What Does A Chief Administrative Officer Do?

"I have always been an achiever. Ever since I can remember, I have always received awards for excellent academic performance. I intend to do the same with my management course now that I am in college and even when I start to work in any company. I am willing to work from the ground up and get promoted based on performance until I can ultimately become a chief executive officer. I came across a job description that intrigued me—that of a chief administrative officer. I’ve never encountered this before so I’d like to know more about it. What does a chief administrative officer do?"

asked by Terrence D. from Pensacola, Florida

A chief administrative officer (CAO) is one of the top executives of a company who often directly reports to the chief executive officer (CEO). A Chief Administrative Officer often handles the finance, sales, human resources and marketing aspects of the business. The CAO to it that these departments perform well and contribute to the company’s bottom line. A CAO is also commonly known as a chief operating officer (COO).

Because the CAO is in charge of various aspects of the company, the CAO should be knowledgeable on the operations of virtually all facets of the organization. While the company follows the CEO’s lead, it is often the CAO that sets the mood for its work culture, especially in matters of team collaboration and employee contribution to ideas that will grow the company.

Part of the job of a CAO is that of giving directions to the department managers of the firm so that their actions will be in consonance with the company’s overall strategy. Be responsible for instructing and motivating them so that they will be encouraged to work for the good of the company.

In addition to giving leadership and guidance, the CAO is also responsible for coming up with and executing the strategic plan and the spending plan of the organization.

Evaluating the company’s administrative policy to determine if changes need to be made is also part of the job of the CAO. If a review has shown that modifications are necessary, he takes steps to realize these changes.

Because this is a top-tier position, it requires substantial work experience in the field and advanced educational qualifications. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is often required for aspiring executives. This provides the future CAO with the background needed to handle the heavy responsibilities associated with this position. Courses in cost analysis planning, conflict and negotiation, cross-cultural management and management analysis are just some of the courses taken up in MBA classes which will help the CAO fulfill his duties.

A critical part of the work of the CAO is representing the company to the public. To be able to do this job well, the CAO should be adept at underscoring the strengths of the company and explaining what it is doing to improve the areas where they could do better. Confidence, excellent verbal and written communication skills, outstanding organization and problem solving skills are skills that a CAO must possess in order to succeed in this role.

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