A general administrator is also known as an office manager or administrative assistant. While job descriptions will vary somewhat by company, the general administrator may be responsible for handling all correspondence, answering phone lines, taking messages, preparing reports and other general office duties. In some cases, general administrators may need specialized training to complete some of these tasks in highly technical office environments. The term is most commonly used for office jobs in English-speaking countries outside of North America.
One of the primary responsibilities of a general administrator is to handle all correspondence, not only checking incoming mail and making sure it gets to the appropriate person, but also typing correspondence for outgoing mail. Some general administrators may have to go to the post office to pick up the mail, but often the mail is delivered to a central location in an office for further distribution. This duty is vitally important to many businesses, which could have bids or other documents that need to be examined under tight deadlines.
In some office environments, a general administrator is responsible for preparing reports in a variety of software platforms. Therefore, these positions require a good understanding of office software, including products used for word processing, spreadsheets, and slide presentations. Often, the general administrator is responsible for taking the raw information and putting it into a format that is appealing and presentable. A supervisor will usually sign off on the finished product before it is sent out.
With the advent of direct extensions and voicemail, the job of a general administrator regarding answering and transferring phone calls is somewhat diminished in most offices. There are times, however, when the employee may be called upon to answer phones for the boss or other executives. Some matters may not be able to wait and it is up to the administrator to understand the situation and come up with an appropriate response. Further, some executives prefer that a front office person screen phone calls before sending them through.
Another way in which general administrators may offer administrative support is through database management. For example, if the company has memberships or needs to maintain a sales list, this is a duty that may fall to the general administrator. It is up to this person to make sure the database does not have out-of-date information in order to maintain reliable contact with clients.
In some offices, the general administrator is also responsible for setting and maintaining the schedule of one or more executives. In this situation, the administrator will set up meetings, confirm appointments, and try to keep the day on schedule as much as possible. This may also include arranging travel plans.