Assistants (As) often act as the manager's first point of contact with people from both inside and outside the organization. This means that their tasks and skills can often be divided into two fields of technical skills and personal skills.
Tasks may include but are not limited to:
- Devising and maintaining office systems, including data management and filing.
- Arranging travel, visas and accommodation and, occasionally, travelling with the manager to take notes or dictation at meetings or to provide general assistance during presentations;
- Screening phone calls, inquiries and requests, and handling them when appropriate;
- Meeting and greeting visitors at all levels of seniority;
- Organizing and maintaining diaries and making appointments;
- Dealing with incoming email, faxes and post, often corresponding on behalf of the manager;
- Taking dictation and minutes;
- Carrying out background research and presenting findings;
- Producing documents, briefing papers, reports and presentations;
- Organizing and attending meetings and ensuring the manager is well prepared for meetings;
- Liaising with clients, suppliers and other staff.
In addition to supporting managers, their team and departments, many PAs also have their own personal workload and responsibilities. The scope of the PA's role can be extensive and additional duties may include:
- Carrying out specific projects and research;
- Responsibility for accounts and budgets;
- Taking on some of the manager's responsibilities and working more closely with management;
- Deputizing for the manager, making decisions and delegating work to others in the manager's absence;
- Being involved in decision-making processes.