collections problems.

Qualifications of Accounts Payable Managers

Dealing with the business's debts and supplier relationships takes a lot of skills and experience. Here are the basic qualities and credentials you need to look for in an accounts payable supervisor. 

Bookkeeping and Accounting Background

In order to be successful in this role, AP managers must have a strong bookkeeping and accounting background. They should be well-versed in double-entry bookkeeping and familiar with accrual basis accounting. 

While a college degree in accounting is not always required, it can be beneficial. An accounts payable manager certification may also be advantageous. 

On top of being in-the-know about AP processes, they should have experience using accounting software, more specifically accounts payable automation software. A seasoned senior manager in accounts payable who has no experience using an accounts payable solution such as Bill.com is not a good fit for your online business.

Intrapersonal Skills

Proper business relationship management is critical in managing accounts payable, so you must have strong communication skills to liaise with suppliers.

An accounts payable manager may encounter the following problems from AP procedures but should be able to resolve any issues that may arise.

  • Failure to create purchase orders
  • Error-prone payable procedures
  • Mismatched deliveries and contractual terms
  • Difficulty accessing vendor contracts
  • Neglecting early payment discounts or rebates
  • Overextending your payment cycle
  • Wrong negotiation terms such as accepting discounts without knowing the expenditures

Attention to Detail

Cashing out money to pay your bills may sound as simple as shopping online, but it takes a keen eye to check every invoice, making sure they are legit and correct.

Cases like AP fraud are most common in paper invoices, but can also happen with hackers capable of chasing down your money trail. 

Accounts payable fraud is a type of business fraud in which funds are stolen from a company through the use of false or inflated invoices. This type of fraud can be hard to detect, as it typically involves a small amount of money exiting the business each time. However, over time, the amount of money that is stolen can add up to a significant loss for the company. 

Accounts payable managers should take steps to reduce the risk of accounts payable fraud by implementing internal controls and performing regular audits. 

Importance of an Accounts Payable Manager Job 

Accounts payable may be a short-term liability, but it isn't something an accounts payable manager should get wrong. 

Handling current debts can be a thorn in the side of even the most well-run businesses. When invoices aren't processed promptly, it can hamper your business's ability to take advantage of early payment discounts, set favorable payment terms with suppliers, and manage its cash flow effectively. 

Unloop Can Be Your AP Manager

An AP manager using accounts payable automation solutions

So, what do you look for when hiring an accounts payable manager? They should be consistent, amiable, and organized. They should be calm under pressure and should be able to negotiate with your vendors. If you're in a rut finding the perfect accounts payable manager for your online business, give Unloop a call today. 

Unloop is perfect for small businesses and startups who don't have the resources for dedicated accounts payable services. Our accounts payable automation solutions are affordable and hassle-free so that you can focus on other important business matters. Book a call today to see how we can boost your AP process!

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About unloop
Unloop is the first and only accounting firm exclusively servicing ecommerce and inventory businesses in the US and Canada. With the power of people and technology, our team dives deep into COGS and inventory accounting.. You are paired with a dedicated bookkeeping team that prepares accurate financial statements, financial forecasts, and can also pay bills or run payroll for you. Come tax time, everything is organized and ready to go, so you don't need to worry. Book a call with an ecommerce accountant today to learn more.
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