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What Is an Administrative Assistant & What Do They Mean to an Organization?

The term “administrative assistant” can leave some people confused. What is an administrative assistant? What does an administrative assistant do? Often, admin professionals have completely different titles depending on the organization. But with national observations like Administrative Professionals' Day, you may be concerned about who in your business qualifies so that you don't miss out on recognizing someone on this special day.

Learn the answers to what is the role of an administrative assistant, when is Administrative Assistant Appreciation Day, and more.

Who Is an Administrative Assistant?

Administrative assistants are typically those professionals who support a company in administrative roles. Some other job titles an administrative assistant might have include secretary, account and bill collector, financial clerk, receptionist, or information clerk. Depending on the work environment, an administrative assistant may have a very different title. For example, you might wonder:

Is a paralegal an administrative assistant?

Often, yes, a paralegal is considered an administrative assistant. This is because a paralegal's work is done in the office, in support of lawyers who are preparing for trials. If you're wondering, “Should I buy my paralegal an administrative assistant appreciation gift?” A wise answer is yes.

Is an office manager an administrative assistant?

Yes. An office manager provides support for various departments within a business, and thus falls into the administrative assistant category.

Is a medical secretary an administrative assistant?

Medical secretaries assist those in healthcare facilities, like doctors' offices or hospitals, with tasks such as organizing medical records and setting up appointments. Despite the specific title, medical secretaries are considered to do administrative assistant work.

Why are these titles important to be aware of? Administrative assistants can be found in just about any type of business or organization, including schools, government agencies, and corporate buildings. They can work solely for one brand, or work to coordinate many brands who work under one roof. In addition to having an annual day of observance, administrative assistants are such as crucial part of an organization, that recognition for them should occur year-round.

What Are the Job Responsibilities of Administrative Assistants?

The work of administrative assistants will vary depending on the work environment, but usually admins will complete tasks in similar categories. Often, a computer is their number one work tool, because keeping accurate records and files is usually a crucial part of an administrative assistant's job responsibilities. Other examples of work an administrative assistant does include:

  • Coordinate administrative requests from executives and senior managers
  • Manage calendars and schedule appointments
  • Handle internal and external communications, including answering phone calls and distributing emails
  • Organize meeting and appointment schedules
  • Prepare and distribute reports
  • Create and maintain a record-keeping system
  • Create, update, and maintain business procedures and policies
  • Manage office supplies coordination
  • Coordinate and book travel
  • Manage, approve, and pay out expense reports
  • Serve as client relations for office visitors
  • Perform data entry and document management

Some administrative assistants are prominent meeting participants, taking notes, contributing ideas, and keeping other employees up to speed with what occurred in meetings. Others aspire to move into managerial roles, and their insights into the inner workings of a company allow them to transition to higher positions with ease.

When Is Secretary Appreciation Day?

Every year, administrative assistants of all types are recognized across organizations on Administrative Professionals' Day. This is on the Wednesday in the last full week of April, which is also Administrative Professionals' Week.

Showing appreciation during this time and all year long is important for those who manage administrative assistants. Recognition provides benefits including:

  • Administrative professionals feel like valued members of an organization
  • Gratitude can reinforce positive behavior
  • Recognition alerts others in an organization about the great work of an admin professional
  • Appreciation helps to raise the profile of an organization both internally and externally

Organizations can use fun and thoughtful administrative professional gifts to show genuine appreciation. These can be given out at small gatherings, company meetings, or one-on-one. Organizations should strive to learn how administrative professionals want to be recognized (publicly versus privately) and what types of gifts they'd appreciate the most. Adding a heartfelt card and a statement that points out specific achievements makes recognition more meaningful.

Recognize Your Administrative Professionals With Successories

Now that you have a better idea of the people who fit administrative professional roles in your organization, don't forget to recognize them on April 25, 2018, and all Administrative Professionals' Week and the rest of the year.

Giving gifts of appreciation right after great work is done helps to reinforce the effort, too. Surprise tokens of appreciation can keep employees motivated to continue performing at high levels at all time. Shop administrative professionals gifts and more now at Successories.