Finance News & Insights

What's the take-home for an AP director?

The prominence of the Accounts Payable department has increased in recent years, so what does the portrait of an average firm’s AP director look like? 

According to IOMA’s recent AP compensation survey, the average Accounts Payable director earns $98,457 per year and brings to the table an average of 23.5 years of overall work experience — with around 16 years of experience specific to AP.

The numbers vary slightly depending on the size of the organization.

AP directors at smaller companies (200 employees or less) earn $95,750 annually; the head of AP at companies with between 1,000 to 5,000 employees makes $101,400 per year on average.

The study also broke down the salaries by industry and found that AP directors at manufacturing firms were the highest earners at $121,667.

Here’s an additional salary breakdown by industry:

  • Utilities and transportation, $111,667
  • Wholesale, retail and distribution, $111,400
  • Nonprofits and charitable groups, $85,000, and
  • Educational organizations, $74, 143.

Do these salaries seem consistent with organizations in your area? Leave a comment in our Comments Section.

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  • Donna

    What exactly discribes an AP Director?

  • Nancy Beals

    Although not classified as a Director, I would be interested in learning about the pay scale for accounts payable specialist positions. I have been doing a/p for 16 years and are responsible for 7 different organizations within our corporation. No college background in this area, just “hands on”. I am located in Colorado with a non-profit corporation. Thank you!

  • I too would be interested in the answer to Nancy Beal’s question. I’m working for a non profit hospital in Michigan. We have over 225 employees and I am the only person who does Accounts Payable. This is considered a 20 hour a week job. The rest of my time is spent working on Fixed Assets, some general ledger issues and resolving imbalances resulting from gl to payroll entries. In addition, I research and file all unclaimed property reports.
    Thank you.

  • Kathy Perkins

    I’m with you, Nancy. I’ve been doing AP for 25 years. My responsibilities have expanded to payroll, sales and use taxes, corporate taxes, 1099 reporting, month end close responsibilities, cash management, policy and procedure document initiation, and the usual “additional responsibilities as required”. I’ve enjoyed the “on the job”/trial by fire learning (for US and Canada) but what is a realistic pay scale? My office is in Illinois. Thank you.

  • cynthia

    Although, I’m not sure, I think that an A/P Director is someone who handles multiple departments of A/P personnel. The title given: “DIRECTOR”. This would basically be someone who works for a larger company. Can we get some feedback on someone who has more info on this? I would be interested to know about someone who does FULL CHARGE Bookkeeping. My salary doesn’t come anywhere close to this; I’m in CA

  • DC Metro

    I also don’t know what makes up a “director”, however, I have for the past year plus soloed in my company in AP which consists of many government contracts/vendors. I also handle sales and use taxes, 1099 reporting, some month end duties, in addition to daily cash reconciliation, making bank deposits etc. I reconcile 3 different GL accounts on a monthly basis. I have an Associates Degree in accounting and about 30 years expereince.

  • Southern Belle

    I’m with the rest of you … what is an AP Director? I work for a small company 10-18 employees and am the only accounting person … I do AP, AR, GL, billing, collections, cash management, submitting PR to ADP, 1099 reporting, month-end, fixed assets, account recon, systems management (for our accounting/project managment software), and anything else that needs to be done, including graphic design! Before the recession when I was working full time, I finally reached $60K. I have 25 years of experience in AP (35 years total office/management experience), some college (no degree), on-the-job training plus seminars. I would like to know more about the salary range as I may be looking in the not-too-distant future.

  • AW

    I am in the same boat – only an Associate’s degree but over 20 years experience and the sole accounting person in our office. I also prep Corporate tax returns and personal taxes on the side.
    Unfortunatlely since I have been at the same company I am maxed out on what thye will pay and most “new” positions require a bachelor’s degree without much regard to experience. It is quite frustrating because I cannot demand the higher paid jobs without that degree. Experience and actual practical knowledge used to count for something !

  • T Wines

    Not to change the subject, but I would also be interested in seeing something on the pay scale and job description of an executive administrative assistant. When I started out I was the assistant to the President of the company and was also available to the VP’s if needed, now, I am assistanting everyone from CFO to Managers of Branches if necessary. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to be working in these times, but it would also be nice to know what the standards are or have changed to. I have an Associates Degree of Applied Science and am currently working on my BBA in order to make myself more marketable.

  • Roger Griffis

    Our mfg. company has 200 employees and sales of $50,000,000 per year. We process 1300+ billing invoices per month and approx. 1200 A/P vouchers per month. I pay one clerk to do both at $33,000 per year. I can’t believe a company at 200 employees would pay $50-60,000 or higher for those jobs.

  • andrea orton

    i been in AP for 6 years .We have 360 employees and Outside Vendors and im the Only Ap person .

    im interested in the answer as well from Nancy .

    I do only AP for the Oraganization .


    No disrepect intended, but for many of us there’s a lot more to our jobs than processing AP/AR. My companies staff reduction has resulted in new responsibilities previously handled by our Senior Financial Analyst. This person was very “papered” and I am not. It seems the big question is still what is an AP Director? I’d like to tag on the question “Is there any school of thought about what experience is worth compared to “new” paper?

  • Cindy

    I have a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and I do all the accounting, payroll, and reports in addition to all the HR employee benefits, etc. for a construction business with 60 employees and annual sales of $12M. I don’t make anywhere close to those numbers. But I love my job, my co-workers, my boss and the freedom I have in my job, so it’s difficult to put a dollar value on that!

  • Kay

    I need answers to all of the above – I have exact same education / years of experience / duties and all with pay no where near what was listed!

  • 360 Degree Accountant

    To all my fellow Accountants out there either by education or experience…it all comes down to what “Value” your senior management puts on the Accounting Department Functions. At my company, although private, our accounting department is vital to what the company does because we control the flow and reporting of valuable financial accounting data. I think the titles and fancy names is over-rated and to be honest with you all, where did they get their market research from? Los Angeles, New York, San Fransico, San Jose or some other over priced place to live that has unrealistic salary payouts. It is not rocket science to figure out how to input payment terms into your accounting software or figure out how to do a cash forecast for check runs, capital expenditures, payroll runs or whatever else uses up cash. Accounts Payable is a very important function but it is very elementary in practice. Simply extend the time to payment and if they don’t charge a penalty then extend and wait for the phone call to pay…it is as simple as that.

  • Susan

    Well, I’m getting cheated I guess. I’m the only A/P person for a company that employs about 350 people. I do all of the end of the year 1099 reporting stuff as well as monitoring the company credit cards, fuel cards, etc. along with other tasks I’ve acquired over the past 7 years. I have a college degree but not in any type of business or accounting and I’m in TN. But, my pay is not even in the ballpark for what you’ve listed here. Guess I need to move huh….lol. I think your “take home pay” is a little far fetched though for most regular A/P people. Maybe if you were over an extremely large company that required you to directly supervise 4 or 5 people or more. Like maybe if you did A/P for Donald Trump or something.

  • 360 Degree Accountant

    Susan and everybody else, I would have to agree on your statements. But, with the advancement of technology in regards to the functional aspects of accounting overall and with cost controls as they are for reporting purposes, I would have to side with the people being over paid. Remember in todays economic times…”CASH IS KING!!!” So, the longer you hang on to it the better. I would have to say Accounts Payable although very important is simply a systematic progress of maintaining your cash outflows. The days of tracking an A/P Ledger manually is over. It is all automated in such programs as SAP, Oracle, Peoplesoft Financials or even basic programs as Peach Tree or Quick Books. I think the mystic of “what people actually do” and their “perception of the importance of what they actually do” is in reality a wide margin. The whole point of these fancy accounting software programs is to take all the hardwork out of the accounting job. We all have to remember that an accounting system is only as good as the information that is entered into it by it’s users. I hear people commenting on I track this, I track that and I maintain whatever…really come on? You enter it once during setup and make a few changes here and there as time goes on but the accounting software does all the necessary functions needed. Don’t overwork yourself selecting the year-end function option and hitting print day-end, month-end or even year-end reports. Now, I am Financial Controller with a degree in Accounting and Finance and have an Executive MBA, but I wish they would of told me a fancy accounting software would do all the hard work after you graduate, I wouldn’t of tried so hard. Just kidding…but, what I think is missing these days is that people that work in accounting dapartments (A/P, A/R or Payroll) don’t have the analytical ability to really understand what they are doing and how it affects the financial statements. Don’t even get me started on the Costing side of Accounting that is another whole topic to discuss. Don’t what to get to far off of the subject matter of what a A/P Director gets paid but in reality good for them and they were in the right place, at the right time and had the right answer…if it were you, you wouldn’t complian or would you? Also, remember if you were not doing the job someone else would, so don’t over price yourself in today’s market but at the same time don’t sell yourself short either. If you have a job, make yourself an asset and not a liability because in today’s time believe me there are a lot of over qualified people out there willing to work for less to make ends meet. Reality is what you make of it and if you have put in the work to make a nice salary then 9 times out of 10 you deserve it. If I had 23.5 years of experience as mentioned, I better be getting paid in that range as well.

  • 360 Degree Accountant

    How ironic is this feature by the publishers?

    It says it all in a matter of 5 sentences…but sentence number 5 is the big winner…”How automated is your AP Department…LOL!!!

    What’s the take-home for an AP director?
    The prominence of the Accounts Payable department has increased in recent years, so what does the portrait of an average firm’s AP director look like? More…
    How automated is your AP department?
    Almost all AP departments have some degree of automation but, for many, there’s plenty of room for more. More…

  • Other variant is possible also

  • Pingback: The role of ‘where’ in what A/P managers take-home | | No-nonsense Finance news and insights to grow your bottom line()

  • jennifer gates

    the info seems right on for AP director salaries. At a large tech distribution firm (10k plus employees) that I worked at, the AP director starting salary was right around 100k. This encompassed a department of around 35 employees with two sr managers and six ap managers under the director managing the employees. An AP “Director” would never be classified as someone who does not manage a larger group of employees without additionl managment beneath them.

  • Nancy Beals

    So, I guess the answer is an AP Director is someone that manages a substantial group of people including sub groups in a department type environment.

    Thank you to all that responded. It was very interesting to read the comments.