The chief administrative officer, sometimes known as chief administrator, chief operating officer or chief office manager, is a top-level executive in charge of most, if not all, of a company's daily activities. The CAO's duties depend largely on the size of the company and the particular industry, and often include managing multiple offices and departments, including finance, marketing, sales and human resources.
A minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required for most chief administrative officer positions, but many candidates have higher degrees. Your degree should be business-related, such as a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration or a Master of Business Administration. You can enhance these degrees with a focus in marketing or finance. Some CAOs also earn a Certified Manager credential, which is available through the Institute of Certified Professional Managers. Some industries may require more specialized education or credentials, such as medical, insurance or technology degrees or certifications.
Manager in Chief
Management skills and extensive managerial experience are paramount for chief administrative officers. You will be in charge of many employees, and must design and implement training protocols for new hires. You will also be responsible for developing interoffice policies that help maintain a pleasant and productive workplace and foster communication and cooperation among different branches of the company. Depending on the business and industry, you may need to motivate sales staff to drive more sales. Strong leadership and interpersonal skills are essential in fulfilling the demands of this position.
Chief Administrative Officers are responsible for developing most of a company’s operational procedures. You will be responsible for developing company policies, delegating tasks to various departments and hiring and firing employees. Your responsibilities may also include formulating business strategies and resolving any problems that arise within the company. You will likely report to a CEO or other higher-ranked executive on a regular basis to discuss changes you have made and how the company as a whole is doing. You may also be responsible for creating or working with finance to approve a company-wide budget.
A chief administrative officer must be self-driven and able to work independently. You will rarely receive specific tasks with instructions; rather, you must discover what needs to be done and develop a plan to do it on your own. Good decision-making skills and analytical thinking will help you as you develop and implement business strategies. You will need to be comfortable multitasking, as you may be overseeing hundreds of employees and multiple branches of business at once. Because of the scope of your responsibilities, organizational and time-management skills are critical.