THE CLERICAL STAFF
The office staff/clerical officer
An officer staff or a clerical officer is an employee or a worker of an organisation who perform clerical and administrative duties in an office.
A clerk who keeps records concerning the financial transactions of the organisation is called an account clerk.
Clerical Works or duties
Some of the clerical works or duties performed by a clerk in an office are:
- Record keeping
- Filling of letters and other documents
- Book keeping records
- Machine operation
- Duplication or duplicating work
- Photo copying etc.
Duties or function of clerical staff
The duties or functions of clerical staff or a clerk are the kinds of job he or she does. The functions or duties include:
- Collection and keeping records of information
- Opening and keeping of files in the office
- Distribution of letters that are received in the office
- Answering of telephone calls.
- Filing of letters or any other document
- Receiving of visitors
- Stapling of documents together by using a stapler
- Keeping of sales records by the sales clerk
- Keeping of financial records by the accounts clerk
- He may be asked to make tea and get some snacks for his boss or other senior staff.
- Preparation of payment voucher
- Arranging document office and keeping them in the office cabinet.
- Sorting out needed documents and files from the office cabinet and takes them to the office where they are needed.
- He receives and sends electronic mail (e-mail) through the internet.
- He may be sent on errand within and outside the organisation when there is no messenger in the office.
Qualities of a clerical staff or officer or clerk
The qualities of a clerical staff can be divided into two parts, they are:
- Personal qualities
- Job qualities
Personal qualities of clerical staff
- The clerk must have a good secondary education of at least West Africa Senior Secondary School Certificate
- He must have the ability to speak simple and correct English or grammar
- He should be smart and neat in appearance
- He must be polite, cheerful and tolerant
- Must be ready to learn new things
- He must be a good health i.e. physically fit or sound to do the job
- The clerk must be intelligent
- He should be confident of himself.
- He should be reliable, sincere and honest
- He must be willing and have the ability to increase his education by receiving more training on how to perform his duty better.
- He must have initiative, meaning that he must be able to do things without being told or forced.
Jobs qualities of clerical staff
- The clerk must have interest in his job
- He must be hardworking
- He should be punctual to work
- He must have pleasant manner even in an unpleasant situation.
- He should have the right skills for his job and know the job very well.
- He should be able to relate with others freely.
- The clerical staff should be loyal and obedient
- He must be able to keep official secrets top secret (confidential)
- He must ensure that his office is neat and tidy always.
- He must not be absent from work without the permission of his boss or superior
- He must not gossip about other staff in the office
- He must carry out his duties diligently without being told or forced.
- He must do the work his boss asks him to do without delay.
- He must be studious, having reference books, journals, the internet and dictionary or how to perform his duties well and quickly.
- He must not be noisy or distract other staff’s attention while working in the office etc.
Grades of clerk
Some of the grades of clerk are:
- Clerical officer
This is a clerk that passes five or four subjects including English and mathematics in SSCE of WAEC or NECO. In a civil service, such a clerk is placed on grade level 4 at the entry level.
- Clerk Assistant
This is a clerk that has not passed the SSCE at the secondary level but has basic education. In the civil service, such a clerk is places on grade level 3 at the entry level.
- Senior Clerk
This is a clerk that has some working experience on the job in addition to the academic qualification. He surprises the clerical officer and the clerical assistant in the office. In a civil service such clerk is placed on grade level 5 at the entry level.
Confidentiality of office information
This means keeping the office information secret. It means that the office information should not be disclosed to unwanted person either within or outside the organisation.
Reasons for confidentiality
Office information should be kept confidential or secret because of the following reasons:
- To protect the office or the organisation from fraud by staff or outsider.
- To protect the office being robbed or burgled by thieves
- To safeguard the documents from unauthorized or unwanted persons.
- To prevent the competition of the organisation from knowing the secret of the organisation so as not to take its customers.
- To protect the office from misinformation or misrepresentation by staff
- To make the workers work effectively without complaints of low salary due to their knowledge of the income of the organisation.