How can an office manager help your SME?

What can an office manager do for your small business? Just about anything you need done. An office manager can handle a wide variety of duties; in fact, you'll find the specific job description varies from company to company. Overall, however, the goal of the office manager role is to keep your company running smoothly and efficiently.

Some companies want an office manager whose primary role is to be an administrative assistant or receptionist. In other businesses, the office manager may take on more responsibilities, maybe acting as a human resources director or technology trouble-shooter. Here are some of the tasks office managers often handle.

Telephones: The office manager often handles a business's phone system, ensuring that it's operating smoothly and fulfilling the company's needs. They may also be in charge of answering the phones.

Reception: Office managers can sit in your reception area and handle duties such as greeting visitors, signing for deliveries, receiving and distributing mail, and keeping the reception area neat.

Office supplies: Office managers can keep track of supply levels and order office supplies. Having all orders routed through one person is a good way to prevent duplicate orders or excessive spending.

Furniture: Office managers are frequently in charge of choosing and purchasing furnishings such as desks, chairs, and filing cabinets.

Equipment: Office managers can maintain equipment such as photocopiers and fax machines. They might be able to fix mechanical problems, or at least call in professionals to repair the equipment.

Computers: It's a good idea for your office manager to be familiar with basic computer problems so they can help employees when their computers or printers freeze. This allows your technology support staff to focus on more important tasks.

Data: Organising records, data, and paperwork is usually the primary role of the office manager. They should develop a comprehensive and easy-to-follow filing system for invoices, receipts, client information, and other important documents.

Bookkeeping: Some small businesses rely on the office manager for bookkeeping. Duties might include keeping track of client billing, compiling employee hours, acting as a liaison with the company's accountant, or performing payroll services.

Meeting and event planning: Your office manager can be responsible for on and offsite meeting arrangements, as well as events such as exhibitions at trade shows and the company's holiday party in the absence of an event planner or marketing coordinator.

HR management: Within many small businesses, the office manager is the de-facto human resources department, handling issues such as new employee paperwork and employee files.

Look for an office manager who is experienced, has strong people skills, and is good at multi-tasking. This is a demanding role with many challenges. When you consider how an office manager can streamline your business operations, you'll agree it's worth paying for someone who has the skills you need.

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