Insights & Trends
Navan Powers Executive Assistants

How Navan Empowers Executive Personal Assistants

Samantha Shankman

8 Feb 2024
6 minute read

In the world of business administration, the role of an executive assistant can be misunderstood and undervalued. Far beyond scheduling meetings and answering phone calls, the responsibilities of an executive assistant encompass a broad spectrum of strategic and administrative duties crucial to the success of senior management and the executive team.

Now, technology solutions can enable executive assistants to reach new heights, revolutionize how they contribute to organizational efficiency, and emphasize their role as strategic business partners rather than just administrative support.

What Does an Executive Assistant Do

An executive assistant job description goes well beyond the traditional tasks of the organizational skills needed to manage spreadsheets, memos, and Microsoft Office. Executive assistants are asked to possess a unique skill set that includes exceptional communication skills, time management skills, and the ability to manage sensitive information discreetly.

These professionals are the right hands of senior executives. They provide daily support, such as handling expense reports, making travel arrangements, scheduling appointments, and maintaining filing systems. An executive administrative assistant must have excellent verbal communication skills and experience multitasking, problem-solving, and delegating on behalf of senior leaders.

According to a study by the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), executive assistants can save executives up to 8 hours of work time per week. This statistic underscores the executive assistant's role in enhancing productivity and efficiency.

They are pivotal in managing projects, prioritizing initiatives, and ensuring everything runs smoothly within the work environment. Their job titles may vary, but whether they’re called executive secretaries, executive personal assistants, or office managers, their core duties remain centered around providing comprehensive administrative support to ensure the seamless operation of the business.

The Strategic Partnership: A Testimony to the Value of Executive Assistants

The true value of an executive assistant shines through in their ability to act as a strategic partner to the C-suite and upper management.

A recent LinkedIn post by startup CEO Paige McPheely highlights the effect of losing an executive assistant’s support. McPheely’s experience of her “usually empty inbox overflowing” and her struggle with “booking flights at the last minute” underscores not just the time executive assistants save, but also that the strategic partnership they offer is crucial for seeing “the trees through the forest.”

This sentiment is echoed by professionals across various industries who recognize that high-level executive assistants provide much more than basic-level support. An executive assistant is considered the “quarterback of any executive team” — someone who possesses a profound understanding of business operations and the strategic foresight to see things the executive team might miss.

Leaders across the board chimed in to express gratitude toward their executive assistants, not just for the day-to-day support but for the deep strategic partnership that significantly contributes to their success.

“High-level EAs do so much more than the inbox, calendar, travel, and expense management. Finding an EA who is a business partner is very important!” — Laura Scott, Executive Business Partner

“Calendar/travel/expenses are just basic level support — a strong EA can provide much more impact for a founder!” — Courtney Sallis, Executive Assistant 

“We are the quarterback of any executive team. We see things the executive team doesn’t.” — Seth Andrea McCoy, Executive Assistant 

“Having the right support is not just meaningful in the day-to-day but can be life-altering — from career to health and wellness, to personal relationships and beyond.” — Julia Hudson, Pennyworth CEO

“EAs, secretaries, personal assistants are the backbone and people who know how and who to get things done in organizations.” — Andrew Corston, Group Head of Data and Analytics Practice

Recognizing the evolving role of executive assistants, Navan further empowers these pivotal figures within organizations by streamlining expense and travel management.

By eliminating the burden of traditional expense reports, Navan enables executive assistants to focus more on areas where they can add the most value — and do so as strategic business partners. This shift not only enhances the productivity of executive assistants but also aligns with the broader organizational goals of efficiency and strategic growth.

How Navan Eliminates Expense Reports for Executive Assistants

In an era where efficiency and strategic oversight are paramount, Navan has emerged as a pivotal ally for assistants tasked with managing executive expenses. By reimagining expense management, Navan offers a comprehensive solution that streamlines the process and elevates the strategic element of executive assistant responsibilities.

Navan’s revolutionary platform automates the expense management process so it seamlessly transitions from transaction to reconciliation. This automation represents a significant shift away from traditional, manual expense reports and frees executive assistants from the time-consuming tasks associated with expense management. 

By providing total control over employee spending and automating policy enforcement at the point of transaction, Navan ensures that executive assistants can focus on more strategic tasks, enhancing their value and impact within the executive team.

Navan helps businesses achieve this goal through:

  • Total control over employee spend: Set spend rules and automatically enforce company policy when employees pay for company expenses.
  • Automated expense management: With the swipe of a corporate card, transaction details are categorized and reconciled, eliminating the need for expense reports.
  • Real-time visibility: Track every dollar spent in real time and get a consolidated view of all global spend across cards and reimbursements.
  • Data-driven decisions: Reduce spend leakage, improve forecasting, and optimize expense policies with real-time contextual insights of spend data.
  • VAT-compliant invoices: Navan enables businesses to capture, track, and report on VAT transactions to reclaim up to 25% of their expenses.

Navan’s innovative expense management approach fundamentally transforms executive assistants' roles. Navan enables executive assistants to transcend traditional administrative tasks and assume a more strategic role within their organizations by automating and optimizing expense reporting. 

This shift enhances a company’s operational efficiency and underscores executive assistants’ invaluable contribution as strategic partners to senior executives. With Navan, executive assistants can focus on what they do best: driving strategic initiatives and supporting the executive team in achieving organizational success.

The Unsung Heroes of the Corporate World

Executive assistants, the backbone of any organization, seamlessly integrate administrative tasks with strategic initiatives. Their role — managing executives’ calendars, handling correspondence, and executing administrative tasks — is integral to a company’s operational and strategic success. In today’s fast-paced business environment, the ability of an executive assistant to multitask, solve problems, and communicate effectively is more valuable than ever.

As businesses continue to evolve, the executive assistant role will only grow in importance, and companies should invest in tools and technologies that support these unsung heroes.

Navan stands at the forefront of this movement by offering solutions that recognize and enhance the strategic role of executive assistants in driving business success.

The next time you consider the duties of an executive assistant, remember that their impact extends far beyond the mundane tasks of maintaining filing systems and scheduling meetings. executive assistants are strategic partners who play a critical role in the success of their executives and, by extension, the overall organization.

With physical and virtual cards, smart policy management, and automated expense reports, Navan Expense streamlines the entire business spending process. Schedule a demo or get up and running with Navan in just 5 minutes.

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