The performance of any organization is dependent on the efforts put in by the secretaries. The duties of a secretary include performing the general basic, organizational and regular office responsibilities for the firm, different departments and executive. They help in managing e front office and also handling administrative matters. The duties of a secretary most time go unnoticed by the public. However, they play a crucial role in the organizing and keeping the organization on track
We embark on a mission to display the importance of secretaries in running the organization smoothly and handling of other organizational tasks. Some of the roles performed are unknown by many people. Their roles go further than just taking notes and answering the phone. The profession has come a long way in becoming essential to all the operations to decision making in the organization.
Responsibilities of a secretary
The work a of the secretary differ depending on the field. However, they perform similar duties from the fields of medical, legal to company secretaries. The skills of highly competent secretaries are in high demand in the current industry. The often is filled with busy work schedules and tight deadlines.
Examples of secretary job titles
- Legal secretary
- Executive secretary
- Secretary (part-time)
What are secretarial duties?
Many people often mistake the roles of a secretary with a personal assistant. However, in theory, the roles of a personal assistant are different from that of a secretary. A secretary requires strong skills and competencies, unlike a personal assistant. A secretary performs complex tasks that affect the core operation of the organization.
The office secretary duties vary depending on the industry or the employer. The profession, however, relates to each other due to the similarities in the work settings. The secretaries in different workplaces perform the same duties and responsibilities. This affects the operations of the organization. Here are some standard and primary duties that are performed by the secretaries in different work settings:
When it comes to the general office positions, the duties of the secretaries include giving aid to the new workers and visitors in finding their way around the organization. Some of the typical roles include directing the visitors to the appropriate departments and offices. They also show the new employees their workstations on their first day. They generally project the overall image of the company through offering world class and professional reception to the visitors to the office.
Another primary role of the secretaries includes managing the files of the customers and workers. They also store the records produced that are critical for future reference. In the example of a hospital setting, it is the role of the secretaries to produce the patient’s file during their appointment with the nurse or the doctor. They also store it when the appointment is concluded. They place the files in alphabetical order and use the latest and simplest filing system for easy storage and quick retrieval purposes.
When it comes to the office setting, the secretaries often liaise for incoming and outgoing phone calls and mail correspondence. They pick the phone calls from the customers, clients, business partners. They also help solve the queries posted by the clients or forward the clients for further guidance to the appropriate department. They also act by making phone calls on behalf of the management when communicating the information to the clients.
They schedule appointments and make follow-up inquiries. Note taking is an essential skill for the secretaries especially from the managers. They also prepare the memo or letters and the screening of emails. They also write down the minutes during official meetings.
4. Document management
Documents are critical to the organization, and it is the sole responsibility of the secretary to manage them. This is through copying documents for mailing or internal distribution. The documents must also be faxed from the firm to the clients, potential business partners or customers. They also receive the incoming faxes as they are guided to the appropriate department.
They also distribute the documents to the employees and customers through different forms such as email, Excel, Word, and spreadsheets. Secretaries also proofread and draft the emails before sending them to the appropriate channels.
5. General office tasks
When it comes to small offices, the roles of a secretary can be diverse into performing the routine clerical tasks and another related errand that aid the work of others. This includes the work of scheduling and rescheduling appointments which had initially been canceled. It also includes ordering of office supplies, notes taking and preparing refreshments for visitors.
A significant role of a secretary is offering support to the manager or managers in different departments in the organization. Even though the workstations may differ, others being complex or busy to assign each management team with a personal secretary. Other workplaces appoint one secretary to serve some senior managers with only the chief executive officer with a personal secretary.
7. Performing daily tasks
Some of the similar tasks that are performed by secretaries are all related to information management. The secretary manages the paper and electronic filing systems. They also handle the route mails and operate a host of office machines such as printers, fax machines, computers, and video conferencing equipment. In other workstations, the secretaries are involved in taking dictation and creating reports and letters.
Others also revise rough drafts that have been written by managers. The secretaries must possess excellent and spot-on grammar and spelling skills. They must also type quickly and accurately and skilled when it comes to customer service. They must have the technical knowledge of handling different computer software programs which include databases, spreadsheets, and graphics.
Secretary duties and responsibilities
A secretary is expected to perform the following responsibilities;
Before committee meetings
- Allocating a room where the meeting should be carried out
- Meeting with the chairperson and agreeing on the general agenda of the meeting
- Sending out a notice to the committee members of the place and time that the meeting is scheduled to take place and the agreed upon agenda.
- Preparing all the papers relevant to the meeting at least a week before the actual meeting. The papers should also include the correspondence from the last meeting and the minutes which is a record of the previous meeting.
During committee meetings
- Taking notes of the people present at the meeting. Also, noting the people who are not in attendance but earlier sent an apology.
- Circulating and reading out the minutes of the last meeting, while taking questions about the minutes and changing the minutes when required.
- Taking notes of what the participants of the meeting are saying when reporting on the immediate action undertaken. Also, noting the decisions undertaken by the committee.
- Reporting to the committee of any of the letters that have been written by the secretary and any of the replies received for immediate action to be taken.
After the committee meetings
- Writing up the formal minutes from the taken notes captured during the meeting in time for the issue to the next committee meeting
- Writing and sending off any of the letters that the committee had earlier requested to be dealt with.
It remains the sole responsibility of the secretary to maintain the latest records of the following;
- The committee member’s names, official addresses, and telephone numbers
- The names and addresses of the community association members
- Meetings that have been attended by the related community associated members
- Important contact of the relevant officials.
What are the secretarial duties specific to job title?
There are different duties assigned to the different secretaries in different industries. Here are the specific responsibilities of secretaries that fit into the job description.
Overall responsibilities of the secretary
- Ensuring that the committee meetings are administered appropriately to the members
- Ensuring that the other meetings such as the AGM and the events are also appropriately administered.
- Maintaining the membership records to fit the current system
- Monitoring of the community member action points taken during meetings.
Specific responsibilities of the secretary
- Planning and preparing the committee meetings and the AGM with others and appropriately assigning them. This includes planning the meeting dates, sending out meeting notification, booking rooms, minutes and other relevant documents. Also, drawing up the end meeting agendas with liaison with the chair.
- Ensuring that there is another minute take for the committee meetings. Especially when it comes to closed meetings.
- Accurately recording the decisions and the actions in the minutes and the report to the upcoming committee meetings and the progress of actions with the results and decisions formulated during the meetings.
- Maintaining the accurate and precise current membership records. Moreover, issuing the renewal of notices an also recording the membership fees with liaison with the treasurer.
- Dealing with correspondence through writing letter and emails that had been agreed upon during the committee meetings. Also, summarizing the correspondence and the emails that have been received for the next meeting and the drafting the appropriate replies.
- Planning for any of the related reporting that needs to be done. This is inclusive of the annual report for the community association members.
- Ensuring that the requirements of the Company House are adhered to.
- Making sure that the committee meetings are administered and appropriately recorded.
- The list of the directors of the companies’ house must also be updated to the current state
- Making sure that AGMs and EGMs are appropriately attended and recorded
- Keeping the membership records up to date
- Ensuring that the yearly returns coincide with the regulatory bodies as the appropriate in the right format.
There many job opportunities for secretaries in different sectors of the economy. Some of the largest employers of the secretaries are included in the following sectors;
- Social assistance
- Professional workstations
- Religious organizations
- Government and civil societies
- Scientific and technical services
Skills and core competencies of secretaries
1. Commitment to professional growth
The secretaries must understand that the profession that is continually evolving and therefore must keep updating their skills. The employers depend on them to continually improve the office efficiency of the workplace through their skills. Secretaries can impress the employers by elongating their training and seeking other opportunities for adding to their current skills. This continues to grow their professional values which are related to the skills in their CV.
2. Excellent communication skills
Most of the time spent by the secretaries are on the phone, emails, reports, letters and at the reception desk. This implies the use of the first impression on convening the ideas and values of the entire organization. The continued business growth is depended on how the clients, partners, and customers are treated. The secretaries should listen to the clients, follow directions and report feedback. There needs to be the stress of the verbal and organizational communication skills that differentiate you from other applicants.
3. Openness to teamwork
Secretaries should be open to teamwork with other departments to ensure that the objectives of the organization are achieved. This means that there should apply innovation, collaboration, and hard work. They should take initiatives to ensure that they improve the efficiency of the workplace.
Apart from the above skills, the secretaries must also possess interpersonal skills, multitask and pay attention to details. Since it is a pretty stressful job, they should also have stress management skills from the substantial input of work. The duties of a secretary can extend and diverse from the different industries. There is continued growth for the value of the secretaries hence creating more opportunities.
In case you are excited about the prospect of working at a reception desk, be prepared to enhance the influence on the operations of the organization. Also make sure to learn the duties of a secretary in an organisation. There needs to be an enhancement in the qualifications in order to set yourself apart from the rest of the secretaries. To gain more skills and competencies in the secretarial profession, you are urged to enroll in the different Administration and Secretarial courses.
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