Administrative Assistant's Update

February 2018

Focuses on the training and development needs of admin professionals and features topics such as hard skills (software competencies, writing, communication, filing) and soft skills (teamwork, time management, leadership).

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By Jennifer Lewington AAU Associate Editor In Evelyn Serbout's near 30-year career as an admin professional in three countries, one constant stands out: employer demand for her skills in finance, budgeting and bookkeeping. "It is a career builder for sure," says Serbout, who joined the City of Calgary 20 years ago. "It is definitely an asset." As office administrator of the election and census division of the city clerk's office, a posi - tion she has held for the past four years, Serbout estimates that 75 per cent of her duties involve tracking budgets, purchases, vendor payments and bookkeeping. Her experience fits an emerging trend – demand for admins with finance-related skills – identified by top recruitment firms in Canada. This year Randstad Canada added bookkeeper to its annual list of best administrative jobs, noting that "more than half of the most popular skills employers look for when hiring admin - istrative staff involve accounting func- tions such as accounts payable and receivable, knowledge of accounting software and general bookkeeping." Technology is one reason why employers, large and small, look for admins with accounting skills, says Erich Johnson, a certified staffing consultant with Randstad Canada. With new computer software for basic accounting and other processes, for example, savvy admins can take on tasks once limited to a trained accountant. "Administrative support professionals definitely have to have that flexibility to take on new responsibilities and new tasks," says Johnson. "It [the admin role] is not just calendar man - agement, travel expenses and emails. There are so many applications and tools available to make things much more efficient." He adds: "you don't have to be a certified financial analyst; you have to have comfort with numbers to see the [budget] trends and know something is a bit off." Dianne Hunnam-Jones, a district president for OfficeTeam in Toronto, expects no let-up in demand for admins with accounting and related skills. "We have seen that trend increasing and we anticipate it will con - tinue to increase." As companies replace their organizational silos with inter-office collaboration, she says FEBRUARY 2018 P R O F E S S I O N A L D E V E L O P M E N T F O R C A N A D A ' S O F F I C E S U P P O R T S T A F F Administrative Assistant's UPDATE UPDATE PM #40065782 INSIDE Devices in meetings � � � � � � � � 2 Do university lecture findings hold true for business meetings? LinkedIn tips � � � � � � � � � � � � � 3 Adding video as status update can build thought leadership Word's hidden features � � � � � 6 Keyboard-mouse moves save time, make docs impressive Shine at work in 2018 � � � � � � � 7 Take control of your reputation in these 5 steps Can soft skills be learned? Yes, soft skills can be learned, said a preponderance (92%) of a thou- sand employers, employees and job seekers interviewed online by Ipsos Reid for Randstad Canada. A minority (8%) of respon- dents agreed with a premise that soft skills are innate and cannot be learned. Respondents with less than a high school education were most likely (16%) to agree, whereas university graduates (6%) and respondents with a post-sec- ondary education (also 6%) were less likely to agree that soft skills cannot be learned. Mentorship and coaching were most often mentioned as top fac- tors in development of soft skills. Continued on page 4 Evelyn Serbout Admins gain edge with finance skills C r e d i t : ic o n v e ct o rs t o c k ( S h u tter s t oc k) Erich Johnson Dianne Hunnam-Jones

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