Becoming a Payment Analyst: Salary & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a payment analyst career? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary info to see if becoming a payment analyst is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Payment Analyst

As a payment analyst, you'll create financial records, often with the assistance of accounting software. Learn more about the pros and cons of a career as a payment analyst to make an informed decision about your education.

Pros of Being a Payment Analyst
Minimal education requirements (a high school diploma is enough for many positions)*
Often receive extensive on-the-job training*
Typically work in a comfortable office environment*
Many work a standard 40-hour week*

Cons of Being a Payment Analyst
About 25% work part time*
Overtime may be required to meet deadlines*
Requires a high level of attention to detail and accuracy*
Repetitive tasks may become boring**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*Net OnLine.

Essential Career Info

Job Description

A payment analyst is a billing or accounting worker who creates financial records by posting financial transactions. They often use spreadsheets, booking software or accounting programs to keep track of data. Other common responsibilities include producing reports, such as income statements and balance sheets, checking statements for accuracy, receiving payments and reconciling accounts.

Most payment analysts work in an office environment, and many of their job duties involve inputting data into computers. According to the BLS, many of these workers are employed on a full-time basis, but about 25% are employed on a part-time schedule. Overtime may also be required during certain times of the year, such as when audits are conducted, prior to tax time or at the end of a company's fiscal year.

Salary and Job Prospects

While salary statistics specifically for payment analysts weren't readily available, the BLS indicated that, as of May 2014, bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks earned a median annual salary of about $36,000. The highest paid 10% earned about $56,000 or more, while the lowest paid 10% earned around $22,000 or less. The BLS predicted that jobs for bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks would increase 11% from 2012-2022, which is considered as fast as average.

Education and Training Requirements

A high school diploma or its equivalent is the typical entry-level requirement to become a payment analyst. However, the BLS indicates employers could prefer a candidate who has taken postsecondary accounting courses or earned an associate's degree. As of 2009, the BLS indicated that about 25% of these professionals held at least an associate's degree.

Most payment analyst jobs provide on-the-job training, mainly because specific company procedures and policies concerning payments need to be taught. Additionally, analysts may need to learn the software programs used by a particular company. A supervisor or experienced professional usually administers training, and it typically takes about six months to complete.

Useful Skills

Payment analysts often handle a large volume of financial records. To succeed in this position, the following qualifications are often beneficial or even essential:

  • The organizational ability to keep track of various financial data
  • An eye for detail to avoid making errors
  • Computer skills to operate bookkeeping software and create spreadsheets
  • Mathematical knowledge to perform basic calculations

What do Employers Look For?

Organizations posting employment ads typically requested previous experience in a particular industry. Other desired qualifications could include knowledge of particular software or office technology. The following job postings obtained in May 2012 can provide an idea of the qualifications employers seek:

  • A hospital in Pennsylvania advertised for an insurance payment analyst to work in a medical billing environment. Required qualifications included a high school diploma or its equivalent, at least one year of previous experience in accounting or bookkeeping, previous experience working in a medical billing environment or a patient care facility and coursework in or a year of experience with medical terminology. Other necessary qualifications included the ability to use computers and basic office technology and the interpersonal skills to interface with staff and third party representatives.
  • A staffing company is looking for a temporary payment verification analyst to work for a healthcare facility in Wisconsin. Candidates should possess an associate's degree in accounting or equivalent experience and at least a year of experience in a healthcare-billing environment. Job responsibilities include posting payments, verifying payments and reconciling accounts.
  • A Massachusetts medical center is seeking a contract payment analyst to work 38 hours per week. Requirements include a high diploma or its equivalent and at least two years of computer-based medical billing experience. Other desired qualifications include an associate's degree or billing certification and knowledge of MediTech and Harvest.

How to Get an Edge in the Field

The BLS and O*Net, part of the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration, recommend ways to enhance your skills, and, potentially, your employability. One is to keep up-to-date on the latest computer accounting technology. O*Net indicates that the majority of the tasks and responsibilities a payment analyst performs require knowledge of accounting software and basic mathematical principles. You may be able to obtain basic knowledge in these areas by taking high school courses in mathematics and computer technology.

Obtain Certification

Certification is available for bookkeepers through the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB). The AIPB represents the professional interests of bookkeepers and payment analysts and offers the Certified Bookkeeper (CBs) credential. To earn it, payment analysts are required to have at least 2-years of full-time or part-time professional bookkeeping experience, pass the 4-part certification exam and sign a code of ethics. Additionally, they must complete continuing education courses every three years to maintain their certification.

Another option is to obtain certification through the National Bookkeepers Association (NBA). The organization awards bookkeeper certification to professionals who can pass the Uniform Bookkeeper Certification Examination with a score of 80% or higher.

Other Careers to Consider

If the work of a payment analyst appeals to you but you're seeking a career with a higher salary, consider becoming a loan officer or accountant. The education requirements of a loan officer are fairly similar, while those of an accountant are lengthier, but both careers offer a substantially higher salary.

Loan Officer

Loan officers are responsible for advising applicants about different types of loans and determining whether or not they qualify to borrow money. A high school diploma and on-the-job training are generally required to become a loan officer, though individuals who lend money to companies typically need a bachelor's degree. While the BLS predicted that jobs for loan officers would increase 14% from 2010-2020, which was the same as projected for payment analysts, the salary earned by loan officers is typically much higher. As of May 2011, the median yearly salary for these professionals was about $55,000. The lowest paid 10% earned about $31,000 or less, while the highest paid 10% made around $106,000 or more.

Accountant or Auditor

If you're willing to spend the time earning at least a bachelor's in accounting or a similar area, you can pursue a career as an accountant or auditor. These professionals are responsible for analyzing financial statements, making recommendations to cut costs and raise profits, maintaining financial records and determining the amount of tax a business owes. The BLS projected that jobs for accounts and auditors would increase 16% between 2010 and 2020, which is about the same as the predicted increase for payment analyst jobs. However, accountants and auditors earned a median annual salary of about $63,000, as of May 2011, which is nearly double what payment analysts made during the same reporting period. The lowest paid 10% made about $40,000 or less, while the highest paid 10% earned about $110,000 or more.

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Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • Master - Accounting
  • Bachelor: Accounting
  • Associate: Accounting

Which subject are you interested in?

Herzing University

  • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Public Safety Leadership
  • Bachelor: Accounting
  • Associate of Science - Accounting
  • Diploma: Bookkeeping and Payroll Accounting

What is your highest level of education?

Seton Hall University

  • Master of Science in Accounting
  • Master of Business Administration - Accounting
  • Master of Science Professional Accounting

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American InterContinental University

  • Master of Business Administration - Accounting
  • Bachelor of Business Admin - Accounting
  • Associate of Arts in Business Administration

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Keiser University

  • B.A. - Accounting
  • B.A. - Business Admin: Finance
  • Associate of Arts - Accounting

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Johns Hopkins University

  • Master of Science in Government Analytics

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Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Advanced Accounting
  • PhD in Business Admin - Advanced Accounting
  • MS - Accounting
  • MBA - Financial Management

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George Mason University

  • Master of Business Administration

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