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Sometimes referred to as executive secretaries or administrators, executive assistants play an important role in every aspect of administration. Although her duties vary from company to company, an executive assistant is a "Jack-Of-All-Trades" within her organization, called upon to perform duties once relegated to middle or upper-management. The skill set of an executive assistant will directly impact the performance of the company he works for, making him a vital part of the organization.
Screening mail and phone calls is more than a "gatekeeper" duty. In order to keep an office running smoothly, an executive secretary must prioritize the mail that comes across her desk and the calls that come into the office. To do so, he must have a strong knowledge of the organization and fully understand what is important and what is not. It is her understanding of the company that will determine how efficiently administration can tackle day-to-day issues.
An executive assistant is often called upon to research issues that impact his organization such as costs, competition, prevailing wage issues and government regulations. She must be be knowledgeable enough to find good sources of information and confident enough to ask others for the answers she seeks.
Since the advent of the personal computer many managers write their own memos and letters, but an executive assistant is still responsible for turning out correspondence on behalf of his boss and company. She should possess strong writing skills and a sense of professionalism that reflects well on her company.
An executive assistant will likely be the keeper of the master schedule, a calendar that tracks meetings, conferences and trips. He may also be responsible for booking those travel arrangements. Her strong organizational skills are needed to keep everyone in the department in sync with the calendar.
Like never before, an executive assistant may be called upon to prepare the reports and presentations once prepared by the managers in his company. In addition to performing thorough research, she must be able to produce a professional presentation that is clear and concise in its message.
It is the executive assistant who is often responsible for organizing and maintaining files, papers, digital media and books. He must have a strong enough system of organization that another team member can find what they need in his absence.
In an office, particularly a small organization, it is the executive assistant who negotiates with outside vendors for supplies, cleaning, and maintenance of equipment. She must be bold enough to advocate on behalf of her company and ensure the best cost for each service.
It is often the responsibility of the executive assistant to help train new employees. Because of his unique position and understanding of how the organization runs from the ground up, the executive assistant is an excellent source of information for new hires.