An office manager serves as a general overseer of a business' operations. The person who holds this position is responsible for a wide variety of tasks and responsibilities that can vary greatly depending on the industry, type and size of the business. Most businesses have one primary office manager, while others may split the responsibilities among a few selected individuals.
The office manager is typically expected to handle a great deal of general responsibilities. These may include accounting and bookkeeping, clerical duties, payroll management, ordering supplies, building management, or even hiring and firing employees.Accounting and bookkeeping responsibilities may include keeping track of accounts receivable and accounts payable, end-of-year tax calculations and account reconciliations. Clerical duties include answering the phone and transferring calls to extensions, receiving and sending packages, document creation, faxing, filing, and creating expense reports. Payroll duties require keeping track of employee timesheets or hours worked, calculating base pay or overtime and distributing paychecks to employees. Ordering supplies involves keeping a running inventory of supplies in-house and making new orders when necessary. These supplies could be business equipment, office supplies or even groceries for the break room. Building management encompasses all tasks related to keeping the physical building in order. This may necessitate paying the rent and utility bills, hiring contractors or service companies for construction work or repair and overseeing building renovations. Office managers in charge of employee retention and human resources may place advertisements for new employees, conduct the interview and orientation, or have the uncomfortable task of firing employees who do not perform to par.
To complete the multitude of tasks expected of them, office managers must possess a number of skills. The office manager is the person in the office who gets things done and keeps things in order; therefore, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills are essential. The office manager also maintains many relationships with employees, upper management, vendors and the public, so being personable and friendly is necessary. Good mathematical skills are also required for office managers who have bookkeeping or accounting responsibilities. Lastly, a good office manager is a master multi-tasker. Office managers must complete their daily duties in spite of a myriad of distractions — be it the phone ringing, client visits or constant emails — so keeping a clear head during hectic times is a priceless skill.
Becoming an office manager typically requires a few years of administrative-assistant or office-assistant experience. However, the role of an office manager takes that of an administrative assistant a few steps further into more of a leadership position with additional responsibilities. A college degree is not required but is helpful when applying to an office manager position.
Office managers are a crucial part of any business, large or small. The best office managers are effective communicators, problem solvers, leaders and great multi-taskers. While there is a huge load of responsibility on the office manager's shoulders, the reward is great, as office managers are nearly indispensable.
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