Accounts Payable Vs Receivable: What is the right career for me?

Alastair Paterson our consultant managing the role

Both accounts payable and receivable are key components of financial operations, and no matter the size of an organisation, the need for accountants has been and continues to exist. From cash flow management to managing vendor and supplier relationships to financial reporting, both roles offer a dynamic career. 

At Marks Sattin, our specialist financial consultants have a clear understanding of even the most technical roles, so they are able to fully understand the needs of both our candidates and clients. Whether you are looking to recruit or be hired as an accounts payable or receivable assistant or specialist, we offer a tailored approach based on your specific requirements. 

Learn about the similarities and differences between accounts payable and receivable and which of these two career paths would best suit you. 

What is accounts payable?

Accounts payable professionals are responsible for managing and processing an organisation’s financial obligations to vendors and suppliers. This role involves expense tracking, timely payment of invoices, and stakeholder management with vendors and suppliers. 

What is accounts receivable? 

Accounts receivable professionals are responsible for collecting outstanding payments made on credit to the company. This role involves issuing and tracking invoices, recording payments received, following up on overdue payments and reconciling accounts. 

What are the key differences between accounts payable and receivable? 

Essentially, accounts payable and receivable are two sides of the same coin. Here is why: 

Types of transactions 

Accounts payable: acts as a debtor for the company as it owes money to vendors or suppliers.

Accounts receivable: acts as a creditor for the company as it is owed money from customers. 

Direction of cash flow 

Accounts payable: cash flow is going out of the company as payments are made. 

Accounts receivable: cash flow is coming into the company as payments are collected.

Handling of invoices 

Accounts payable: review, verify, and process invoices from vendors or suppliers and reconcile purchase orders with these invoices. 

Accounts receivable: issue new invoices to customers or clients for products or services bought. 

Finding the right accounting path for you

Finding the right subdiscipline at the early stages of your accounting career can seem like a challenge but if you consider the following factors, it can put things in perspective, in terms of your skills and interests, and career aspirations. 

For example, accounts payable roles require attention to detail, and organisation whereas accounts receivable roles involve customer interaction which requires communication and interpersonal skills. If you assess your current skills, it can provide clarity on what role would better suit you. 

You should also consider where you want your career to go, would accounts receivable open new opportunities in accounting and finance where you would also be customer-facing? Or do accounts payable roles have more opportunities to progress internally within one business to more senior roles? Think about the long term, and what your career aspirations are. 

Still unsure about where to take your accounting career? Read this blog on how to get into the industry, what to expect from your employer, and potential career paths. 

At Marks Sattin, we are well equipped to support candidates from entry level through to the final stages of completing their qualification. We offer our community professional advice, a range of job openings, and interview techniques and are in regular contact in these early and important stages of your career.

Explore accounts payable and receivable jobs with Marks Sattin 

Our part-qualified and transactional division is one of our most established teams in the business. They have the in-depth market knowledge and expertise to place high-quality candidates across a variety of sectors including retail, FMCG, telecoms, media, technology, property, construction, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, legal, travel and tourism. 


If you are looking to recruit or be hired as an accounts payable or receivable professional, then explore our finance and accounting division at Marks Sattin.

18/07/23
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