Accounts Payable?

Hopefully everything's good WSO.

I'm interviewing for an Accounts Payable position with a top hedge fund. Obviously it is BO and entry-level but I wanted to know what some of the responsibilities and work will be like?

Also, is there any experience/skills that I can leverage out of an opportunity like this? Does the name of the firm at least say something if it is very well known?

Comments (9)

Dec 13, 2013

AP means you pay the firm's bills. Im all for success stories and beating the odds, but this would be really tough.

Id imagine the brand of the firm would help if you wanted to stay in AP or other BO roles, but everybody knows what AP does and I just dont see the brand helping you move into MO roles (def not FO).

Dec 13, 2013

@td12, thanks for the feedback.

I was told by my interviewer that the firm likes to hire people who can progress and grow into other roles and that unlike other places, the A/P department has a lot of exposure to the entire finance department so he said it operates almost like a corporate finance department of a big company because the firm is very large.

Currently, they are growing rapidly, and are in the process of streamlining to more automation in the entire department and they are hoping to hire someone who can be successful as the role becomes more analysis oriented and less "robotic".

To me these two things make the position more desirable and at this point I need to get some experience. I'm gonna have to hope the name of the firm does something for me if the opportunity for advancement within/internally does not play out. (Assuming I get an offer)

Dec 13, 2013
PaperTrail44:

@td12, thanks for the feedback.

I was told by my interviewer that the firm likes to hire people who can progress and grow into other roles and that unlike other places, the A/P department has a lot of exposure to the entire finance department so he said it operates almost like a corporate finance department of a big company because the firm is very large.

Currently, they are growing rapidly, and are in the process of streamlining to more automation in the entire department and they are hoping to hire someone who can be successful as the role becomes more analysis oriented and less "robotic".

To me these two things make the position more desirable and at this point I need to get some experience. I'm gonna have to hope the name of the firm does something for me if the opportunity for advancement within/internally does not play out. (Assuming I get an offer)

I'd be wary of these types of explanations from the firm. They want good AP people just like they want good traders so they'll try to make it sound as enticing as they can. But the fact is that AP, as mentioned above, is simply a bill-paying post. You'd likely have a much better chance of moving to the front office if you went to a regional CPA or Big 4 firm, and even from there the chances are very slim. But then again, you really do hear stories of mail-room to C-suite, and though less common now, it could happen.

Dec 13, 2013

The quick answer is you pay the bills. But once you master the mechanics of the job, hopefully your boss/co-workers will help you learn basics of fin statements, assist with month end, work on actual accounting instead of bookkeeping. Try to get an understanding of GAAP. Also, show you understand the little things matter and you are responsible, network your way into different roles by doing this and showing your commitment to the firm.

Dec 13, 2013

Thanks for all the feedback guys. I don't have any actual work experience with Accounting, but have been enrolled in the CFA program and hopefully passed Level I last weekend. I know CFA is geared more towards analysis but I believe the foundations and understandings of Financial Statements which it provides along with the undergraduate classes in accounting I've taken I should have a decent understanding?

My question is this: How much does actual accounting practice, whether in an (A/P) role or from a general perspective in a corporate accounting setting, differ from the academic practices/concepts we learn with a BS in Finance or through the CFA Program?

Thanks!

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Dec 13, 2013

Real life is much easier. One of my first jobs was AP, before my first day I was reading over my accounting text books, highlighting topics, practicing my debits & credits, etc.. But when I arrived my first day it was so easy. Just use common sense, have a general understanding of the position, and the biggest issue you might have will be getting used to the software they use. I'm sure if you get stuck on something there is a video explaining how to use the software on youtube.

Feel free to ask me any other questions, happy to help.

Dec 13, 2013

Like the user above mentioned, firms spin that opportunity to grow/expand stuff all the time.

Do you have a job description? Maybe that will shed some light on whether this is really a hybrid AP/corp finance position

Dec 13, 2013

Not trying to be a debbie downer, just want you to make the most educated decision

Dec 13, 2013
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