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Work in Office Administration
Administrative assistants work for managers and executives. Some organizations do not distinguish between executive secretaries and administrative assistants. In organizations that distinguish between the two, administrative assistants tend to spend more time on long-range assignments. The secretaries have to do more detailed, day-to-day tasks and are more closely supervised by their employers.
Administrative assistants often help their employers prepare reports. They attend meetings with their employers, collect and research documents, and may do much of the writing. They may produce computer graphics such as illustrations. Administrative assistants often edit and enter reports and in-house publications into the computer. Some administrative assistants conduct Internet research and collect facts and figures to be included in budgets.
In some organizations, such as universities, administrative assistants may work on planning. They look at different ways of organizing certain office tasks and recommend changes. In research companies, each project director may have an administrative assistant. The assistants take responsibility for all routine administrative chores. They keep track of funds spent and produce monthly budget reports. They keep track of vacation schedules. They may deal with the accounting department regarding errors in paychecks and withholding taxes. They may be responsible for seeing that a project has enough office space and equipment. Administrative assistants may arrange for the maintenance and repair of equipment and even negotiate prices with office supply vendors.
Administrative assistants must be highly organized and able to work independently. They nearly always need strong secretarial skills. They frequently need computer skills to deal with budgets, word processing and desktop publishing. Good writing and analytical skills are a requirement.
Administrative assistants often must talk to clients or discuss problems with other staff members. They must work easily with other people.