Executive Assistants are a fundamental part of any organisation, providing valuable support to senior management. Therefore, it is really important for Executive Assistants to be highly efficient in dealing with daily tasks. This will enable them to optimise and prioritise their roles to deliver the best support for the managers. One of the most common prerequisites is using IT systems that are commonly used within any office. Offices use systems from various providers, including Google, Microsoft, Sage, Oracle, Workday, etc. However, the most common requirement for an Executive Assistant is in Microsoft Office. Therefore, what are the requirements for Microsoft Office Skills for Executive Assistant Jobs?

Microsoft Office Skills for Executive Assistants

Microsoft Office contains core programs, which include Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Outlook and Microsoft Access. Additionally, when you are using the cloud version of Microsoft Office, which is Office 365, you will likely encounter Teams, SharePoint, Office 365 and maybe a few other programs. All jobs have different requirements, given the diverse range of programs.

Outlook Skills

Microsoft Outlook is fundamental for any Executive Assistant or PA. This is because email and diary management are fundamental parts of any Executive Assistant job. The management of correspondence and the daily life of the manager or managers you support is often done inside Outlook. Executive Assistants careers are some of the most advanced users of Outlook, as they frequently manage multiple diaries over several timezones, share information within Outlook, use Outlook to work plan, and so much more. The good news for any prospective Executive Assistants is that Outlook is relatively easier to gain advanced skills than many Microsoft Office programs. We offer our Microsoft Outlook Diploma for an Executive Assistant for people keen to gain these skills.

Excel Skills

A research program found that 81% of businesses use Excel. Therefore, it is important for Executive Assistants to have good Excel skills. In recent years, we have found more Executive Assistants are using Excel as they get greater business exposure. This is because you often see management reports, expense reports, data reports, and many other items in Excel. Data that comes into your manager may need an amendment, which will need a fix in Excel. Additionally, Excel can offer options to automate your tasks.

Word and PowerPoint

Microsoft Word has traditionally been central to an Executive Assistant job. However, many EA jobs require fewer formal business documents and letters, meaning Word is still an important program but less all-important. Microsoft Word is far more important for anyone in a role with many business documents.  Typical documents will likely be Minutes, Business letters and other formal communications.

PowerPoint is a program that is growing in popularity for Executive Assistants. This is because managers often present using PowerPoint, and the editing and producing of the presentation will often involve the EA. It is important that you have the skill set to be able to edit or even create presentations for your manager. Therefore, PowerPoint is a growing requirement for EAs. Surveys have shown that EAs, PAs, and related roles must be updated.

Office 365 and SharePoint

Since COVID-19, Executive Assistants have increasingly worked remotely, virtually and flexibly. This means that working with SharePoint is very important and common. EAs will need to manage SharePoint and be responsible for sites within SharePoint. This means that strong knowledge is required by many employers now. Office 365 is the cloud version of Microsoft Office. Office 365 includes SharePoint but also covers the entire cloud version of Microsoft Office. Generally, if you are working from home, it is likely that you will use Office 365 extensively. You do not need to learn Excel, Outlook, etc. again, but you need to learn how the Office 365 environment can be different. You must make certain adjustments, but ensure you know these areas.

Virtual Meeting Software

Virtual meetings are a part of the workplace. This means you are most likely to use the market leader, Teams. It is a great system and offers integration to Office 365 and SharePoint. Advanced users of Teams can make their jobs much easier. You are likely to run, attend, and minute-take meetings inside Teams. Therefore, it is essential that you are excellent in this area. The non-Microsoft software options, including Zoom, GoTo Meeting, and WebEx options, can also be used. However, adapting between these portals is not particularly difficult.

The mix of skills is quite important for any EA, but you often need industry-specific skills, or you can add additional programs to improve your performance. You can find details of our Microsoft Office Courses here. The more niche programs such as Visio, Microsoft Project, Planner or potentially Power BI are all used. The more diverse your IT skills are, the better. This article focussed on Microsoft Office, but there are many non-Microsoft options. Google Suite is a credible alternative to Microsoft Office. However, there are also options from SAP, Oracle, Workday, Salesforce, and so many other providers of business software.