An administrative assistant working in the United States makes about $20 per hour. Depending on the skill level, the earnings could go up to $30 an hour. That sounds like a pretty lucrative position.

So, the role played by an administrative assistant must be important.

The administrative assistant supports every role within a business and serves as the backbone of the office. The bearer of the title assists the company’s executives, managers, employees, and departments in running their operations smoothly.  

An administrative assistant can have several duties depending on the business. Some include answering calls, directing events, running the office, communicating on behalf of senior staff members, and preparing relevant documents.

In this article, we look at the role of administrative assistants and why a business needs to hire one.

An Administrative Assistant is Much More Than Just a Secretary

From a glance, the duties of an administrative assistant may seem similar to that of a secretary. Many people wrongfully use the two titles interchangeably.

What makes an administrative assistant different from a secretary?

In many companies, a secretary serves as a receptionist. They answer incoming calls, make appointments, and maintain schedules for their superiors. Clerical work, bookkeeping, taking notes, filing, and data entry are among the main job descriptions of a secretary.

On the other hand, administrative assistants hold more of a leadership position. They also have more responsibilities. They oversee and manage office operations and conduct administrative tasks.

An administrative assistant is a problem solver for the business administration’s needs.

In large corporations, administrative assistants have employees of their own who report to them. There can also be more than one assistant.   

Secretaries and administrators are both vital to the operations of a business. But an administrative assistant needs more leadership, communication, and management skills to run the position.  

For instance, an administrative assistant to a healthcare executive or senior doctor may need training from the Ultimate Medical Academy to fit the job description in a healthcare environment.

Administrative Assistants Work for Small Businesses Too

As a small business owner, you may be wondering why you need an administrative assistant. You may argue that you don’t have huge offices populated with hundreds of employees that need managing. However, that’s not the point of an administrative assistant.

As an entrepreneur aiming for business growth, you should make a point of surrounding yourself with dynamic and talented people who each bring something unique to the table. An administrative assistant should complement your weaknesses and increase professionalism in the business operations.

Hiring an administrative assistant also clears a lot of your time otherwise spent on handling routine administrative tasks. This, of course, improves productivity. He/she also expands your business efforts by providing much needed professional skills.       

So, don’t think of your business as too small to have an administrative assistant. It might be just what you need to scale up production.

Signs That Your Business Needs to Hire an Administrative Assistant

At what point do you decide to hire an administrative assistant? To help you answer this question, here are five signs that show it is time to hire your first administrative assistant.

The Phone Rings Off the Hook

Business calls are a sign that the business is booming and many people want to reach you. However, it presents a problem. It is impossible to get any work done if you are always answering phone calls.

Phone calls are unpredictable and take a lot of time that is normally scheduled for other jobs. In the modern world of digital communication, it’s not just phone calls you need to worry about. Today, many people also email and send messages via social media platforms.

That’s a lot of communication to handle while taking care of the business.

At this point, you need an administrative assistant to filter out communication streams. This way, only important messages, and calls will be forwarded to you.      

Overwhelming Responsibilities

Do you feel that there is not enough time in the day to complete all your daily tasks? Are you always exhausted by the sheer volume of the workload at the end of a workday? Well, it’s time to accept the fact that you need to get someone to assist you.

Overworking leads to stress, which reduces competency and consequently cuts productivity.

With an active and growing business, it is tedious and stressful to handle all the administrative tasks on your own. You have to attend meetings, tend to your clients and employees, and conduct transactions. And still, you need to have some personal time left over to recuperate and relax.

It’s simply overwhelming and borderline impossible.

Being overwhelmed can cause you to turn away clients so as to complete other pending transactions. It is an unimaginable loss to turn away a business opportunity. If this is already happening, you must act fast!

Get an administrative assistant to share the load. The assistant can handle some of the routine tasks while you focus on the big picture operations like running the business and closing deals. You’ll find that the cost of the shared labor is more than worth its return in time and effort saving.  

You are Always Unavailable to Clients and Staff

Are you struggling to make time for your clients and employees? This is a sign that your current workload needs delegation.

Clients are the lifeblood of your business. If you don’t have time to meet their needs, you might be looking at losing some business, which is a major red flag.

Your employees are equally important. They are the hands that make your businesses possible. Being unavailable to them may encourage disloyalty and insubordination.

To avoid all this business-crippling mess, why not get someone to be available on your behalf? That is what administrative assistants are there for.

Scheduling and Organization are Becoming a Problem

You might find yourself working with make-shift schedules and time planning as you go along. And even worse, you never find the right documents or resources whenever you need them.

Without proper scheduling and organization, you are missing meetings and deadlines. This creates a chaotic work environment. It’s not only embarrassing to show up late to a meeting carrying the wrong documents, but is also grossly unprofessional.

It is not entirely your fault, though; it’s challenging to keep track of time and minor details when running a business on your own.

Hiring an administrative assistant will fix all these problems. Skilled assistance will schedule all your appointments, meetings, bookings, and other tasks. They will also organize documents and business resources to ensure that you have the right files at every meeting.  

You Keep Avoiding or Neglecting Some Tasks

If you are ignoring or continually postponing some tasks, think about getting someone else to do them instead.

You may be neglecting some mundane tasks for more critical jobs or simply because you are not good at them. We can’t all be skilled at everything.  

No matter how small or seemingly irrelevant a job is, ignoring or postponing it could snowball into a bigger problem.

To keep everything running, reassign the tasks that you don’t like doing to an administrative assistant. Filing, data entry, and office management are some of the things that administrative assistants are good at, and executives tend to neglect.

What to Look for in an Administrative Assistant

Depending on the job description, you need a candidate that perfectly fits the role and adds value to your business. Credentials like specific higher education achievements are entirely up to you and the job at hand.

Generally, however, an administrative assistant must have the following skills and qualities:

  • Excellent communication skills (both verbal and written)
  • Time management skills
  • Leadership qualities
  • Adaptability and problem-solving skills
  • Neat and organized
  • Self-driven and resourceful
  • Adept in digital technology

A good administrative assistant should anticipate the needs of his/her superiors. Then, they should employ problem-solving skills to meet them in an efficient and time-sensitive manner. A combination of all these qualities makes an administrative assistant a valuable addition to the workforce.

The Takeaway

Despite the position being often overlooked, administrative assistants play a vital role in the smooth operation of a business. They act as problem solvers and keep the office and staff organized, which increases productivity and morale.

To the executives, the administrative assistant is the go-to person to sort out administrative matters quickly and efficiently.

Depending on the business, the job description of an administrative assistant can be diverse. In many companies, their roles include a broad scope of responsibilities.

Some include handling complex long-term projects and involvement in business negotiations and transactions.  

It all depends on what your business needs at the moment. You can even set specific qualifications during vetting and hiring to get an assistant with a particular skill set that may come in handy for the role.

The return on investment in hiring an administrative assistant is not measurable in actual figures. But clearly, there is a lot to gain from having an administrative assistant onboard.

Once you feel that your business needs a professional to assist in everyday administrative tasks, don’t hesitate to read our blog for more information.

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