Accounts Payable Specialist Certification (Exam Cost Included)

This online course will prepare you for the Institute of Finance & Management's (IOFM) Accounts Payable Specialist (APS) certification. This associate-level certification focuses on intermediate financial operations skills.

Today's companies employ certified accounts payable professionals to ensure their expenses are accurately paid. With APS certification, you demonstrate your understanding of invoices, payments, T&E, Automation, and other key functions to potential employers. If you're new to the AP industry or plan to advance your career, the Accounts Payable Specialist course is for you.

3 Months / 30 Course Hrs
Open Enrollment
Offered in partnership with your preferred school

Columbus State University

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Accounts Payable Specialist Certification (Exam Cost Included)

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Course code: GES2074

What you will learn

  • Learn about best practices, accounts payable, internal controls, and tax and regulatory matters
  • Identify process improvements in the accounts payable function
  • Become familiar with automation technology and how it affects your profession

How you will benefit

  • Higher earning power - certified AP professionals earn more than their non-certified peers.
  • Sharper skills - certification builds skills - from fundamentals to advanced AP practices.
  • More respect - certification places you in an exclusive group of AP professionals whose skills are proven to meet a global standard of excellence.
  • A stronger resume - certification demonstrates that you've gone above and beyond to develop your skills and that you meet a rigorous training standard.

How the course is taught

  • Self-paced, online course
  • 3 Months to complete
  • Open enrollment, begin anytime
  • 30 course hours
  1. Introduction
  2. Overview
    1. Mission and Vision
    2. The Role and Impact of Accounts Payable
    3. The Importance of Professionalism
    4. Overview of AP Business Models
    5. Accounting Terms
  3. Internal Controls
    1. Overview: What are Internal Controls and Why Do They Matter?
    2. Types of Internal Controls
    3. Internal Control Legislation and Best Practice
    4. Fraud
    5. Detective Controls/Audits
    6. Record Retention and Destruction
    7. Writing Complaint Internal Control Policies and Procedures
  4. Tax and Regulatory
    1. Blocked and Denied Parties
    2. Reporting Income
    3. Other Federal Regulations
    4. Tax on Purchases
    5. Value Added Tax (VAT), Goods and Services Tax (GST), Consumption Tax (CT)
    6. Unclaimed Property and Escheatment
    7. Financial Reporting
    8. Audit Record-Gathering
  5. Vendor Master File
    1. Vendor Master Files Basics
    2. Vendor Verification
    3. Duplicate Vendor Check
    4. Vendor Setup Conventions
    5. Setting Up Vendors
    6. Changes to the VMF
    7. Maintaining the Vendor File
    8. Automated Solutions and Vendor Portals
    9. Monitoring Vendor Performance
  6. Invoices
    1. Invoice Fundamentals
    2. Receiving and Prepping invoices
    3. Entering Invoices
    4. Invoice Matching and Approvals
    5. Other Invoice Types
    6. Exceptions
  7. Payments
    1. Paper Checks
    2. Electronic Payments
    3. Card Payments
    4. Petty Cash
    5. Payment Issues
    6. Discount Management
  8. Travel and Entertainment (T&E)
    1. Understanding T&E Policies and Regulations
    2. Travel Cards
    3. Receipts
    4. Reimbursements
    5. Automation
    6. Policy Enforcement and Expense Auditing
    7. Fraud
    8. The Accountable Plan (U.S.)
  9. Technology and Automation
    1. Solution Types and Functions
    2. Overcoming Resistance to Change
    3. Security

Pam Miller

Pam Miller, Senior Trainer, IOFM, was the first candidate to earn AP certification as an Accredited Payables Manager (APM) with distinction. Her professional background includes 15 years as Director of AP at BMC Select. She is recognized in the accounts payable industry as an innovator and an early adopter of AP related technologies. Before working in AP, she spent six years in the IT industry, implementing point of sale software.

Judy Bicking

Judy Bicking, APM, is a Senior Trainer for IOFM and a 27-year veteran of Johnson & Johnson. She is a recognized pioneer and leader in Procure-to-Pay and Credit Management. After a career in AR and AP management, Judy leads the development and implementation of J&J's two Shared Service Centers, located in the U.S and Europe. These shared services handle over 2.5 million invoices across 200 decentralized companies.


The Accounts Payable Specialist Certification course is specifically designed to help individuals with prior AP knowledge become certified. IOFM recommends that you meet one of the following for APS certification:

  • No degree = 3 yrs. AP experience
  • 2-year degree = 2 yrs. AP experience
  • 4-year degree = 1 yr. AP experience


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC or Mac.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox is preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.

Yes, IOFM Accounts Payable Specialist (APS) Certification Exam.

This course is open enrollment, so you can register and start the course as soon as you are ready. Access to your course can take 24-48 business hours.

This course is self-paced and open enrollment, so you can start when you want and finish at your own pace. When you register, you'll receive three (3) months to complete the course.

The time allotted for course completion has been calculated based on the number of course hours. However, if you are unable to complete the course, contact the student advising team to see what options you may have available to work out a suitable completion date. Please note that an extension fee may be charged.

Our courses are designed to accommodate various learning preferences. Depending on the course structure, you may get different forms of support. Self-paced courses are designed to be user-friendly and independent, minimizing the need for external support. In courses with instructors, our direct platform support feature includes opportunities for questions, discussions, and remediation, with email and phone support available for select courses. Our student advising team is available to guide you on program requirements and administrative requests, but they do not provide assistance with course content. Our goal is to provide you with the necessary support for success, whether it's through self-paced exploration, direct communication, or guidance from our advising team.

Upon successful completion of the course, you will be awarded a Certificate of Completion.

This course will provide you with the skills you need to obtain an entry-level position in most cases. Potential students should always do research on the job market in their area before registering.

This course is non-credit, so it does not qualify for federal aid, FAFSA and Pell Grant. In some states, vocational rehab or workforce development boards will pay for qualified students to take our courses. Additionally, some students may qualify for financial assistance when they enroll, if they meet certain requirements. Financing is available from select schools. Learn more about financial assistance.

If you have questions that are not answered on our website, representatives are available via LIVE chat. You can also call us at 1-877-221-5151 during regular business hours to have your questions promptly answered. If you are visiting us during non-business hours, please send us a question using the "Contact Us" form.