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The ultimate guide to administrative tasks and duties

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Administrative assistants, office managers, and executive assistants hold very similar roles. In fact, common duties found on administrative assistant job descriptions can also be found on those for most administrative support roles. 

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering “What is administrative work exactly?”, or “What does admin work involve?”, this guide has everything you need to know. 

What are administrative tasks? 

Administrative tasks cover a very broad range. In fact, the answer to “What are administrative duties?” will likely be different according to each different role. For example, duties found on the resumes of secretaries and administrative assistants will be similar yet slightly different to those found on an office assistant’s resume. 

However, administrative tasks and duties relate mainly to maintaining an office. Depending on the industry and the size of each business, these tasks will differ. Most often, these tasks relate to supporting an office, and include phone, email, and calendar management, internal communications, preparing reports, maintaining office equipment and office supplies, and some human resources functions. 

Administrative tasks, duties, and responsibilities by category 

Administrative tasks are most often the responsibility of administrative assistants. As a support role for offices and/or senior managers and executives, there are multiple tasks and duties associated with the position. 

We’ve broken down the core administrative assistant duties into categories to help you visualize the broad and varied spectrum of administrative tasks. 

Communication is a key soft skill for any administrative professional. Those in administrative roles need to be able to efficiently interact with other employees, senior staff, and clients via multiple methods of communication such as email, phone, and face-to-face interactions. 

Here are the most common communication skills and administrative tasks: 

  • Answering phone calls and emails 
  • Greeting clients and visitors
  • Communicating with senior managers and other colleagues 
  • Answering customers’ questions
  • All types of business correspondence
  • Written communication such as compiling reports, memos, faxes, and other documents 
  • Developing and distributing internal communications
  • Using problem-solving skills to resolve office-related issues

Scheduling tasks

Scheduling tasks form a large part of office administration duties. As well as being responsible for their own schedules, everyone from executive assistants to receptionists are usually responsible for their manager’s, or multiple manager’s schedules, and so time management skills are a must have. 

Here are the most common scheduling tasks those in an admin assistant role or similar may assume:

  • Scheduling appointments for managers, executives, and clients
  • General calendar management
  • Event coordination, including client lunches and office activities (parties, team-building activities, etc)
  • Planning company all-hands meetings
  • Scheduling appropriate conference and meeting rooms 
  • Creating travel itineraries and travel arrangements for managers

Organizational tasks 

All types of administrative roles involve carrying out organizational tasks. Adapting to shifting and competing priorities with ease, and maintaining databases, filing systems, and emails is key to keeping any office running smoothly. 

Here are the most common organizational skills and tasks associated with administrative jobs:

  • Maintaining multiple calendars 
  • Setting appointments 
  • Filing various documents and maintaining databases 
  • Creating filing systems 
  • Updating spreadsheets and other data entry tasks
  • Creating email templates 
  • Storing sensitive information correctly 

Management of finances and bookkeeping tasks

Bookkeeping tasks and other finance-related responsibilities often land on the desk of those in administrative positions, particularly within businesses that aren’t big enough to need a separate employee to take care of these tasks. 

Here are the most common bookkeeping and finance-related tasks that administrative professionals are responsible for:

Miscellaneous administrative tasks 

Here are other administrative tasks and clerical duties often found on an administrative assistant resumes:

  • Dictation, note taking, and transcribing
  • Updating the company’s social media pages
  • Creating and maintaining office documentation
  • Sorting and distributing mail
  • Organizing health and safety and first aid training 
  • Setting up online conferences
  • Updating employee handbooks and other relevant policy documents
  • Helping schedule job interviews and exit interviews
  • Organizing employee paperwork
  • Maintaining and updating employees’ emergency contact information