Chief Administrative Officer Job Description
Chief administrative officers direct a company’s day-to-day administrative operations, including human resources, budget tracking, and regulatory compliance. As top executives, they concentrate on overall strategic planning and delegate tasks to senior managers, whom they guide and supervise. In turn, they report directly to the CEO about the company’s status. Because much of business performance depends on them, chief administrative officers should be able to thrive in a challenging, fast-paced environment that may require more than 40 hours every week.
Chief Administrative Officer Duties and Responsibilities
No two chief administrative officers have the exact same tasks, as these vary from employer to employer. However, we analyzed several job listings to determine the following core responsibilities:
Lead Administrative Operations
Chief administrative officers are in charge of a company’s day-to-day operations and administrative activities. They oversee departments such as HR, accounting, marketing, and IT, and work closely with senior managers to check on project implementation and address underperformance.
Develop Business Strategy
Because of their broad organizational perspective, chief administrative officers exhibit leadership by driving business strategy development. This involves assessing risks, noting opportunities for expansion, setting overall goals and metrics, and proposing projects or systems to move the company forward.
A major responsibility of chief administrative officers is managing organizational finances, from resource allocation to cost management. They are especially active with planning, as they must predict short- and long-term cash requirements and then create budgets in coordination with department leaders and other executives.
Report to the CEO
Chief administrative officers regularly update the CEO about the status of the departments they manage. They are an important source of company information for the CEO, since they not only narrate facts but also analyze data and suggest action steps.
Evaluate Company Policies
It’s the job of chief administrative officers to evaluate administrative policies. In light of changing company needs and compliance regulations, they may modify policies or create new ones, following a decision-making process where they consult thoroughly with other employees and then monitor the impact of any changes.
Chief Administrative Officer Skills and Qualifications
Chief administrative officers are strategic leaders who are experienced at both planning and implementation. Organized and analytical, they excel at successfully completing projects. Employers typically look for a bachelor’s degree in business and the following skills:
- Strategic planning – since chief administrative officers make key decisions for many departments, they play a significant part in determining the direction of the company. They should be strategic thinkers who can spot opportunities and devise solutions
- Project management – chief administrative officers work with senior managers to drive the execution of projects from start to finish. From a high-level view, they make sure that deadlines and objectives are met
- Organization skills – chief administrative officers direct the major functions that keep an organization running, so they should be comfortable with multitasking and remembering several details at once
- Communication skills – conveying information accurately is important in this job. Chief administrative officers regularly explain business plans to managers, lead meetings, and present crucial company updates to the CEO
- Teamwork – since chief administrative officers often take on a supervisory role, they should work well within a team and respect other people’s ideas and abilities while providing firm leadership
Tools of the Trade
Chief administrative officers should be familiar with the following tools:
- Accounting software (such as QuickBooks, FreshBooks, or Zoho Books)
- Business management software (such as Microsoft Dynamics, Deltek Vision, or SAP Business One)
- Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint)
Chief Administrative Officer Education and Training
At minimum, chief administrative officers need a bachelor’s degree related to business, which includes classes on finance, organizational management, and human relations. Some companies may even look for a graduate degree, preferably a master’s in business administration. Since this is an extremely high-ranking position, chief administrative officers usually have more than 10 years of management experience. Certifications are helpful, but employers are more likely to focus on performance in previous workplaces.
Chief Administrative Officer Salary and Outlook
Chief administrative officers have a median annual salary of $111,000, according to PayScale. The highest-earning 10 percent make over $210,000, while the lowest 10 percent earn less than $56,000.
In terms of job outlook, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates employment growth of 8 percent for top executives, including chief administrative officers. As companies expand and the need for data management rises, administrative tasks multiply, leading to a greater demand for chief administrative officers.
Read through these industry resources to learn more about becoming a chief administrative officer:
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t – reviewers have repeatedly declared that leaders should read this classic book. In studying elite, long-term companies, Jim Collins reveals fascinating findings that defy conventional business knowledge
International Association of Administrative Professionals – committed to helping office and administrative professionals develop their career, IAAP offers certifications, training programs, conferences, and networking events
Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader – there’s no straight path to developing leadership skills, but this business book can help show the way. Its defining concept is “outsight,” which encourages learning leadership through action and experimentation
Harvard Business Review – HBR is the go-to magazine for anyone interested in management and leadership. It features cutting-edge articles on a variety of topics, from business innovation to network building
Financial Intelligence: A Manager’s Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean – chief administrative officers can turn to this book for a refresher on the fundamentals of business finance. Clear and accessible, it delves into both theory and analysis, with emphasis on financial statements
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