Business Administration: Definition, Duties and FAQs

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 3 November 2022 | Published 27 September 2021

Updated 3 November 2022

Published 27 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Working as an administrator of business operations can be a rewarding career to pursue. There are many occupations and employment opportunities to consider within this field, each providing a specialised skill set while integrating the core fundamentals of commercial administrative methods. Learning about this field can prepare you with the knowledge to pursue a job that aligns with your career goals. In this article, we discuss what business administration is, describe the core duties in this field, list a few jobs to consider and answer some frequently asked questions about this career path.

What is business administration?

Business administration is the process of administering tasks related to the functionalities and operations of a company. It may include managing employees, making decisions to improve company growth, overseeing the day-to-day affairs, encouraging staff to work towards common goals and efficiently organising all aspects of the company for effective operation. It's a diverse field that includes a wide variety of distinctive occupations. Nearly every type of business, from small startups to major corporations, rely on administrative professionals to ensure business and financial success.

The commercial administration field includes many areas of business, including human resources, marketing, finance, accounting, project management, ethics and global business. Individuals with strong leadership skills, a willingness to adapt and solve problems and excellent motivational skills often succeed in this field. A business administrator can work in hospitality, healthcare, technology, retail management, sales and other relevant industries.

What does a business administrator do?

A business administrator is responsible for the overall administration of an organisation. This often involves several tasks and responsibilities relating to operational productivity, but these duties can vary significantly depending on the industry and needs of the employer. For example, a business administrator working for a hospitality agency may have different responsibilities than an administrator who works in a corporate office setting.

Some of the most common tasks related to administering the daily operations of a business include:

  • managing staff, including hiring managers and department heads

  • organising and overseeing departments and divisions

  • establishing goals, procedures and policies for individual departments and the business

  • motivating and training employees

  • overseeing and directing budgetary and financial activities

  • managing activities related to the products or services offered by the business

  • consulting with other executives, board members and staff

  • analysing sales reports, financial statements and other key performance indicators

  • identifying areas of improvement in policies, programmes and performance

  • applying new workplace technologies

  • studying the market and economic trends

  • implementing business ethics principles and ensuring all personnel follow them

  • developing strategies to improve processes

Careers in administration

There are a variety of jobs you can pursue in commercial administration, such as:

1. Hotel manager

National average salary: $5,067 per month

Primary duties: A hotel general manager is responsible for managing all daily operations at a hotel. Some of the most common responsibilities include strategic planning, leading and training team members, handling complaints and ensuring guest satisfaction, and supporting the culture of the hotel. They also typically lead meetings with department heads, produce and manage budgets, develop improvement plans and ensure all financial goals are accurate and on target.

2. Sales manager

National average salary: $5,073 per month

Primary duties: Sales managers oversee the sales team at an organisation and are responsible for revenue production and achievement of sales goals. Some of their main duties include setting goals, creating sales training programmes for representatives, projecting sales for a set period and analysing sales data.

3. Human resources manager

National average salary: $5,243 per month

Primary duties: A human resources manager oversees the staff needs for an organisation, including recruitment, employee relations, benefits, compensation, training and ensuring that all functions comply with laws and regulations. HR managers may also oversee other HR staff members, manage company-wide initiatives and goals, analyse salary and wage reports to determine competitive compensation, maintain employee records and prepare departmental budgets.

4. Business developer

National average salary: $5,749 per month

Primary duties: A business developer, who might also function as a consultant, is a professional who helps a business expand its operations and obtain financial growth. To do this, they develop and utilise strategies that elevate a company's brand and commercial footprint. These individuals are highly innovative and may new product or service ideas, forge lucrative partnerships with other organisations and take the company into new business territory. When necessary, they facilitate structural change by implementing new systems and other organisational transformations that serve to make the company more profitable and productive.

Related: A Complete Guide To Business Partnerships (With Definition)

5. Procurement manager

National average salary: $6,000 per month

Primary duties: A procurement manager is a specialist that manages and facilitates the acquisition of products, materials and essential resources so a company can perform its required business operations. Organisational, analytical and negotiation skills are crucial for this occupation because they handle the company's supply chain. It's important for them to set time requirements and standards for goods and they may search for different suppliers, making comparisons to find the highest quality goods at a price that allows them to stay within their budget. This means finding a supplier with a positive business reputation is critical.

Related: What Is Procurement Management? (Definition and FAQs)

6. Chief executive officer

National average salary: $8,219 per month

Primary duties: A chief executive officer is the company's highest-ranking executive. This individual is responsible for managing the overall business operations, serving as the main point of contact between the board of directors and the organisation, making major decisions and ensuring that all divisions and departments are in alignment with corporate goals and initiatives. Some CEOs are more hands-on and involved in the daily functions of a business, while others handle only high-level strategic decisions that relate to the overall growth of the company.

Related: COO vs. CEO: What Are the Differences and Similarities?

7. Chief marketing officer

National average salary: $10,602 per month

Primary duties: A chief marketing officer oversees the development, planning and execution of the advertising and marketing initiatives for a business. In this role, an executive may also manage the sales department, business channels, business development and customer service. They ensure that the organisation's message properly reaches across all channels, provided to members of the target audience while also maintaining the brand voice.

FAQs about the administration field

Here are some frequently asked questions about business administration:

What skills are necessary to work in the field of administration?

Here are some important skills to work in organisation administration successfully:

  • Organisation: Professionals may use organisational skills to manage all their duties and the structural changes going on with the business.

  • Leadership: Leadership skills are essential for commercial administration professionals so they can better lead their colleagues and manage the progress of important business initiatives.

  • Communication: Someone working in this field can benefit from communication skills because it helps them to communicate with colleagues and across different departments.

  • Problem-solving: When there are administrative issues and problems with a business operation, an administrative professional can assess the cause of the problem and implement strategies to fix it.

  • Time management: This skill allows administrative professionals to meet their benchmarks and have their work done by the designated deadlines.

Related: Hard Skills Vs. Soft Skills: Definitions and Examples

What are the qualifications to get a job in administration?

Working in commercial administration provides diverse opportunities and the qualifications to obtain a job may differ depending on the responsibilities of the role and the employer's requirements. Achieving a bachelor's or undergraduate degree in administration, management or another business-related major is ideal for many positions. For higher ranking or senior positions, a graduate or advanced degree is usually the base requirement to qualify. Depending on the job, sometimes many years of experience can offset this academic necessity. You might also consider earning an administration certification to help differentiate yourself from other candidates who lack the same credentials.

Related: What Can You Do With a Business Degree? 10 Jobs

What is the salary of a business administrator?

The average salary for a business administrator is $3,036 per month. This estimate is likely to vary for several reasons, such as the individual's working experience, location, certifications, academic achievements and employer. As you gain more experience, you may be able to leverage your expertise to negotiate for a higher salary.

Related: How To Negotiate a Salary (With Examples)

Is becoming an administrative professional a good career?

Whether commercial administration is a good career ultimately depends on your goals and interests. This is a field that requires critical thinking and planning skills, as you're likely to be the person who oversees initiatives to optimise the performance of the company. You can also expect to communicate across various departments to identify their needs and integrate changes in the company that benefit everyone. If these are aspects that appeal to you, then this may be a good career path to consider. Research various administration jobs to get an idea of what employers might expect from you.

What is the difference between administration and management in business?

The primary difference is the focus of the work. Business management places more emphasis on supervising and managing other people, ensuring they can meet their deadlines and tasks. Business administration is more about the overall business operations and how they're functioning.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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