Purchase ledger clerk

If you're one of the lucky few that finds it easy to keep track of money (often by not spending it), how would you feel about turning that skill into a career? Believe it or not, it exists, we're talking about the role of a purchase ledger clerk.




So, what will I actually be doing?

If you’re someone who likes to hold the purse strings you’ll enjoy the job of a purchase ledger clerk as you’ll oversee money being paid out by the company you work for.

Your responsibilities will depend on the size of the company you work for, and you may have sole control over payments or work as part of a much bigger purchase ledger team. Purchase ledger clerks are expected to be able to:

  • Code and check invoices
  • Work out VAT payments (so you'll finally be able to use your GCSE maths)
  • Pay out money via BACS or by cheque
  • Check and reconcile supplier statements
  • File invoices and statements
  • Deal with purchase enquiries
  • Process staff expenses

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The finer details...

This is primarily a desk-based job with plenty of paper work to sift through each day, so if you hate admin, this might not be the job for you. Full time hours are 9-5, Monday to Friday but there are usually plenty of part-time, flexible and temporary opportunities as a purchase ledger clerk for those that want it.

Once you have some experience and have got the right qualifications, you can move up to a supervisor or team manager role. From there, you can study for an accountancy qualification and train to become an accounting technician or management accountant.

Money, money, money

This is an entry-level position, so your salary will range from £16-£23k per year, depending on experience and qualifications.

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The good points...

"I really enjoy the constant challenge and non-stop work every day," says Daniel.

...and the bad

"Receiving all the complaints from suppliers when it’s not my fault that haven't been paid."

Is there study involved?

Although not a prerequisite, many employers will look for GCSEs in Maths and English but strong IT skills and some bookkeeping experience will give your CV a real boost.

Those taking their first steps in accounting should consider enrolling with the Association of Accounting Technicians to take their Level 1 qualification (roughly equivalent to GCSE grades A-C), which includes training in:

  • Double entry book-keeping
  • Basic costing principles
  • Purchase, sales and general ledgers

It's also useful to get trained in some computer software, so understanding software packages such as Excel, Sage, Microsoft Dynamics and BACS will give you a further advantage when applying for purchase ledger roles.

Need additional qualifications? Find a course at our Learning Zone

OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?

"You need a thick skin, commitment and great organisational skills," says Daniel Binder, a purchase ledger clerk at the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT). Those who are clear-headed and methodical with a good head for figures make great purchase ledger clerks. Employers will also look for:

  • Great communications skills
  • Self discipline
  • Strong team player
  • Good awareness of deadlines
  • A calm manner when dealing with hot-headed clients


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