Are You an Executive Assistant or an Office Manager - What's the Difference?

Administrative Assistant Resource
February 10, 2014 — 22,666 views  
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Many of us get confused between the position of an office manager and an executive assistant. For some, becoming an office manager from an executive assistant is like taking a step ahead, but that may not always be the case. The job description and tasks for both positions have many similarities, as well as differences. The differences in the tasks may even differ from organization to organization. You have to be very careful when deciding on advancement opportunities as the step you might like to take may be the wrong one and can even be detrimental for your career growth.

Difference Between an ‘Office Manager’ an ‘Executive Assistant’

The main difference between an office manager and an executive assistant is that office managers serve the wider needs of all the employees in a small organization while executive assistants cater to the specific needs of only a few of the top managerial executives. 

If you are an executive assistant, your job is normally centered on looking after the needs of the executive directors for whom you work. Your daily tasks may include setting up private appointments and managing the day-to-day program of one particular executive, or you may have to carry out the appointments for various high-ranking officers. Supervising the work of other office personnel might also come under your control. You may have to administer official tasks like preparing power point slides or any demos which the executives may find useful.

The main duty of an office manager is to arrange official support services, which include facilities management and purchasing. Apart from these as an office manager you may have to oversee the buying process, choose the office vendors, arrange daily building safety checks, direct the maintenance force, and provide ergonomics training for all the workers. Some office managers, particularly those who are working in small and mid-level establishments, may even have to do menial jobs like book-keeping and financial obligations like looking after the account book and ledgers.

The Ideal Time for a Switch From one Position to the Other

Since the responsibilities and tasks for both these positions are pretty vague, you have to seriously consider what can be the best option for you in terms of your career growth. The best time for a switch is when you are thinking of changing roles. Most professionals can get bored with their work at some point. Switching from an office manager to an executive assistant or vice versa can be done if the tasks involved are different in the two positions and you are seeking a change in roles. You must talk to your manger about your feelings and ask him/her for guidance. You can even contact people who are currently working in the same role in which you are looking to switch and learn about the job from them. This will not only be good for your future but will also help you in gaining an insight into how the company functions.

Administrative Assistant Resource