Career Overview: Office Manager

What They Do

The basic job function of an office manager is to direct the front offices of companies, businesses, nonprofit groups, government agencies and other types of organizations. Their responsibilities may include simple tasks such as greeting the public and more complex responsibilities such as managing employees and the work environment. Other administrative tasks such as billing, pricing and payroll are generally assigned to an office manager. In a sales office, the office manager may have some light accounting and financial responsibilities, such as tracking invoices and overseeing payroll and billing.

 

Office managers in smaller organizations or companies may be responsible for hiring staff to work in the office. In this situation, an understanding of principles in human resources — such as training, labor relations and recruitment — is paramount to a successful, efficient office.

Education and Training

Individuals pursuing employment as an office manager often obtain a strong educational basis in business. Candidates with a Bachelor of Business Administration, for example, have the skills and knowledge needed to manage offices efficiently and effectively. This type of degree can be a strong asset for securing a position in competitive markets. Courses in a business administration program directly relating to office management include leadership, organizational behavior, business law, accounting and finance.

 

Office managers can also choose to specialize in certain industries. For instance, with some experience and, ideally, law courses in a paralegal or pre-law program, an office manager could become a law office manager. Similar career tracks exist in other industries, such as management opportunities at accounting and creative firms.

Skills

Due to the influence of technology on the business world, many companies look for prospective employees with proficiency in office-related technologies such as computer networking devices, light maintenance on computer systems and record management software. Additionally, programs such as accounting software, project management software and document management software are commonly used in this line of work.

 

Because an office manager often works closely with both the public and other members of the staff, communication is key to success. Communication skills such as problem sensitivity, active listening and comprehension are important. Communication motivates the staff and provides guidance, and direction to subordinates breeds efficient organizational behavior and intraoffice relationships.

Career Outlook

The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) projects that positions such as office managers will grow at an average pace of approximately 12 percent. The median annual salary for an office manager in the United States is between $50,000 and $51,000. However, salary for an office manager depends on the size of the organization and the industry. Top industries for successful office managers are finance and insurance as well as health care and social assistance.

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