Business Assistant Job Description
Business Assistants perform a wide range of office support functions, from making photocopies to putting together presentations. Once they have been on the job for a bit, good Business Assistants often are able to anticipate what actions will be required without being specifically told what to do.
Business Assistants work in offices, and most of them are full-time employees. Standard weekday hours are the norm, but deadlines or busy seasons may involve working overtime. Pinpointing the exact duties of a Business Assistant is difficult, as their responsibilities can vary greatly based on the industry, staff size and willingness of managers to delegate. Business Assistants at a college, for instance, may be in charge of sending welcome packets to accepted students. At an insurance office, Business Assistants might sit with new clients and ask questions to process an application or claim. In a small office, Business Assistants may have a wide-encompassing job description because of the lack of staff members.
Business Assistant Duties and Responsibilities
Though what a Business Assistant gets called upon to do can vary greatly by industry, some duties tend to be common to most. From our analysis of job postings, a few of the core responsibilities for Business Assistants include the following:
Facilitate Office Operation
Whether the printer requires more paper or a customer needs to be shown to the correct office, Business Assistants take the lead on doing what is necessary to keep operations running. Administrative tasks run the gamut – typing, writing reports, ordering supplies, sending and sorting mail, filing and responding to emails.
Schedule and Coordinate Office Events
Business Assistants frequently arrange the time and place of internal and external meetings. They ensure all parties know the details by sending out agendas and other pertinent material. For special events, they may keep track of RSVPs and deal with outside vendors to ensure everything goes according to plan.
Provide Customer Service
Answering phones and greeting visitors may be part of a Business Assistant’s daily duties. Some act as back-up when a receptionist or secretary is away from the desk.
Perform Business/HR Tasks
At some places, Business Assistants handle accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, insurance and new-hire paperwork.
Business Assistant Skills
Business Assistants are flexible team players willing to do whatever is necessary to keep office operations flowing smoothly. They are excellent multitaskers capable of both following the directions of administrators and noticing for themselves what needs to be done. Employers also look for these skills when hiring for Business Assistant positions:
- Communicating effectively with others both inside and outside of the company
- Paying attention to detail so that errors do not occur
- Representing the company positively through appropriate dress, manners and actions
- Exhibiting a calm demeanor to keep office stress levels under control
- Displaying a track record of dependability
Business Assistant Education and Training
Business Assistants have graduated from high school and typically hold a college degree. If they work in a specialized industry, such as law or medicine, a background in the field may be required.
Business Assistant Resources
While we’ve provided much information on becoming a Business Assistant, plenty more exists. The following books and organizations are great resources for learning more about this occupation:
The CEO’s Secret Weapon: How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness by Jan Jones – Hailed by reviewers as worthwhile reading for both executives and their assistants, this book examines their unique relationship and offers practical, helpful tips on raising the bar to reach new heights together. As one assistant aptly put it, “While the book was intended for executives, essentially it is the assistant that trains the executive on how to use them wisely. I am always looking for ways to increase my effectiveness as well as my CEO’s. Jan’s book gave me the blueprint to follow to do just that.”
Jewel in the Leader’s Crown: Powerful Strategies to Shine as an Executive Assistant and Beyond by Ruth Mead – Anyone who doesn’t realize just how important assistants are to an office needs to read this book. A champion for everyone taking on such a career, Mead herself worked alongside senior leaders at places such as PepsiCo and BMO Financial Group. Assistants praise her for not only boosting their organizational skills and efficiency, but also for raising their confidence and spirits.
Perfect Phrases for Office Professionals: Hundreds of Ready-to-Use Phrases for Getting Respect, Recognition and Results in Today’s Workplace by Meryl Runion – Effective communication skills are a must for any Business Assistant. This quick-reference guide helps Business Assistants build relationships, handle complaints, get their point across and achieve results.
American Society of Administrative Professionals – This organization with more than 60,000 members focuses much of its efforts on continuing education. Business Assistants looking to improve their skills and advance their career might want to check out the ASAP’s webinars, articles and career center.
International Association of Administrative Professionals – According to its website, IAAP “strives to ensure individuals working in office and administrative professions have the opportunity to connect, learn, lead and excel.” To this end, the group provides a variety of training opportunities, networking possibilities and industry events. Check out how it promotes four core values necessary to succeed as a Business Assistant or other office professional: integrity, transparency, excellence and collaboration.
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