OPSA is a SAQA recognised professional body for all administrative professionals in South Africa

10 Questions and a Selfie: Hannah Kirkwood

Hannah KirkwoodWhat is your full name?

Hannah Ursalla Kirkwood

What is your professional job title?

Executive Secretary

Tell us more about yourself and the role you fulfil at your company.

I am driven with passion in the role I play as an Executive Secretary and strongly believe that you should always give your best in order to achieve great results.

I have obtained a National Diploma in Payroll Administration where I have made it to the top ten for the National Certificate in Payroll Administration.  I am in my last year in completing the Technical Diploma in Financial Accounting

My role as an Executive Secretary to the Director for Finance is to lighten some of the workload by arranging meetings, cancelling appointments and co-ordinate workshops and training if and when the need arises. I must ensure that his dairy is updated on a daily basis according to changes of meetings and appointments. I prepare boardroom packs and set-up for meetings. My role is also to make travel arrangements (local and international). I am preparing reports, letters, memo’s and filing of documents electronically and hard copies.  Overall it is my duty to ensure that the Director is up to date with everything that is happening in his department.

What does a typical day in your life look like?

I usually have a short meeting with my boss every Monday morning in order for him to brief me of any new meeting requests and or developments within the department. This allows me to schedule his weekly meetings (internally or externally). I also prefer prioritising my tasks from urgent to less urgent on Mondays to ensure that all tasks and targets are delivered efficiently and effectively.  I am communicating with clients, stakeholders and supplying them with required information if and when the need arises.

Communicating with the office team on a daily basis, answering e-mails and calls, taking and conveying of messages to the relevant people.  I am preparing the boardrooms, scribing at meetings as well as preparing the minutes for the meeting and sending the draft minutes to the relevant parties. I am performing accounting duties by capturing invoices on the SAP system creating requisitions numbers and purchase order numbers. I liaise with our service providers and keep them up to date with their payments. I prefer to do filing by the end of the week to ensure that the new week starts on a clean slate.

Finish this sentence: The ideal way to start my day is …

Taking control of the day and ensure that you apply a positive mind set no matter what the day unfolds. This helps me to carry out my tasks / duties in a timeously manner.

What are the most important tools, programs and systems you use for your work?

The most important tools are my desktop, desk telephone and smart my phone as it enables my boss, colleagues, clients, stakeholders and service providers. I am using the following systems to carry out my duties: Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Powerpoint, SAP System, Microsoft outlook

What are your favourite apps and why?

My favourite apps are LinkedIn, Facebook, Skype, Messenger and Whatsapp. These apps are great for networking and allows you to connect with people anywhere in the world.   Messenger and Whatsapp also allows you to instantly communicate with people anywhere at any time.

How do you deal with conflicts or problems in the office?

Dealing with conflict is in the office is rather complex as people with different personalities and backgrounds work together to achieve the company’s goal. It is therefore very important that we respect one another at all times even though we disagree on certain things within the workplace. People have different levels of degrees when it comes to assertiveness and cooperativeness, I believe that problems in the office should not be taken personally and it should be dealt with immediately and in a professional manner so colleagues can focus on the company’s objectives

Do you have some advice for aspiring Office Professionals?

Office Professionals should not allow circumstances to deter them of course but to continue striving to achieve their goals.  There is no short cut to success but working hard and discipline pays off. Office Professionals should always be committed in their workplace, and should never compromise on their morals and integrity. Furthering your studies and attending training on a regular basis is of utmost importance to keep abreast of changes in the workplace.

Finish this sentence: My favourite thing about being an Office Professional is …

It gives me the opportunity to interact with people with different backgrounds, different cultures and believes and also to assist and help other office professionals.

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