Your business is growing faster than you thought possible—and now you’re struggling to keep up. Invoices come in faster than you can process them. Your billing records are a mess. Worst of all, your accountants are on the verge of revolt. It’s clear: You need to hire an accounts receivable specialist.
However identifying a good accounts receivable specialist isn’t always easy. Sure, there are concrete qualifications, like an associate’s degree in accounting. But how do you know if someone will grow and succeed in the position?
In this article, we’ll help you understand everything you need to know to hire the right candidate, such as:
- What does an accounts receivable specialist do?
- Which skills should an accounts receivable specialist have?
- Which traits should an accounts receivable specialist have?
- Where can I find a job description for an accounts receivable specialist?
- Which interview questions should I ask an accounts receivable specialist?
- How much should I pay an accounts receivable specialist?
- How the Predictive Index can help you hire the perfect accounts receivable specialist
What does an accounts receivable specialist do?
When a client owes money to an organization, the accounts receivable specialist is responsible for making sure the bill is paid, filed, and recorded properly.
In other words, they must:
- Contact clients about unpaid invoices.
- Process invoices.
- Perform data entry.
- Organize department records.
- Deposit cash and charge credit cards.
- Assist with audits.
- Fix discrepancies in client accounts and invoices.
- Suggest billing process improvements.
Which jobs have similar duties?
- Accounts receivable clerk.
- Accounts payable specialist.
- Accounting clerk.
- Accounts receivable coordinator.
- Billing specialist.
- Accounts receivable manager.
What skills should an accounts receivable specialist have?
A strong candidate for the position should have several years of experience with some or all of the tasks listed in the previous section. Additionally, they should have more general qualifications, like:
- Knowledge of GAAP, or “Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.”
- An associate’s degree in finance or accounting.
- Experience with your company’s accounting software, like QuickBooks or Microsoft Excel.
- Experience maintaining confidential information.
- Demonstrable skills in time management and attention to detail.
These skills might come from a previous job as an accounts receivable specialist. But they might also come from similar positions, such as a bookkeeper, accounts payable specialist, or data entry clerk.
What traits should an accounts receivable specialist have?
It’s important that your candidate has the right skills. But skills alone don’t predict a candidate’s success.
For example, if your candidate prefers to rush through tasks and dislikes talking on the phone, they might be a poor fit—even with the right qualifications. Behavioral assessment software can help identify these mismatches.
A great accounts receivable specialist should have certain behavioral traits. Ideally, they are:
- Adept at working carefully rather than quickly.
- Comfortable with strict rules and regulations.
- Comfortable working alone.
- Comfortable asking strangers for information or payment.
Where can I find a job description for an accounts receivable specialist?
We’ve included a job description template you can adapt to your own opening below. You may also want to consider our guide to writing great job descriptions.
Job description template
At [your organization], we believe in precision, professionalism, and an immaculate accounting system. That’s why we’re looking to add several full-time accounts receivable specialists to our Finance & Accounting team. Qualified job seekers will feel comfortable with the responsibilities and qualifications below.
Accounts Receivable Duties
- Remind our clients about past due invoices.
- Process and verify customer payments with the highest accuracy.
- Perform monthly account reconciliations.
- Record and deposit cash receipts.
- Resolve billing issues in a timely manner.
- Proactively look for improvements to our collections process.
- Assist with creating new accounts.
- High school diploma or GED.
- Proficient with MS Office products (including Excel).
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
- Strong organizational skills and attention to detail.
- Ability to analyze old problems for new solutions.
- An associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a related field.
- 2-3 years general accounting experience.
- Working experience in Quickbooks.
Which interview questions should I ask an accounts receivable specialist?
You should always start by asking questions about a candidate’s job experiences. Afterwards, you should shift to strategic interview questions tailored to the job and the candidate. Strategic interview questions use a candidate’s behavioral pattern to help guide the process.
What if I don’t have time to customize the interview?
If you’re short on time, but know the behaviors that align with the role, some basic questions you could ask your candidate include:
- Tell me about a time you noticed a process at work was leading to wasted time or mistakes. What did you do? How was the situation resolved?
- What’s your approach when you realize you don’t know the answer to something at work?
- Describe a time you noticed a small mistake that could lead to big problems. What did you do? What were the results?
- When you feel you have too many tasks to complete, would you rather rush to get them all done or take your time with the most important ones? Why?
- When someone else seems confused by what you’re saying, how do you make sure you’re communicating clearly?
How much should I pay an accounts receivable specialist?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accounting clerks typically make $42,410 per year, or $20.39 per hour. This varies based on the region and local cost-of-living.
We don’t recommend offering significantly less than this wage. Otherwise, you risk a limited candidate pool and high employee turnover.
How the Predictive Index can help you hire the perfect accounts receivable specialist
No more relying on instinct. PI’s Hire module gives you all the data you need to make the right decision—backed by 60+ years of science.
With PI, you’ll receive an in-depth summary of every candidate that passes through your pipeline: where they excel, and where they might fall short. Afterwards, this summary is matched against the job requirements, giving you the best candidates for the job at a glance. Finally, we provide you with a customized interview guide, to make sure you’re asking the right questions.
Hiring an accounts receivable specialist isn’t easy, but you don’t have to settle for hit-or-miss hires. With a strong knowledge of the job, the required traits, and your candidate pool, you can stop struggling and get candidates you can ac-count on.