Office administration

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Office administration is a set of day-to-day activities that are related to financial planning, record keeping & billing, personnel, physical distribution and logistics, within an organization. An employee that undertakes these activities is commonly called an office administrator or office manager, and plays a key role in any organizations infrastructure, regardless of the scale. Many administrative positions require the candidate to have an advanced skill set in the software applications Microsoft Word, Excel and Access.[1]

Office Administrator[edit]

An office administrator has the responsibility of ensuring that the administrative activities within an organization run efficiently, by providing structure to other employees throughout the organization. These activities can range from being responsible for the management of human resources, budgets and records, to undertaking the role of supervising other employees. These responsibilities can vary depending on the employer and level of education.[2]

Team of office administrators and managers undertaking administrative tasks

Skill Set[edit]

The importance of an office administrator to an organization is substantial due to the duties that they are entrusted with, therefore specialized training is required in order for the employee to work efficiently and productively, these being;

  • Payroll training that involves the responsibility in ensuring that all employees receive their pay slips on time [3]
  • To have good communication skills in order to coordinate with other employees around the organization.
  • The ability of being able to supervise support workers
  • The ability of adapting to changing environments and new technologies that could be implemented e.g. New software installation.
  • Show good initiative
  • To be able to work under pressure when given a task that is of vital importance to the organization.[4]


There are an extensive range of roles that can be associated with an office administrator, these being; organizations advertise junior office administrator vacancies targeted at students that are currently studying or whom have left secondary school or college, the opportunity to gain experience or build a career through full time work or an intern ship over the course of a summer brake.

Receptionists play a key role in the organizations management, as they are entrusted with arranging and meeting the clients, suppliers and visitors directly via emails, phone calls or direct mail. The employee undertaking the role of a receptionist must show good organisational, communicational and customer service skills in order to ensure efficiency with the organisation.[5] Other responsibilities that a receptionist is entrusted with are;

  • Ensure that the outgoing and incoming mail is allocated to the right department within the organisation
  • Organise and assist fellow employees with meetings, conferences and direct telephone calls when required
  • To communicate with members of the public when an inquiry is made
  • Manage and maintain the filing system that has been implemented into the organisation e.g. information systems
  • Clerical duties that involve the ordering of equipment, office supplies and other inventories that are required [6]

Personal Assistant's are commonly associated with an office manager that help maintain the efficiency of their day-to-day work, this is through providing secretarial support and assistance. Becoming a personal assistant requires the employee to have experience in previous administrative jobs, in which entailed the use of computers and information systems. Like any other role that is related to an office administrator, the job title of personal assistant requires the employee to be organized, show professionalism and the ability to work under pressure when given a task of vital importance.[7] The duties that a personal assistant must carry out each day are the following;

  • The task of inputting, filing and managing the data that is stored within the organization's office system
  • Personal assistants act as a first hand to the office manager so they must ensure that all contacts from third party individuals are processed through them
  • To arrange transportation and meetings that are of importance to the office manager
  • Ensure that documents, reports ad presentations are set up prior to any meetings
  • Process emails and letters that are received in correspondent to the office manager [8]

Office Manager[edit]

Office Manager supervising and teaching their fellow employees

An office manager has the responsibility in ensuring that an organizations office duties are completed efficiently and effectively, whilst allocated the task of supervising other member of staff. The role of an office manager requires the candidate to have a higher skill and qualification set than other administrative vacancies, such skills and qualifications include; strong administrative experience, competency in human resources, reporting skills, delegation, managing processes and the ability to communicate to other members of the organization.[9][10]


Office managers are given many important duties daily that help the organization run effectively and efficiently, these being;

  • Organise the office's operations and procedures by undertaking several administrative tasks e.g. designing and implementing a new filing system
  • Assigning certain employees to undertake operational requirements, whilst following up on their progress
  • The duty of recruiting, selecting and training new employees, whist simultaneously maintaining the current employees through coaching ad counseling
  • Producing an annual budget that represents the organization's financial objectives (determines where expenditures need to be scheduled for the next financial year).
  • Attending several workshops that will benefit and increase the knowledge of the office manager e.g. educational workshops and participating in professional societies.[11]

Jobs Within Office Administration[edit]

An example of office administration undertaken in the navy

There are many sectors within office administration that people can work under, office administrator and office manager being the most commonly associated roles. However there are hundreds of different roles and job vacancies that an employee can undertake within an organization, that fall under the category of office administration. Human resource administrators are the employees that are in charge of managing the organization's human capital, this is through improvements to the workers experience whilst working at the organization through proposed business strategies. Payroll and benefits administration are the primary duties that an employee under human resources will carry out, whilst given the responsibility of recruiting new employees for the organization.[12] An Executive secretary are entrusted with supporting their high-level executives with the production of statistical reports, scheduled meetings and written memorandums. Similarly, an executive secretary commonly share the same responsibilities as a personal assistant through daily tasks that benefit the organization or executive in an efficient and effective manor, these being; aiding their manager or superior with daily tasks, prepare correspondence and mail, manage their information systems and coordinate the office management effectively.[13] A Legal secretary is an employee that works closely with lawyers and other employees within the practice of law. In an example of a legal secretary working for a lawyer, their main responsibilities and duties are as of the following; to research and prepare legal documents to be filled into the organizations filing system, locating important information in relevance to the case at hand, to implement their current skills with modern technology to complete and address business issues.[14]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Payroll". 
  4. ^ "A Brief History of Office Administration". National Academy of Health and Business | College Training in Ontario. 2014-06-04. Retrieved 2015-10-26. 
  5. ^ "Opportunities in office administration". CareerFAQs. Retrieved 2015-10-26. 
  6. ^ "Job description - receptionist" (PDF). Job Description. 2015-05-30. 
  7. ^ Agency, Skills Funding. "Personal assistant job information | National Careers Service". Retrieved 2015-11-02. 
  8. ^ "Personal assistant". 
  9. ^ "Office Manager Job Description Sample |". Monster Hiring Resource Center. Retrieved 2015-11-02. 
  10. ^ "Opportunities in office administration". CareerFAQs. Retrieved 2015-11-02. 
  11. ^ "Office Manager Job Description Sample |". Monster Hiring Resource Center. Retrieved 2015-11-03. 
  12. ^ "What is Human Resource Administration? (with pictures)". wiseGEEK. Retrieved 2015-11-03. 
  13. ^ "Executive Secretary Job Description |". Retrieved 2015-11-03. 
  14. ^ "Legal secretary".