An executive assistant provides high-level administrative support to the company’s executives. Like personal assistants or secretaries, executive assistants conduct day to day clerical work that guaranteeing the smooth running of company operations. However, they have other high-level responsibilities and tasks that directly impact a company’s success and profitability.
Unlike administrative assistants or personal assistants, executive assistants are the right-hand persons for company CEOs and other senior-level executives. They are highly trained, knowledgeable, and often provide professional advice and recommendations to senior-level executives, including CEOs.
The following are seven executive assistants’ responsibilities and tasks:
Act as the first point of contact
An executive assistant acts as a liaison and the first contact person between the company executives and customers, vendors, and team members. They interact with company stakeholders and customers in a professional and timely manner. They also respond to information requests and prepare necessary documentation when and as needed. An executive assistant also meets with company persons of interest and other important contacts of the company on behalf of the senior-level managers and executives. Typically, an executive assistant acts as a gatekeeper who controls the phone calls, emails, emails, and reports that should go through to the executive.
Monitoring correspondence and reports
Part of the company executive assistant’s duties is to review and filter all incoming and outgoing mails, calls, emails, and faxes. They also oversee and monitor all internal correspondences and reports that go through the executive’s office. An executive assistant is expected to continuously monitor, respond to, and forward incoming mails to the organization’s relevant offices. They work jointly with administrative assistants to accomplish tasks that require collaboration, like maintaining files, accepting and making phone calls, and scheduling meetings. Other daily tasks of these high-level assistants include sending memos, reviewing incoming reports, and editing correspondence, and continually updating and maintaining an existing contact list of the different staff and external persons of interest.
Conducting research and generating reports
An executive assistant is also expected to conduct relevant research by collecting data on a given topic using various tools before consolidating them into reports for the executives. They also draft and approve written communications, reports, presentations, and spreadsheets intended for senior-level managers. Depending on the organization’s structure and size, an executive assistant can be assigned own administrative assistants to help with the workload. The EA trains the administrative assistants, manages them, and delegates some tasks such as collecting data for research work.
Managing executive’s calendar
One of the executive assistant’s critical duties is to manage the executive’s professional and personal calendar so that the company activities can run smoothly as planned. Typically, they schedule meetings, coordinate appointments, and ensure all aspects of company operations run smoothly and in a timely manner.
Other responsibilities and duties related to the executive calendar include:
- Company tasks and projects are completed within set deadlines
- Preparing meeting agendas ahead of meetings
- Booking of venue meetings and conferences rooms for company meetings
- Arranging all travel and lodging arrangements of the executive are done in good time
- Securing of venues and coordinating catering and other essential logistics of the company during big venues
Managing and reporting expenses
There are instances when executive assistants perform accounting related tasks such as bookkeeping and invoicing. Notably, qualified executive assistants have requisite accounting skills and knowledge that help them carry out their duties as expected. They work with spreadsheets, sales and purchase ledgers, and journals from time to time. They also do calculations and checking to make sure amounts, payments, and records are correct. Other accounting duties that they undertake include controlling credit and chasing debt, managing office petty cash transactions, and reconciling office finance accounts and direct debits.
Takes minutes during meetings
Executive assistants take minutes in high-level executive meetings. They use their skills to capture important details discussed in meetings, after which they will file copies that serve as permanent records. Usually, EAs arrive at meeting venues ahead of the executives and choose an ideal sitting position to clearly hear each speaker. They use several minutes taking techniques to capture what is being discussed in the minutes accurately. Some are comfortable typing on a laptop while others use pens and paper. Still, others prefer recordings of the session, which they will use for clarification when writing a final copy.
Maintaining workplace set up that optimizes workflow
Another critical responsibility of an executive assistant is cleaning up and organizing the executive office at the close of business each day. They often work with junior-level staff to clean the company’s executive wing, organize files, and make sure every office item is well arranged and placed in their rightful location. The assistant may also have to refill office supplies such as stationery or the items in the fridge.
Executive assistants play a vital role in the day-to-day operations of the company. They work on myriads of different projects and with several different people across the company. It is not surprising then that EAs are often considered the unofficial sources of all knowledge concerning an organization. They often know things ahead of everyone else, attend several meetings, keep important company secrets, and start planning initiatives ahead of the official word. If you are a company executive and considering hiring the right Executive assistant to help with office work, leverage new technologies like those offered by Zirtual. Zirtual will help you find a talented, skilled, and experienced executive assistant who will bring a much-needed difference to your office.