What is a personal secretary?
A personal secretary is a professional who carries out daily or particular tasks for the executives in a company or organisation.
This person does work of administrative support for a senior member of staff, whether the manager or the general director, and could be employed by the company itself or could be an independent person.
Their principal mission is to help to reduce the work load on the executive staff and at the same time watch over the efficiency of the tasks to be done.
Often a personal secretary can do this work on a part time basis when their help or support is needed.
What are their main functions?
The list of tasks to be done is varied and can range from managing time and appointments to answering the telephone, passing through dealing with correspondence, accompanying or arranging business travel and the organisation of all kinds of projects.
Among the more important jobs that can be done by the personal secretary, we can mention the following:
- Filtering the calls received by the manager, passing them to the relevant departments when possible.
- Managing the diary, organising meetings, arranging travel, hotel bookings and airline tickets.
- Dealing with a long list of administrative and secretarial tasks, such as sending e-mails, preparing reports, taking the minutes of meetings and processing texts.
- Preparing meetings, finding specialised information and setting it out in a clear and concise form.
All these tasks to be done by the personal secretary have to be carried out with personal aptitudes and abilities which are not insignificant, for the correct development of the work.
In many cases these aptitudes are much more important than the technical knowledge that these professionals are supposed to have.
Some of the aptitudes that a personal secretary must have
Among the aptitudes required for the personal secretary there is, above all, being a versatile person.
The principal aptitudes are:
- A strong facility for communication both verbal and written.
- Excellent gifts for organisation.
- Paying great attention to detail.
- Discretion and knowing how to manage confidential information.
- Keeping calm and being able to work under pressure.
- High gifts in planning and knowing how to prioritise the work.
Sometimes the figure of the personal secretary works for non-profit entities or associations, such as Parents’ Associations, Trade Associations, NGOs.
Also for SMEs and small businesses where they do not have their own staff, but need to outsource these tasks so that they can concentrate on their main activity.
These entities require tasks more related with administrative work and accounting, such as managing receipts, bank direct payments, accounting entries, tax, etc.