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IAAP Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) Exam 2017 Body of Knowledge


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The IAAP Certified Administrative Professional (CAP®) is a professional certification geared toward office and administrative professionals. It is the only recognized professional certification in the administrative field that encompasses all areas of the profession. The tasks and responsibilities of those working in administrative professions are as varied and vast as the number of firms employing them. Whether a first-level support for the manager of a community non-profit, the project lead for a city in the Midwest, or the executive assistant for the chief executive officer for a Fortune 500, administrative professionals are required to possess many skills and talents.

The CAP® Body of Knowledge is updated periodically to ensure it is consistent with current practices for administrative professionals. The Certified Administrative Professional exam is aligned with the CAP Body of Knowledge, which demonstrates the knowledge needed by today's administrative professional. The CAP Body of Knowledge was developed by subject matter experts and validated by administrative professionals working across multiple industries through a series of extensive research studies. Under each of the seven functional area domains are performance outcomes. Performance Outcomes (POs) are detailed, measureable competencies based on the most significant knowledge and skills the administrative professional should know in order to be successful in their positions, in support of the wellbeing of the organization.

The number of available resources are displayed in parentheses. Click on a competency to search for related learning resources then choose from the results. You may not need to learn every resource associated with a competency to achieve the competency.

Organizational Communication

Describe the concepts and applications of communication, management, and leadership models/theories within organizations.

  • Identify the various types of communication (written, verbal, nonverbal, interpersonal, group, public) and which is the most effective for different business situations. (16)
  • Describe management/leadership theories and how they relate to effective organizational communication. (42)
  • Understand basic communication theories and their usage in the workplace. (13)
  • Describe the process of effective interaction with internal and external stakeholders of an organization.

  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge and proficiency in managing and resolving conflict within an organization. (28)
  • Recognize the importance and utilization of professional networking.

  • Describe how networking (both in-person and virtual) has changed the way people find jobs and companies recruit new employees. (4)
  • Demonstrate an understanding of team dynamics within organizations.

  • Identify and describe different types of teams and their purpose. (14)
  • Describe the specific kinds of dynamics within teams and how they can be managed. (17)
  • Understand and display the ability to identify and evaluate the skills and competencies of team members. (10)
  • Demonstrate knowledge and proficiency in effective decision-making, communication, and team building. (28)
  • Describe the positive and negative types of interpersonal interactions existing within an organization.

  • Explain how human motivation affects organizational dynamics. (11)
  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of the differences between managing and leading. (13)
  • Explain the dynamics of mentorship and coaching, including the effect on performance. (4)
  • Describe power and how it can be used in organizations and interpersonal interactions. (6)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of change management and its role in organizational development. (8)
  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge and proficiency in the techniques of speaking in public.

  • Describe and know how to apply methods of coping with public speaking anxiety. (6)
  • Identify the different types of speeches and appropriate usage of each. (8)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of how to prepare for and deliver a presentation. (46)
  • Demonstrate awareness and understanding of communicating with diverse cultures.

  • Describe international business practices with regard to cultural norms and rituals. (11)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the importance of multi-cultural communication in today's workplace. (17)
  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge in organizational structure, systems, and strategies including their role in effective management and productivity.

  • Describe the parts of a strategic plan and how it affects organization performance. (8)
  • Define various organization management systems that examine productivity (such as Six Sigma and TQM). (4)
  • Describe how confidentiality, legality, and ethics are important for the functioning of an organization.

  • Describe the ways in which confidentiality, legality, and ethics are important for the functioning of an organization. (15)
  • Business Writing and Document Production

    Demonstrate knowledge of terminology associated with business writing and document production.

  • Identify the different functions of correspondence, documents, and reports within an organization. (10)
  • Describe which method is best for creating and distributing reports and documents within an organization. (4)
  • Describe the difference between formal and informal documents and the formats and styles used for each. (6)
  • Exhibit proficiency in proofreading and editing documents.

  • Demonstrate knowledge of document readability for business communication. (20)
  • Identify and describe the most important steps when editing and proofreading. (17)
  • Apply the basics of copy editing for various types of documents. (10)
  • Demonstrate knowledge and proficiency in the use of grammar, spelling, and sentence construction.

  • Demonstrate ability to apply basic rules of English grammar, especially spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and sentence construction. (156)
  • Describe the steps required to create and edit different types of business documents.

  • Demonstrate an ability to determine and develop materials for the appropriate audience for different types of business documents. (13)
  • Identify common file types (.doc, .pdf, .xls) and what kind of information they best communicate. (3)
  • Knowledge of which software applications are appropriate for the production of common business documents (e.g., MS Word, MS Publisher, Adobe Acrobat). (9)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of and proficiency with spreadsheet creation, including simple formulas and data manipulation. (109)
  • Understand the application and usage of presentation software (e.g. MS PowerPoint, Prezi, etc.). (166)
  • Describe the technical aspects of office and web publishing (i.e. typefaces, printing styles, graphics, fonts, etc.).

  • Knowledge of web and office design software including features and functions. (8)
  • Identify important aspects of layout and design. (9)
  • Demonstrate a familiarity with online tools for web publishing. (4)
  • Recognize basic graphic design tools for office and web publishing. (4)
  • Identify the necessary elements needed to create and present effective charts and graphs.

  • Demonstrate knowledge of software applications used to create, format, and insert charts, tables, and graphs into (12)
  • Identify and describe the important elements necessary for finishing a document (e.g. binding, collation, stapling, coloring, graphics, etc.).

  • Describe the key differences and requirements for electronic versus hard copy output of documents. (7)
  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge of and proficiency with the creation of minutes for meetings.

  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge of and proficiency with the creation of minutes for meetings. (6)
  • Technology and Information Distribution

    Describe the process of information distribution within an office environment.

  • Understand and accurately use the basic terminology associated with information distribution. (4)
  • Identify and describe the important differences between traditional and electronic distribution of information.

  • Demonstrate basic knowledge and proficiency in creating appropriate email and traditional letters with regard to communication and etiquette. (24)
  • Demonstrate knowledge and proficiency of different email interface types. (25)
  • Know what software and technology is available for distributing information. (3)
  • Know the traditional forms of information distribution (e.g. postal services, telephone, flyers, etc.). (6)
  • Identify copyright laws, regulations regarding intellectual property, and ways to maintain confidentiality when distributing information.

  • Identify and describe copyright laws, regulations regarding intellectual property, and ways to maintain confidentiality when distributing information. (3)
  • Describe the process and techniques of gathering, compiling, and analyzing data.

  • Identify and describe the appropriate methods of research for gathering and analyzing data. (3)
  • Knowledge of which software applications are appropriate for compiling, storing, and analyzing data. (7)
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of which data is appropriate to collect and why. (3)
  • Demonstrate a proficiency in creating a well-organized report with regard to organization and data visualization. (5)
  • Demonstrate knowledge in the use of the Internet, including social media, as a way of distributing information.

  • Identify and describe the important characteristics of sending email (e.g. etiquette, attachments, formatting, etc.). (27)
  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge and proficiency in social media usage and etiquette. (16)
  • Know which social media applications are appropriate for a specific task and how to use them. (14)
  • Demonstrate basic knowledge in installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting both equipment and software.

  • Identify various computer hardware used in an office. (6)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of basic office software and functions. (6)
  • Identify and describe available online resources for equipment training and usage. (1)
  • Demonstrate basic knowledge in the use of different types of computer operating systems.

  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge and proficiency in the use of different types of computer operating systems. (14)
  • Describe common ways of storing and transferring data and the types of media appropriate for each.

  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge and proficiency in identifying file types and the appropriate ways of converting documents. (3)
  • Know types of software programs used for document conversion. (2)
  • Identify and describe common procedures of backing up electronic information and databases. (4)
  • Explain appropriate security procedures for maintaining, backing up, and storing information.

  • Demonstrate knowledge of legal issues regarding the storing of electronic information. (1)
  • Office and Records Management

    Demonstrate knowledge of basic terminology associated with records management.

  • Understand and accurately use the basic terminology associated with records management. (6)
  • Identify and describe the key advantages and disadvantages of electronic and manual (paper) file management.

  • Identify and describe the key advantages and disadvantages of electronic and manual (paper) file management. (7)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of both electronic and manual (paper) filing rules and standards.

  • Describe types of electronic files, naming conventions, options for accessing, and methods of altering information. (6)
  • Knowledge of available software, systems, and services for electronic filing (7)
  • Describe the different methods for creating, storing, and retaining files. (15)
  • Identify the appropriate security for both electronic and manual files.

  • Identify the key laws regarding record storage and confidentiality. (2)
  • Identify both the strengths and weaknesses of types of record and file security. (3)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of file retrieval, maintenance, and retention.

  • Demonstrate a knowledge and proficiency of file retrieval, maintenance, and retention. (14)
  • Define the basics of creating functioning and productive workspaces.

  • Describe the significant elements of office layout and why they are important to efficient and effective working conditions. (5)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of resources necessary to efficiently manage an office.

  • Describe the steps in placing and receiving supply orders. (3)
  • Know the policies and practices regarding purchasing options and procurement. (2)
  • Describe the process of creating and distributing a Request for Proposal (RFP). (3)
  • Identify and describe the important methods of checking and maintaining inventory.

  • Identify the steps involved in creating inventory lists. (3)
  • Recognize types of software appropriate for maintaining inventory. (3)
  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge and proficiency in setting up a virtual office.

  • Identify both the advantages and disadvantages of virtual offices versus traditional offices. (3)
  • Event and Project Management

    Demonstrate knowledge of basic terminology associated with event management.

  • Understand and accurately use the basic terminology associated with event and time management. (4)
  • Demonstrate proficiency in travel preparation.

  • Describe the necessary elements for planning and organizing travel, both domestically and abroad. (6)
  • Describe the key requirements for meetings both in person and virtual.

  • Describe the steps required for the organization and planning of professional meetings. (7)
  • Knowledge of which software applications are appropriate for online meetings. (8)
  • Demonstrate knowledge in prioritizing and delegating elements of a project from planning to implementation.

  • Identify and describe the important techniques of time management from the planning stage to the implementation of a project. (4)
  • Demonstrate the ability to identify and evaluate the skills and competencies of others for project delegation. (3)
  • Describe the steps required in organizing, planning, and managing a project.

  • Identify which software and technology tools are appropriate for managing a project. (4)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of negotiating, budget review, and bill explanation when organizing a project. (3)
  • Demonstrate proficiency in prioritizing and organizing work tasks. (6)
  • Human Resources

    Identify the basic terminology associated with human resources.

  • Understand and accurately use the basic terminology associated with human resources. (8)
  • Demonstrate knowledge in the duties and processes of human resources.

  • Describe the ways to address employee situations professionally and legally. (5)
  • Describe different forms of harassment in the workplace. (7)
  • Identify ways to follow organizational policies and procedures. (3)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of and purpose for performance evaluations. (20)
  • Identify the necessary policies and procedures of maintaining employee files/records.

  • Identify what types of employee records are maintained within an organization. (3)
  • Describe the procedures of confidentially maintaining employee records. (4)
  • Identify the rights and responsibilities of both the organization and the employee. (6)
  • Explain why training and procedure manuals are important for an organization.

  • Identify important aspects of effective training programs. (4)
  • Describe what elements of organizational procedure should be included in training and procedure manuals. (2)
  • Describe the recruitment process, staffing, and hiring practices.

  • Define and describe different interview types and the interview process of each. (10)
  • Demonstrate the ability to determine staffing requirements of an organization. (5)
  • Recognize why cultural and generational diversity is important for organizations.

  • Identify what should be included in diversity training within an organization. (3)
  • Describe how differing cultural and generational perspectives can benefit an organization. (10)
  • Identify ways in which cultural diversity can generate conflict and describe how it can be reduced. (9)
  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge and proficiency in the procedures of onboarding and offboarding employees within organizations.

  • Describe the difference between staff onboarding and offboarding and their impact on the organization. (3)
  • Identify key elements of human resource law and the organizational impact.

  • Explain why it is necessary to know the basics of HR law within an organization. (7)
  • Financial Functions

    Identify basic terminology associated with the financial functions of the organization.

  • Understand and accurately use the basic terminology associated with the financial functions of the organization. (13)
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of budgets and financial statements.

  • Describe the process of creating, tracking, and balancing a budget. (8)
  • Identify the different elements of a budget. (7)
  • Demonstrate a proficiency in how to read a financial statement. (14)
  • Describe the key differences between a financial statement, a profit and loss statement, and a statement of cash flows. (13)
  • Identify and describe the procedures and management of petty cash. (7)
  • Identify important elements of the banking process and transactions.

  • Identify the appropriate forms for depositing, withdrawing, and transferring cash. (5)
  • Know and describe how to record, report, and document cash and checks. (5)
  • Describe safe and secure money-handling procedures. (4)
  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge and ability to make journal entries for financial transactions.

  • Describe the key difference between the debit and credit columns of a financial journal. (9)
  • Identify the main types of financial accounts (e.g. chart of accounts, accounts receivable, and accounts payable). (7)
  • Describe the difference between a general journal and a combined journal. (5)
  • Identify software options for creating financial journals. (3)
  • Describe the reconciliation process of both electronic transfers and bank statements.

  • Know what supporting documents are necessary to perform reconciliation. (6)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of simple statistical analysis.

  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge and proficiency in performing a statistical analysis and reporting the outcomes. (2)
  • Identify the appropriate software for performing and presenting a statistical analysis. (2)
  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge in organizing, budgeting, and communicating with regard to charitable contributions.

  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the state and federal laws and regulations regarding charitable fundraising. (3)