Updated: Sep 15
The administrative assistant is a role of great importance, since it has various functions that can be adapted to any environment or need. In this article we thoroughly analyze the responsibilities and attributes of different types of assistants and the main differences that exist between them when exercising their skills.
The responsibilities of an administrative assistant have changed a lot over time, due to the technological development and the emergence of new values in modern companies and institutions.
These activities are usually variable according to the business area of the company in which they work. For example, in specialized offices such as law firms, assistants usually have specific training to carry out certain activities.
But these activities can become much more extensive. On some occasions, administrative assistants must also take care of processing accounting information and even guaranteeing the operation of the company's technological resources.
Generally, however, an administrative assistant will have to take on the following responsibilities:
1. Manages phone calls and virtual communication
The category of customer service includes telephone and virtual service. In the case of telephone assistance, the orientation of clients and partners is included, as well as the organization and administration of agendas.
When it comes to virtual attention, the tasks will depend on the channels provided by the company for customer service or information management.
In some cases, it involves handling email, replying to, forwarding or archiving messages as needed.
In other cases, when the virtual communication channels are more diverse, other tasks may be included, such as attending to the public through chat systems or even answering questions through the company's social networks.
In addition, the administrative assistant is responsible for connecting the requests coming through these channels with the appropriate company personnel.
2. Attends visits
As important as communicating phone calls and emails , is taking care of being in contact with the people who visit the company. The administrative assistant will appropriately assist visitors in solving their requests within the company.
For small businesses that serve the public directly, the administrative assistant may be required to meet customers. When this happens, their work is aimed at guiding and serving them during their passage through the company's facilities.
In larger companies, the administrative assistant will have to attend visitors of another nature such as partners or large suppliers.
In this case, their mission will be to guide them in the fulfillment of their agenda and meetings with the management or other areas of the company.
3. Receives documents
The documents that arrive at the company are usually collected by the administrative assistant who will be in charge of verifying that they have been accepted by the company, either through a signature or a stamp. In addition, the assistant will deliver it to the appropriate department or staff member. The same procedure applies when it comes to sending documents.
4. Archives documents
One of the main functions of an administrative assistant is to help office members with document and file management. Usually this task is related to the storage, organization and management of files. He or she will also need to check them periodically to make sure nothing gets lost, and arrange documents in order to know their exact location so they can be accessed at any time.
5. Writes, edits and reviews documents
On certain occasions may also be necessary for the administrative assistant to write, edit and review documents.
In some companies they are asked to even take dictation of letters or notes and record the minutes of the meetings that take place.
There are cases when, for example when it comes to a law firm, specialized training is required to be able to fulfill these functions: the administrative assistant will need to understand the terminology and legal procedures.
On the other hand, administrative assistants working within the medical field need different skills. They must have the necessary training in dealing with patients and reading medical reports.
6. Performs basic calculations
The administrative assistant must know how to perform basic level calculations in order to manage invoices, the cost of customer orders. If needed, he or she can also take care of calculating staff salaries, tax deductions or social security contributions.
In some cases, the assistant is required to have training for the development of more complex tasks. For example, your responsibilities may include reporting accounting to management.
Usually this depends on the size of the company. A large company usually has more specialized roles; In these, the accounting information is managed by a person hired for that purpose.
However, one of the fundamental skills for any administrative assistant is mastering office accounting software, such as Microsoft Excel.
7. Communicates administrative related work within their department
Communication within the company is essential for its proper functioning. For this reason, the administrative assistant must transfer everything related to his or her work to their department. In this way, the assistant will be able to have a global vision of the work carried out by the team.
8. Keeps the agenda up to date
Managing agendas is often one of the most important tasks for administrative assistants. This responsibility includes receiving requests for appointments and meetings by phone, in person or online, and organizing them in the agenda according to defined criteria.
It also includes scheduling meetings inside and outside the company, work lunches and business trips.
In the latter cases it is also the responsibility of the assistant to book flights, hotels, restaurants or meeting rooms as necessary.
9. Plans events
Office event planning is also often the responsibility of administrative assistants. The size of this responsibility can be variable according to the size of the company.
An event can be simply a meeting or business lunch, but it can also be a larger conference or corporate party. In either case, the attendee must manage all the criteria related to the event.
This includes contacting vendors, making reservations, choosing menus and decoration, as well as contacting, inviting and confirming attendees, speakers and lecturers, if necessary.
10. Manages technological resources
Last but not least, the administrative assistant will have to be familiar with handling equipment such as computers, printers, scanners. In addition, they must also have knowledge of certain programs that will facilitate their daily work.
This can also include making backup copies of the information contained in computer equipment and updating antivirus, among other tasks.
On the other hand, it includes the management of equipment such as projectors and laptops. This type of duties are carried out by hiring technical personnel for the periodical maintenance of the equipment in order to avoid setbacks.
On a daily basis, some of the most important tasks of an administrative assistant are:
● Manage all calls, emails, correspondence and faxes, both incoming and outgoing, in addition to taking care of the general agenda
● Interact with clients and answer questions
● Archive, organize, save and review all kinds of documents
● Make photocopies
● Order supplies and arrange maintenance or repair of office equipment
● Organize meetings and take care of logistics
● Process and record information by updating databases or computer files
What describes a good Administrative Assistant?
As described above, the administrative assistant must meet several qualities, all of them focused on knowing how to deal with different people at different times. That is, knowing how to handle effective communication resources and having enough empathy to carry out communicative exchanges with clients, visitors or anyone with whom the company gets in touch.
An administrative assistant is also a source of multiple support because he or she can work in many areas, such as: human resources, accounting, marketing, sales, even in complete projects contributing specific ideas to it, in financial departments to facilitate payments, collections, among others.
The skills of an administrative assistant are framed by having a lot of patience, social development, planning and organization of their activities. At the same time, he or she also possesses excellent writing skills, a broad vocabulary, customer service, a great willingness to work in groups, and responsibility. Which is totally necessary, because this position includes many activities necessary for the company, highlighting their skills for communication and organization.
Due to the fact that the tasks of an administrative assistant are quite varied, companies look for quite specific attributes in them, as:
Organized and able to manage time effectively: This type of employment requires the person who performs it to carry out tasks in a certain time frame to be organized and detailed, and also able to prioritize tasks properly. Being able to handle several tasks at the same time and to work under pressure in a dynamic and active environment are also references for good organizational skills.
Analytical capacity and ability to resolve conflicts: These qualities can be translated into abilities to read and interpret information effectively, resolve conflicts efficiently and anticipate the customers needs and expectations.
Ease of interpersonal relationships: Within the profile of an administrative assistant, communication skills are considered very important. Either facing the public in terms of attending visits or effective communication with the rest of the office employees to transmit relevant information for their work. For this reason, companies look for professionals who have affinity for interpersonal relationships, who know how to lead and resolve conflicts.
Confidentiality of information: The administrative assistant has access to information regarding the internal finances of the institution, as well as personal information of the rest of the employees, such as salaries, contracts, functions, among others. Therefore, the administrative assistant must guarantee to the company that all information will be handled confidentially.
Goal-oriented: Especially when the nature of the company is related to sales or the management of large client portfolios. It is what seeks to evaluate the progress and progress in the activities, as well as to visualize the development and evolution of their work.
Willingness to learn: Constant learning is essential for the growth of every professional.
Dynamic and proactive: The administrative assistant must be up to date with all the processes related to public administrations, as long as the office or department in question is related to them. This means that he or she must know how to access this information and how often to consult it. Thus, being dynamic and proactive will be of great help to carry out coordination activities.
Never underestimate the role of an administration officer. They are profound and well rounded individuals who possess an exceptional array of talents and are often the backbone of any operations department in an organisation.