As a office assistant you may perform a wide range of tasks that support the company you work for. On any given day, you might file paperwork, greet clients, sort mail, answer the telephone, prepare expense reports, and do a host of other things that are essential to the functioning of the business.
Perhaps you perform these same tasks under a different job title, such as administrative assistant or office clerk. No matter what your position in the company is called, you need strong people skills, an eye for detail, and computer skills.
A staff assistant may make around $38,000 a year, but as an accountant, you could make $58,000 per year or more. However, the financial experience you've gained as a staff assistant won't be enough to propel you into an accounting career. In order to become an accountant, you will need to:
- Attend college and obtain a bachelor's degree.
- Pick a specialty. Most accountants specialize in either corporate finance or public finance.
- Find a job as an accountant.
Technically, you do not need a college degree in order to work as an accountant, but most employers prefer that you have this extra education. If you plan to advance your career further and become a CPA, you may even choose to pursue a master's degree.
As an accountant, you will need to cultivate several key skills, including:
- Time management
Office Supervisor or Office Manager
You might like people more than you like crunching numbers. In such a case, you may think about pursuing a job as an office supervisor. An office supervisor is a leader. In this role, you'll manage other team members, training them and answering their questions. You may also do some of the same tasks that you did as a staff assistant, such as greeting customers and answering telephone calls. You'll need to review reports and prepare paperwork, as well.
Office manager is a related role. It may come with more responsibility than a job as an office supervisor, but the necessary skills are basically the same.
To set yourself up for success as an office supervisor or an office manager, make sure that you:
- Look into opportunities to continue your education. If you do not have the time to pursue a bachelor's degree, consider certificate programs that can enhance your proficiency with key computer programs, like MS Word and Excel.
- Accept feedback from others in your workplace. Learn from others' experience.
- Strive to excel at your current job. Your boss will notice your efforts.
Staff Services Manager
Staff services managers can make around $60,000 per year, making this job more than worth your consideration. Someone in this position may:
- Keep track of and order office supplies.
- Manage office personnel.
- Evaluate office policies and recommend any needed changes.
In this job, you will need to have awesome communication skills, an eye for detail, and a firm grasp of how the company you work for operates. You'll likely need an associate's degree or higher in order to be considered for this position.
Advancing Your Career
No one wants to get stuck in a rut. If you would like to earn a promotion or become qualified for a higher-paying position, you need to stay on top of your job. Follow these tips to increase your chances of moving forward:
- Keep your resume up to date. You're awesome, and your resume should show it!
- Network, network, network. Knowing the right people will alert you to job openings. Plus, you'll be able to learn from your peers.
- Maintain a positive attitude. Treasure your accomplishments, and keep a record of them. Not only will this give you an ego boost, but it will also give you something to say when an interviewer asks you what accomplishments you're most proud of.
There is nothing wrong with being a staff assistant, but maybe you don't want "assistant" to be part of your job title forever. By furthering your education and honing your skills, you can set yourself up for a lucrative future as an accountant, office manager, or staff services manager.
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