Difference Between Purchase & Sales Ledger TNP - The Niche Partnership

What is the difference between purchase ledger and sales ledger?

The structure of a finance team can at first appear complex. There’s a purchase ledger clerk/assistant, then a sales ledger clerk/assistant, or is it accounts payable? Wait, is it accounts receivable? What’s credit control, then? It’s no wonder people get confused!

Those looking to embark on a career in finance may wonder about the best route for them. Here’s our quick overview of each role and an explanation of the differences between the purchase and sales ledger.

What is the purchase ledger?

The purchase ledger is the record of a company’s purchases. A detailed breakdown of unpaid bills is held on the balance sheet known as “accounts payable”.

The purchase ledger is an account which records transactions for each supplier.

What are the duties of a purchase ledger?

Working in the purchase ledger team/role, you’ll be responsible for processing purchase orders and expenses.

Daily, the duties will typically include:

  • Processing supplier purchase orders
  • Checking invoices for accuracy and formatting
  • Creating credit accounts with new suppliers that facilitate payments
  • Updating new suppliers’ details

The Niche Partnership

We specialise in the recruitment of accountancy and finance professionals across the South. Contact us for more information or to submit your CV.

What is the sales ledger?

The sales ledger is the record of a company’s sales. All money that has been received or is still owed by customers is held on the balance sheet (or similar), known as “trade debtors” or “accounts receivable”.

The sales ledger contains an account for each customer and records transactions for each; examples of these activities include sales invoices, sales credit notes and payments received.

What are the duties of a sales ledger?

A sales ledger clerk/assistant’s duties include producing invoices and chasing up outstanding debts. The sales ledger is typically the administrative side of credit control – i.e. ensuring the product that has been sold is recorded correctly, including any tax and VAT and creating a bill, also known as an invoice, to send to clients. While credit control is typically more focused on outbound telephone work chasing payments.

Daily, the duties will typically include:

  • Setting up new clients
  • Creating invoices
  • Banking and reconciliation
  • Running off turnover statements (details of all payments from an organisation to its employees)

What is the difference between a purchase ledger and a sales ledger role?

Both purchase ledger and sales ledger roles involve working with the broader business. In a purchase ledger role, you will often need to speak to other team members to get authorisation for invoices to be paid. As a sales ledger clerk or a credit controller, you will sometimes have to talk to the sales team about a particular customer to understand who worked with this person, what was sold to them and if there were any special conditions.

The Niche Partnership

We specialise in the recruitment of accountancy and finance professionals across the South. Contact us for more information or to submit your CV.

If you’re new to the finance team and you’re considering which role would suit you best, here are some things to think about;

  • Do you have good attention to detail? If yes, a purchase ledger could be a good option for you!
  • Are you confident in speaking with customers? If the answer is yes, sales ledger (or credit control specifically) may be well suited to you.
  • Do you enjoy persuading customers and hitting targets? If yes, ‘credit controllers’ are often targeted on debt recouped and sometimes several calls!
  • Do you enjoy dealing with and fixing queries? If yes, a purchase ledger could be the right path for you.
  • Do you like creating solutions for people and negotiating where needed? If yes, the sales ledger might be for you! Quite often, people are resistant to pay, so you have to be able to come up with payment plans or accept a smaller amount (for now)!

What are examples of average salaries for purchase ledger and sales ledger roles?

We canvassed many job seekers and employers to calculate our salary estimates. It is worth noting that the location and experience for either role can extend the upper salary range beyond £27,000.

What is the average purchase ledger clerk salary?

An average salary ranges from entry-level £21,000 to  £26,000 per annum.

What is the average sales ledger clerk salary?

An average salary is similar to a purchase ledger clerk: £21,000 to £26,000 per annum.

For further insight, click here to check out our other blogs. For more detailed salary survey insights, read our Salary Guide. If you’re looking for your next role, contact our team at [email protected] to see how we can help!

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The Niche Partnership

We specialise in the recruitment of accountancy and finance professionals across the South. Contact us for more information or to submit your CV.

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