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Administrative associates perform administrative tasks at companies. The role bears similarity to an administrative assistant position but at a higher level. Administrative associates generally spend less time on secretarial duties and instead focus more on departmental operation. They may report directly to upper-level management.

Administrative associates work regular hours in an office, though they may need to perform overtime during exceptionally busy periods. Any organization benefiting from administrative support may hire administrative associates, so work can be found in businesses, government, non-profits, education, and other industries.

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Administrative Associate Duties and Responsibilities

Administrative associates are proactive office leaders who are well versed in policy and procedure and act accordingly. They interact with people both above and below them in hierarchal structure and may act as a liaison. An examination of job postings reveals these central duties to be among the most common for administrative associates to perform:

Overseeing Budgets

Administrative associates frequently deal with financial operations. They may approve expenditures, issue payments to vendors, handle petty cash, collect time sheets, deal with payroll, and keep track of account balances. Ordering office supplies and furniture may also be their responsibility. Managers and others on staff may check in with administrative associates to figure out if a purchase they wish to make is within the company's allotment. Similarly, if numbers are not adding up correctly, the administrative associate will bring the situation to the attention of the proper person.


From maintaining a central calendar to making arrangements for business luncheons, administrative associates use their planning skills for the good of the department or company. They make take responsibility for special projects such as setting up branch offices, making travel arrangements for conferences, scheduling maintenance, executing mass mailings, coordinating conference call participation, and handling RSVPs for events.

Handling Important Information

When a confidential report needs to be written or an email drafted to a picky client, the job is given to an administrative associate because the expectation is that this person will be thorough, tactful, and sensitive. Likewise, administrative associates may be in charge of opening mail for executives because of their ability to keep information private. Because of their trustworthiness, administrative associates often hold the keys for offices and cabinets.


As a top person in the administrative pool, administrative associates may oversee the activities of others or teach new hires proper office practices.

Administrative Associate Skills

Administrative associates are efficient multitaskers capable of juggling the various needs of a busy environment. Accounting/math skills are a definite plus since they deal so much with budgets. Other admirable traits for administrative associates to possess include:

  • Exhibiting discretion and good judgment since they are privy to sensitive information
  • Interpreting situations independently and acting in accordance with company policies and objectives as they best see fit
  • Attending to detail so that operations run smoothly and important matters aren't overlooked
  • Communicating well both verbally and in written form
  • Working with minimal supervision

Administrative Associate Tools of the trade

To offer their employers exceptional administrative support, administrative associates frequently use the following:

Computers – for email correspondence, database maintenance, accounting, and general office tasks

Spreadsheets – detailed profiles of financial activity, often composed and edited in Microsoft Excel

PowerPoints – computer presentations using visuals and writing designed to educate and inform

Invoices – specifics of purchases or services and the payment amount

Payroll – payment due to employees for their services during a given period

Administrative Associate Education and Training

Administrative associates are typically college graduates, oftentimes with a bachelor’s degree in business. Many in the field start out as administrative assistants and work their way up.

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Administrative Associate Resources

If you entertain the notion of becoming an administrative associate, these organizations and books can offer great food for thought.

American Society of Administrative Professionals

This organization with more than 60,000 members focuses much of its efforts on continuing education. Administrative associates 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 an administrative associate or other office professional: integrity, transparency, excellence, and collaboration.

Jewel in the Leader's Crown: Powerful Strategies to Shine as an Executive Assistant and Beyond

Anyone who doesn't realize just how important administrative associates and other such professionals are to an office needs to read this book. A champion for everyone embarking on such a career, Mead herself worked alongside senior leaders at places such as PepsiCo and BMO Financial Group. Readers 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

Effective communication skills are a must for any administrative associate. This quickreference guide helps administrative associates build relationships, handle complaints, get their point across, and achieve results.

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