What is Accounts Receivable
Working in accounts receivable can be an interesting and rewarding profession. While accounting work often gets a bad rap, often stereotyped with the introverted, bean counter type personality, there is plenty of room in accounts receivable work for those who enjoy human interaction. While crunching numbers is certainly an important aspect in accounts receivable work, there is much more to it than just working with numbers. If you are considering work in accounts receivable, here are answers to a few questions you might be asking yourself.
WHAT IS ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE WORK?
In a nutshell, the work in accounts receivable is largely centered around the sending of bills and invoices to customers and the collection of money owed from those clients. While this might sound easy, there are plenty of related duties and skills necessary to be successful in accounts receivable work.
Great communications skills, being able to stay organized and on task, and the ability to maintain a strong and healthy attitude in the face of stressful situations and adversity can all be helpful attributes in being successful in accounts receivable work. A large portion of your time in accounts receivable work is often spent contacting clients regarding payment, or more often, non-payment of invoices, and documenting these communications. You often have to be able to think on your feet and problem solve quickly when it comes to finding solutions to payment issues.
WHAT WILL A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?
Well, don’t be expecting to work many second or third shifts in accounts receivable. While some late hours here and there aren’t unheard of, work in accounts receivable is largely limited to typical business hours, Monday through Friday, give or take an extra weekend day here or there if you happen to fall behind a bit in your duties.
Accounts receivable related duties can certainly vary from employer to employer and depend on the particular industry in which you work. There are however, certain responsibilities that are common to a role in accounts receivable that span most employers and industries. As mentioned previously, when you aren’t calling outstanding accounts regarding payment, a large portion of your day will be spent creating and sending invoices to customers, updating customer billing files, and relaying information to the controller, manager or supervisor regarding payment updates. There will likely also be smaller administrative duties related to the running of the accounting office, cash deposits, bank deposits, bank counts, etc.
WHAT KIND OF EDUCATION IS NEEDED?
While a college education may not be necessary in all roles required of AR work, it can be helpful in preparing you for furthering your career in accounting related roles.
Whether you need a college education or not will often depend on a particular employer’s work standards and requirements. Since competition for jobs out there is fierce at the moment, it may be pertinent to get a college education or at least an associate’s degree in order to make you more attractive to employers. Often a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in business, accounting, finance or related area will be most attractive, although some employers will accept a degree in other areas or lesser educational requirements if they feel you are trainable to their standards and needs. You might even receive educational assistance from an employer to further your career once you have accepted a position in an accounts receivable related role.
WHAT ABOUT CAREER ADVANCEMENT?
Beginning your career in accounts receivable can set you up for a variety of advancement opportunities both in finance and accounting related work and in other fields as well. You might find yourself moving into a role as an accounts receivable supervisor or manager, a controller, accountant, director of finance, or similar business related title. The organizational and interpersonal skills often needed to succeed in accounts receivable work may also prepare you for work in other customer service roles, managerial work, and a number of other jobs both related and unrelated to accounting and finance. Accounts receivable work often requires a certain amount of trustworthiness and professional demeanor from the employees who work within its ranks, and these attributes can be attractive to employers in a wide array of industries.
For more information regarding accounting degree programs, check out the Accounting Schools directory. Too busy with work and family? You can now get a degree online. Here’s a complete list of schools offering an Online Accounting Degree