What Does a Back Office Assistant Do?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen
A back office assistant may be counted on to perform basic or advanced administrative tasks.
A back office assistant may be counted on to perform basic or advanced administrative tasks.

A back office assistant performs tasks necessary for the administration of a business, typically under the supervision of a back office manager or, in small offices, directly under the professional or professionals who offer services. The work of this assistant depends largely on the type of business that he or she works for. In many back offices, an assistant may be responsible for completing basic or even advanced office administration and bookkeeping tasks. In medical or dental offices, assistants may perform basic lab work, prepare specimens for testing, or code medical records for insurance billing.

A back office assistant at a medical practice may be tasked with ordering supplies.
A back office assistant at a medical practice may be tasked with ordering supplies.

In many businesses, some workers may have responsibility for working with clients and customers as well as the general public. This staff is frequently said to work in the front office. Staff members who focus on performing support and administrative services that keep the business running but who have few dealings with customers and clients are considered back office staff. The number of employees and the variety and complexity of their duties is different in every back office. If there is more than one employee in a particular office, typically at least one person acts as a manager overseeing the work of others. If the back office consists of several different departments, each working under a different manager, a back office assistant may perform a relatively narrow range of tasks within that department.

In many back offices, an assistant may perform basic duties.
In many back offices, an assistant may perform basic duties.

In situations where a back office performs administrative, IT, and accounting functions, each back office assistant may focus on assisting the department in performing these necessary tasks. For example, he or she may be responsible for maintaining spreadsheets on all or some of the businesses finances. The assistant would then report to his or her manager, who may be an accountant, comptroller, or head bookkeeper. Those who perform other, more general types of office tasks may report to an office manager.

Clerical duties assigned to a back office assistant may include making photocopies.
Clerical duties assigned to a back office assistant may include making photocopies.

The qualifications to be a back office assistant vary according to the tasks performed as well as the nature of the office. In many cases, a back office assistant who works in office administration will be expected to have at least a high school diploma and experience working with various types of standard office software. Those who perform more specialized tasks, such as bookkeeping, may need to have some type of certification or education in spreadsheet management. Medical office workers typically must have even more specialized skills and training in areas such as lab work or medical billing.

What is Back Office Assistant?

Back office assistants may help co-workers tackle overflow projects.
Back office assistants may help co-workers tackle overflow projects.

A back office assistant is someone who helps with tasks that occur what is referred to as the back office of a business. This isn't always a specific place. Instead, the term back office refers to all the jobs that aren't considered client-facing. Assistants here do the tasks that customers or clients don't see or get involved with, such as inventory management, order processing, billing, shipping, and many other administrative duties. That makes this job a good fit for those who aren't interested in direct customer service, but who are interested in helping to support a business in other ways.

What is a Back Office Medical Assistant?

A back office assistant may be responsible for scheduling executive meetings.
A back office assistant may be responsible for scheduling executive meetings.

Medical back office assistants just may be the fastest-growing sector of this exciting career field. Back office assistants in medical offices may help with more specialized tasks than their counterparts in other places. For example, medical back office assistants may work with billing and payment processing, which often requires additional training or certification. Medical back office assistants may also help get lab specimens ready to be tested or to be shipped to testing centers.

Medical back office assistants may also help with patients. This is different than other assistant jobs, where working directly with clients or customers isn't the usual process. Back office medical assistants can help guide patients from the waiting room to exam rooms or testing rooms, take basic vital signs like temperature and blood pressure, and document the chief complaints that the patient has for the doctors.

Where Do Back Office Assistants Work?

Back office assistants may be found in the following types of businesses:

  • Doctor's offices
  • Dental offices
  • Retail stores
  • Sales companies
  • Financial companies
  • Telecommunications companies
  • And more

Many back office assistants work in an actual office. Others, especially those working in medical offices, may work in a laboratory. Some assistants may also work on a factory floor or in other locations on the business's property. In some cases, back office assistants may even be able to work from home if their tasks allow for it. No matter where an assistant works, the work hours are typically the same as the business's operating hours.

Back office assistant positions can be seasonal, part-time, or full-time. Full-time positions may come with a salary and other benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, and more. Seasonal and part-time positions may not have the same benefits but they may be a great option for employees who need a more flexible schedule or who are currently in school.

How Much Do Back Office Assistants Make?

The average annual salary for all types of back office assistant jobs in the US is $41,690. The exact salary for a back office assistant can vary based on the type of tasks and the location of the work. For example, medical back office assistants make an average of $36,746 per year. Those who have training in medical billing and coding or who have quite a bit of prior experience can expect to make more.

Keep in mind that areas that have a higher cost of living and generally higher wages may pay more for the same jobs than in less expensive areas. Employees who have some flexibility in where they live and work may want to take that into account when accepting a job offer.

What Are the Benefits of Becoming a Back Office Assistant?

Businesses will always need help keeping their back offices in order, especially as a business grows. This helps make back office assistant jobs a stable and fast-growing career field. This field also offers many opportunities for advancement. When assistants work on teams, there may be chances to move up into team manager or supervisor roles. For smaller businesses, those who start as back office assistants may be able to advance into other roles within the company.

Back office skills may also be easily transferrable to other career fields. Basic accounting, inventory management, bookkeeping, testing, and more are useful talents in a wide variety of industries.

How to Become a Back Office Medical Assistant?

For those interested in becoming a back office medical assistant, there are several paths to this career. Some positions are entry-level, meaning that you don't need specific training or certifications to start. Others, such as jobs that involve medical billing and coding, may require specialized training. That training can come from online courses or from in-person classes at colleges and universities. Getting these certifications requires time, but it is often time very well spent. Some employers may help pay for the cost of the certification in order to recruit and retain the best talent for their workforce.

What is a Back Office Assistant?

A back-office assistant is a professional who is responsible for performing non-client facing administrative duties. These individuals typically work in the back office of a business helping with order processing, billing, shipping, inventory management, and other administrative tasks. As previously mentioned, back-office assistants usually do not interact with clients or customers, but they may interact with other professionals and front-of-office staff members. The job is ideal for individuals who wish to provide administrative support to a company without having to interact with its clients.

Companies may hire more than one individual to carry out back-office duties. Depending on the company an individual is employed with and the tasks they are responsible for carrying out, a back-office assistant may report to a manager or supervisor within a certain department. In addition to routine administrative work, back-office professionals may also perform IT and accounting functions. Such individuals may report to a comptroller, accountant, or head bookkeeper.

What is Front Office vs Back Office Assistant?

A front office assistant typically performs a variety of client-facing administrative tasks. These individuals may be responsible for answering phones, processing payments, resolving customer complaints, and ensuring the front office is neat and clean. Since client interaction is expected, it is not uncommon for front office assistants to spend much of their day talking to and interacting with others. Back-office assistants, on the other hand, typically do not have client-facing duties. They may still perform administrative tasks and provide support to the business, but they will usually only interact with other professionals.

How to Become a Back Office Assistant

To become a back-office assistant, you may need to acquire certain professional and educational qualifications. Since you will be expected to perform administrative tasks, you will need to have experience performing clerical duties, such as making photocopies, filing documents, and utilizing basic office software. Typically, you will need at least a high school diploma or GED, but if you are responsible for performing more complex accounting or IT tasks, you may need a two or four-year degree from a credible institution. Medical back-office workers will need to possess more specialized skills and training related to medical billing and lab work.

Where Do Back Office Assistants Work?

Back-office assistants can be found in a variety of settings. It is not uncommon for back-office assistants to work in the following places:

  • Medical and dental offices
  • Law firms
  • Financial firms
  • Retail establishments
  • Other professional settings

While the majority of back-office assistants are employed in actual offices, there are some who may work in a laboratory, warehouse, or factory setting. In some cases, companies may even allow their back-office assistants to work from home. Regardless of where a back-office assistant is employed, working hours are usually the same as the company’s operating hours.

Back-office assistant roles can be full-time, part-time, or seasonal. Companies employing office assistants may offer a yearly salary with benefits such as paid time off, health insurance, and more. Part-time and seasonal back-office assistants may not enjoy the same employment benefits, but they are often allowed to work more flexible schedules and they usually receive an hourly salary.

Are There Benefits to Working as a Back Office Assistant?

There are many benefits to working as a back-office assistant. Companies will always need individuals to provide administrative support, so back-office assistants will always be in demand. The field also offers opportunities for advancement. Since many back-office assistants work in teams, there is always the opportunity to move up and become a supervisor or team manager. Back-office assistants employed by smaller businesses and organizations may have the opportunity to assume other higher-paying roles within the company.

The skills one acquires from working as a back-office assistant may be transferable to other careers and industries. Skills such as bookkeeping, basic accounting, computer use, and organization are universally valued.

How Much Do Back Office Assistants Make?

The salary of a back-office assistant depends on a variety of factors, including location, years of experience, and education and training. In general, back-office assistants with more experience receive higher compensation, as do those who perform specialized accounting, medical, laboratory, or IT tasks. The average salary for all types of back-office assistants is $41,690 in the United States. Individuals with specialized coding and billing experience can also expect to make more. Areas with higher costs of living typically offer higher salaries.

How Can I Find Employment as a Back Office Assistant?

You should visit online job boards if you wish to find a job as a back-office assistant. Such sites can help you find the right position in the area you wish to work in. These sites also allow visitors to post resumes and sometimes communicate directly with employers.

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    • A back office assistant may be counted on to perform basic or advanced administrative tasks.
      By: sepy
      A back office assistant may be counted on to perform basic or advanced administrative tasks.
    • A back office assistant at a medical practice may be tasked with ordering supplies.
      By: .shock
      A back office assistant at a medical practice may be tasked with ordering supplies.
    • In many back offices, an assistant may perform basic duties.
      By: michaeljung
      In many back offices, an assistant may perform basic duties.
    • Clerical duties assigned to a back office assistant may include making photocopies.
      By: Gianluca Rasile
      Clerical duties assigned to a back office assistant may include making photocopies.
    • Back office assistants may help co-workers tackle overflow projects.
      By: CJM Grafx
      Back office assistants may help co-workers tackle overflow projects.
    • A back office assistant may be responsible for scheduling executive meetings.
      By: Rido
      A back office assistant may be responsible for scheduling executive meetings.