Job Descriptions, Definitions Roles, Responsibility: Office Clerks, General

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Rather than performing a single specialized task, general office clerks have responsibilities that often change daily with the needs of the specific job and the employer. Whereas some clerks spend their days filing or keyboarding, others enter data at a computer terminal. They also can be called on to operate photocopiers, fax machines, and other office equipment; prepare mailings; proofread documents; and answer telephones and deliver messages.

The specific duties assigned to a clerk vary significantly, depending on the type of office in which he or she works. An office clerk in a doctor’s office, for example, would not perform the same tasks that a clerk in a large financial institution or in the office of an auto parts wholesaler would perform. Although both may sort checks, keep payroll records, take inventory, and access information, clerks also perform duties unique to their employer, such as organizing medications, making transparencies for a presentation, or filling orders received by fax machine.

Clerks’ duties also vary by level of experience. Whereas inexperienced employees make photocopies, stuff envelopes, or record inquiries, experienced clerks usually are given additional responsibilities. For example, they may maintain financial or other records, set up spreadsheets, verify statistical reports for accuracy and completeness, handle and adjust customer complaints, work with vendors, make travel arrangements, take inventory of equipment and supplies, answer questions on departmental services and functions, or help prepare invoices or budgetary requests. Senior office clerks may be expected to monitor and direct the work of lower level clerks.

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