What Are the Standard Operating Procedures for an Administrative Assistant?

Growth Trends for Related Jobs


An administrative professional often is the glue that holds together an office. Sometimes, the office backbone needs support, too. Standard operating procedures for an administrative assistant act as a road map in guiding him through daily tasks. An SOP manual outlines each job responsibility and all the steps required to ensure accurate and timely completion. These detailed instructions help an assistant perform his job when he is new to the role, in addition to helping him manage his time as he juggles many different tasks.

Office Management

A support employee manages many general office functions that are captured in a standard office procedures manual. Her clerical responsibilities typically include answering telephones, managing calendars, coordinating travel and preparing presentations. An administrative assistant also handles departmental files, libraries and supply rooms. SOPs keep her organized when she is new to the job and unfamiliar with some of her employer’s routines. Distributing mail might seem like a simple task, but a newcomer won’t know that deliveries arrive twice a day or that some departmental employees want mail placed on their desks instead of inside their individual mail slots. Work instructions help her learn these tasks. These "how to’s" also guide her replacement, who fills in for her when she’s out of the office because of vacation or illness.

Complex Tasks

An administrative assistant performs complex tasks that require numerous steps, such as preparing newsletters or setting up all-day meetings or training programs. Work instructions provide a visual checklist that walks him through the entire process, such as soliciting articles for the monthly company publication all the way through to distribution to readers. For a meeting, the assistant is responsible for everything from reserving the conference room to publishing minutes after the program. Breaking processes into smaller steps makes the workload seem less overwhelming so an assistant can keep a busy organization flowing instead of worrying that he might overlook something, according to AllThingsAdmin.

Equipment and Software

An administrative professional relies on office equipment and computer systems. She has to master multi-line telephones, intercoms, printers, photocopiers, faxes and projectors. POSs explain how to operate equipment so the assistant can efficiently transfer phone calls, retrieve voice messages, collate reports and manage a videoconferencing studio. Typed office procedures also explain step-by-step details on using a computer to type memos, enter information into databases and work with industry-specific software, such as a payroll or medical billing system.

Time-sensitive Responsibilities

The administrative assistant handles tasks that require on-time delivery. His standard work instructions help him meet those deadlines by listing how often he should perform assignments. These tasks include paying invoices, making bank deposits, submitting reports to governmental agencies and setting up board of directors’ meetings. A legal administrative assistant may be responsible for filing court documents within specific time frames. Likewise, an assistant in a hospital might be expected to process medical claims according to an insurance company’s deadlines. An effective SOP explains turnaround times for each task, such as daily, every other Friday or the first day of the month.