An Executive Assistant is probably the most versatile and necessary piece of the corporate puzzle. No longer limited to generic secretarial duties like answering phones and running errands, today's executive and administrative assistants may find themselves wearing multiple hats within their companies, including management of personnel, schedules and financial information. "There are amazing possibilities in this profession," says Stacy Leitner, executive assistant to the city manager of Rancho Cordova, California.
One of the most important roles of an executive administrative assistant is to be the right hand to either one or a group of executives. The assistant may support the company CEO, President, Vice President or any number of other high-level titles. Most common duties at this level are travel arrangements, schedule management, setting up meetings or appointments and keeping records of business and personal expenses. The assistant may also sit in on board meetings or other appointments to take minutes or to attend in the place of an unavailable executive.
Another executive assistant duty is serving as a liaison between office staff and higher-level executives. Employees who need information but want to avoid troubling company executives see the administrative assistant as their advocate. The executive assistant should be well prepared to provide advice or suggestions for any employee concern. The assistant may also be placed in charge of employee supervision, time card management, new hire training or orientation and vacation approvals.
The administrative assistant is most likely also the office manager. In this role, tasks include keeping up with office supply inventory and ordering supplies and equipment, paying utility bills, working with contractors and service companies and stocking the kitchen and break room. Office management can also include serving as the first point of contact for clients and outside visitors, either on the phone or at the front desk.
Administrative and executive assistants are also responsible for document creation. This includes meeting minutes and agendas, information reports, client presentations, letters, memos, company-wide email blasts and fliers. In addition to creating documents, the assistant may also serve as document editor and proofreader.
Because of their proximity to upper-level management, administrative and executive assistants have access to highly sensitive and confident information, such as information pertaining to employee payroll, upcoming company layoffs or mergers, internal company investigations, legal documents and financial records. It is the assistant's duty to keep these types of information protected and remain objective and discreet at all times.
It's clear that an executive administrative assistant wears a variety of important hats. A successful assistant is able to juggle multiple responsibilities with varying degrees of urgency. In addition to being technically savvy and highly organized, you should continue to learn new technological skills and relevant trends for your specific industry. Executive assistants who continually improve on their skill sets remain a vital part of their companies through shaky economies and ever-changing technology.
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