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Certified Accounts Payable Professional Certification: Details on Examination and Certification for Certified Accounts Payable Professionals

Written by AnonymousSeptember 21, 2011

If you’re looking to improve your career in accounting, obtaining an accounting certificate is an excellent first step. Accounting certifications can expand your accounting knowledge and increase your proficiency in a specific area of the accounting field.

Introduction to Certified Accounts Payable Professional Certification

In order to receive certification as a Certified Accounts Payable Professional (CAPP), applicants must pass a challenging certification exam, maintain a certain level of continuing education requirements, and fulfill minimum employment and work experience requirements. The CAPP program’s emphasis on evaluation, coupled with its rigorous continued education requirements, combine to make it a respected certificate designation among employers. As a certification, a CAPP designation can

  • Enhance your professional credibility
  • Provide greater job opportunities
  • Increase your marketability in the eyes of employers

Steps to Certified Accounts Payable Professional Certification

In order become certified, you must meet a strict set of criteria upheld by International Accounts Payable Professionals (IAPP), which issues the CAPP credential. The IAPP requires that you

Pass the CAPP certification exam.

Pay the fee for exam registration of $275 for IAPP members and $375 for non-members. (This fee doesn’t include the qualification application fee, which is also required and is $25 for IAPP members and $50 for non-members.)

  • Meet IAPP’s education and work experience criteria.
  • Consistently demonstrate ethical work behavior and practices.
  • Provide employment verification.
  • Agree to uphold the IAPP Code of Ethics and its five core principles (integrity, objectivity, confidentiality, professionalism, and competency).

CAPP certification requires that you have considerable accounts payable experience while performing in a managerial role. If you have a degree in a relevant discipline, a portion of the required work experience may be waived. However, if you don’t have a degree, more managerial experience is needed as noted:

  • If you have a bachelor’s degree or higher in accounting/finance, you need a minimum of two years of managerial experience
  • If you have an associate’s degree, you need a minimum of three years of managerial experience
  • If you don’t have a degree, you need a minimum of five years of managerial experience

Your work experience only counts toward the requirement if it was accomplished within one year prior to the exam date — it must be verified in writing by your supervisor.

Details of the Certified Accounts Payable Professional Exam

The CAPP certification exam, which is administered in the fall and in the spring, is designed to evaluate your proficiency in the knowledge and skills required of an accounts payable specialist. The closed book, proctored exam covers the following content:

  • Relationships and responsibilities: Including knowledge of managerial tasks and how customers conduct business transactions with a company (16 percent of exam)
  • Invoice processing functions: Including invoice handling, research and document resolution of problem invoices, debit balance review and recovery, matching, and payment processing (16 percent of exam)
  • Travel and entertainment: Including travel card administration and analyzing employee expense report data (9 percent of exam)
  • Internal controls: Including vendor master files, cash management, audits, and fraud controls (15 percent of exam)
  • Tax and regulatory issues: Including reporting, sales and use tax, and running payment files (21 percent of exam)
  • Technology applications: Including accounts payable software and paper invoice management (9 percent of exam)
  • Additional topics: Operational analysis, outsourcing and/or shared services, benefits, and liabilities (14 percent of exam)

If you accidently miss your scheduled exam date, you may only reschedule your exam once. Any subsequent requests for rescheduling your exam require you to pay the full exam fee again.

Because you aren’t penalized for getting a question wrong, the IAPP recommends that you answer all questions on the test — whether or not you’re sure of the answer — in order to maximize the chances of answering correctly.

Preparing for the Certified Accounts Payable Professional Exam

Detailed outlines of each topic can be found on the IAPP website, which also offers study materials and exam preparation classes for an additional fee.

Preparing for the CAPP exam is a self-paced process that depends on the individual, but IAPP recommends studying for at least three months prior to taking the test.

Maintaining the Certified Accounts Payable Professional Designation

In order to maintain your CAPP credential, you must be recertified every two years. In order maintain your certification, you must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Earn 40 or more continuing professional education (CPE) credits every two years
  • Pay any recertification fees if you are not an IAPP member (IAPP members may recertify at no charge)
  • Comply with all standards outlined in the IAPP Code of Ethics

Maintaining continuing professional education (CPE) training is central to the CAPP program. All applicants must select appropriate continuing educational programs. Course preapproval isn’t required, but in order to qualify, the educational program must meet the guidelines outlined on the IAPP website. A minimum of 40 CPE credits must be earned every two years.

If you earn more than the required 40 CPE credits within a two-year term, the additional credits can’t be carried forward into the future term.

Activities that qualify as acceptable include formal educational programs that contribute directly to maintaining professional competence and development. Some examples include

  • Additional classes in finance and accounting
  • Subscriptions to industry publications
  • Delivering oral presentations on accounts payable topics
  • Participation in a relevant professional job

The amount of credit earned is determined by the length of the educational activity, with 50 minutes counting toward one CPE credit.

Governing Board Information

The IAPP is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the advancement of accounts payable professionals. They can be contacted through their affiliate:

The Institute of Financial Operations
615 East Colonial Drive
Orlando, FL 32803