Accounts Payable Skills Test: How to Prepare and Succeed

by Sarah Duncan

Are you an aspiring account payable clerk, or an existing clerk looking for a new role? Chances are that you will be taking an accounts payable test sometime soon. These tests can be overwhelming and cause a lot of stress, especially if you don’t know what to expect. You might have the knowledge and skills required, but how do you put it into practice during an assessment?

Take the Accounts Payable Skills Test to improve your score.

To help you out, we have put together this handy guide with all the information you could ever need about an accounts payable assessment to help you ace your test and land your next job.

The Role and Importance of Accounts Payable

In its simplest form, accounts payable involves managing a company’s short-term bills and debts against its suppliers, creditors, and vendors in a timely and accurate manner.

Someone who deals with accounts payable within a company is often called an accounts payable (AP) clerk.

An AP clerk deals with all manner of issues and tasks in their day-to-day working life.

Primarily, an AP clerk is expected to receive and process invoices from vendors, process payments, keep accurate records of all transactions that occur within accounts payable so that accurate financial reporting can be carried out, balance vendor statements with their company’s internal records, and communicate with vendors and suppliers to ensure invoices and payments are made and received correctly.

As a result, a successful AP clerk will ensure that their company’s debts and payments are effectively and efficiently managed.

This is a high-stakes and important role, as the work of an AP clerk upholds the financial ecosystem of their company and allows for things behind the scenes to run smoothly.

Their work must be precise and accurate to ensure that this delicate ecosystem is not disrupted and to allow for straightforward and simple financial management and reporting within the company.

Additionally, whether or not an AP clerk is efficient and manages the debts and payments of their company in a timely manner contributes to the overall image and acumen of the company.

Take Accounts Payable Skills Test Now

Overview of the Accounts Payable Assessment Test

As the work of an AP clerk is so important, it is not uncommon for potential employers to issue an accounts payable test to potential candidates applying for an AP clerk role.

There isn’t a standardized test that all candidates take, rather the company or employer who is overseeing your application will either create or commission a test that they will then administer.

More often than not, an accounts payable test will be entirely made up of multiple-choice questions (usually around 40).

The general purpose of these questions is to assess the candidate’s understanding of accounting concepts and processes.

The multiple choice questions can range from true/false style answers to longer and more complex answers.

However, some tests can also require long-form answers or a practical component that fully assesses whether the candidate is able to perform the required tasks of an AP clerk role.

Ultimately, the questions will cover a broad range of scenarios and topics to assess whether or not the candidate has the required skills, knowledge, and understanding of accounting to successfully perform the role of an AP clerk.

Difficulty Levels and Types of Questions

The level of difficulty of an accounts payable test can vary based on several factors.

Within the test, there will certainly be questions that are harder than others, however, you can expect a fairly consistent level of difficulty across most of the questions.

However, the actual level of difficulty will be based on the level and nature of the job.

If you are applying for a graduate or junior clerk role, you can expect the test to be slightly easier than one that might be administered to a candidate applying for a senior or manager’s position.

In terms of the actual questions, there are several styles of questions you might expect in an accounts payable test.

Familiarizing yourself with the following question types is a good strategy to help you prepare for an upcoming test and ensure you perform well on the day.

Most accounts payable tests will consist of at least one section containing multiple-choice questions.

These are designed to not only check your skill but also your attention to detail.  The potential options for each question are often very similar and require close attention to gauge which is the correct answer.

While multiple-choice questions are common, depending on the nature or level of the role, there may also be a practical component of the test as well.

You could be given an invoice or payment and asked to walk through the steps you would take to correctly resolve the task.

This can be done physically, with a manager or supervisor watching over you as you perform each step of the task and talk them through it.

Alternatively, this could take the form of a long-form answer within the test, in which you are required to write in detail how you would approach this task.

Finally, you may be asked to demonstrate your Excel skills as a part of the accounts payable test.

Most accounts payable clerks are required to use Excel in some capacity within the job, and many employers like to check to see if the candidates have the level of competency required to keep up with the role.

Brushing up on all these question styles and the content that could be asked within them is a great way to ensure you are well-prepared and informed before taking an accounts payable test.

Take Accounts Payable Skills Test Now

Preparing for Success in Account Payable Assessment Test

If you are about to take an account payable assessment test, chances are you want to do well.

Performing well on one of these tests requires some preparation; however, if you go about it in the right way, you will ace the test.

Here are some of our top tips to help you prepare for success in an Accounts Payable test:

  • Familiarize yourself with the potential content: An accounts payable test will likely not examine questions relating only to accounts payable.

While it is a good idea to study and learn the key account payable concepts, you will need to go beyond this.

You can likely expect to be asked questions relating to accounts receivable, as well as general accounting knowledge.

By studying broadly and ensuring you have a good command of all general accounting principles, you will be able to face anything that the test may throw at you

  • Brush up on your Excel skills: Most AP clerks need to know how to use Excel to a fairly high degree. While it is not always a component of an account payable test, some employers like to test some Excel skills and the typical accounting skills.

This can be assessed via multiple choice, or you could be required to manually use and input data into Excel and produce an end product.

Therefore, it is a good idea to practice using Excel before your test in case it is one of the areas assessed.

  • Do practice tests: The best way to prepare for a test or exam is to do past or practice papers. This allows you to get a feel for how the questions might be asked, and what type of answers the markers are looking for.

It will also let you practice answering the questions under time pressure. I recommend the account payable practice test pack from JobTestPrep, as it’s a great resource to help you prepare for your test.

Sample Question and Answer

To give you a better idea of what your account payable test might bring, here is a sample question. You can expect a question with some technical details that reflect a real-life scenario.

For example;  Bird Enterprises purchased timber from Forest Inc. on terms 3/14, n/45 for $14,000. What does 3/14 stand for?

There will then be a list of answers, which could be;

  • A. Bird must pay Forest Inc. on the 14th of March
  • B. Bird is entitled to a 14% discount if it makes the payment in 3 days, or
  • C. Bird is entitled to a 3% discount if it pays within 14 days.

You will then need to select the correct answer, which is C, as this is the industry standard for representing potential discounts applied within a certain time frame.

Final Words

An Accounts Payable Test is nothing to be afraid of, especially if you have prepared properly.

It is important that you don’t just study theory, but you also practice practical skills and do practice tests to fully prepare for what might be in your test on the day.

By allowing yourself adequate time to prepare and engage in quality study, you will be perfectly prepared to ace your test and wow your future employers with your skills!

Take Accounts Payable Skills Test Now