A clerical assistant is responsible for providing general office support for a group of people. This type of assistant may work in any number of fields, including law offices, schools, and many businesses. The precise duties for which the clerical assistant is responsible vary depending on the company, but it is common for an assistant to answer telephones, perform filing, and schedule meetings. Various types of computer tasks may also be included, and using basic office machinery is common. Different companies have different expectations for people in this position, so it is a good idea to read the job description thoroughly in order to determine what a specific clerical position entails.
Working with phones is often a large part of a clerical assistant's job. In some companies, a clerical assistant might also be responsible for answering emails and social networking messages. Assistants often communicate with customers and business relations using these methods to perform essential functions for the company.
Using office equipment is another large part of a clerical assistant's job. Scanners, copiers, and fax machines are often used to perform a variety of functions. Computers, of course, are often used for virtual filing, message composition, and many other tasks. Data entry on computers is commonly assigned to clerical assistants, as is maintenance of computerized date books and other organizational materials. Sometimes management of small amounts of money and preparation of small budgets is also assigned to assistants.
Making appointments is often a task appointed to clerical assistants. An assistant may be responsible for scheduling meetings, making sure appointments do not overlap, and redirecting potential clients to an appropriate member of the office staff. Often, an assistant is also required to organize mail and other communication materials. Depending on the type of work the office performs, a clerical assistant may be required to sign for packages and important materials and direct those materials to their appropriate destinations.
The primary duty of any assistant is to assist other workers, and therefore the precise duties an assistant might be asked to perform vary by office. For example, in a library, an assistant might be asked to apply bar codes to books, while in a school an assistant might be asked to help hand out locker combinations. In this profession, flexibility is extremely useful, particularly if someone is working for the office in a temporary capacity. What a clerical assistant primarily does is make the office an easier place to work, and the assistant does this by doing what he or she is told.