Office Practices

Learn the basics in administration work and how an office works - start your career the right way, or improve the running of your own office. Get to know more about how businesses operate and best practice for business administration.

Course Code: VBS102
Fee Code: S1
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn skills and techniques in Office Practices.

Improve your chances of employment by knowing how a modern office works, or make your office more efficient.
  • Without either experience or a specific course of learning - getting work in an office can be difficult. This course can help you along the way to improving your chances of getting an office job.
  • Do the job you have better by understanding better the processes and operation of a modern office.
  • Improve the efficiency of your office - extend your capacity to communicate, solve problems and be more productive

Skilled office workers are always in demand. Make sure you have the edge! Develop the skills and knowledge necessary for the efficient and productive operation of an office.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. The Modern Office
    • The Scope and Nature of Office Work.
    • Where to Work.
    • Office Equipment.
    • Information Technology.
    • Office Processes.
  2. Communication Systems
    • Common Office Communication Systems.
    • Electronic Communications.
    • Communication Networks.
    • Electronic Mail.
  3. Interpersonal Communications
    • Kinds of Communication.
    • Effective Communication.
    • Becoming an Effective Communicator.
    • The Communication Process.
    • Email and Electronic Communication.
    • Communicating with Clients.
    • Giving and Receiving Instructions.
  4. Phone Skills
    • Telephone Techniques.
    • Telephone Answering When You're Not There.
  5. Writing Letters and Other Documents
    • Office Stationery.
    • Good Business Writing.
    • Memoranda.
    • Business Letters.
    • Business Reports.
    • Editing and Proofreading.
  6. Computer Applications
    • Computer Applications in the Office.
    • Types of Computer.
    • Software.
    • Computer Specifications.
    • Viruses.
    • Optical Drives.
    • Peripherals.
  7. Office Organisation and Procedures
    • Organising Data.
    • Record Keeping.
    • Organising Office Space.
    • Organising Work.
  8. Health and Safety in the Office
    • Power Leads and Outlets.
    • Using VDU Equipment.
    • Lifting and Manual Handling.
    • Fatigue in the Workplace.
    • Stress Management.
    • Office Security and Legal Restraints.
    • Legal Risks.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Determine the price range of different items of equipment and materials.
  • Determine the upper and lower limit of what it might be likely to cost you to set up a new office.
  • Design a memorandum form.
  • Explain postal systems used in a business.
  • Create a MS Access Database.
  • Design a filing system.
  • Design a work schedule suitable for a specific workplace.
  • Design a security system that can be implemented in a work situation.
  • Design a layout for an office situation.

What You Will Do

  • Make a list of essential equipment, stationery and other materials.
  • Visit an office supply company.
  • Collect catalogues or price lists for different products available.
  • Compare the implications of having an office at home with leasing, buying or using a serviced office.
  • Explain applications to use and apply the following office equipment:
    • computers
    • mobile phones
    • printers
    • email
    • fax
    • scanners
  • Report on the range of systems covering:
    • couriers
    • postage
    • scanners
    • electronic banking
    • mobile phones
    • rail services
  • Write a letter applying for this job.
  • Write a letter from an organisation (real or imaginary) to another organisation.
  • Ask your local computer supplier about virus removal software and hardware.
  • Compile a table comparing features of different computer systems.
  • What roles can computers play in business?
  • Contact or visit various stationery supplies to find out about what materials are available.
  • Write a report about how to design a filing system suitable for your area of work.
  • Inspect various offices to see how they are utilising space and storage.
  • Contact various suppliers of office furniture to see what furniture is available.

How Well Do You Handle a Phone Call?

Good office staff will not only know what to do, but handling the phone professionally and efficiently should be intuitive to them.


You need a whole range of skills to handle phones well.

The Office Practices course provides a little bit of everything you need to make yourself attractive and useful to an employer, or to improve the way your own office functions. Here are some tips to handling phone calls -
  • Keep a notepad and pen handy to jot down information.
  • Answer calls promptly, usually, on the third ring. Be sure to have the phone in position before you speak. If you speak too soon, the first part of your greeting can be lost, and the caller hears “…..speaking.”
  • Greet the caller, introduce the business, then yourself, quickly and clearly. For example: “Good morning, ACS. Martin speaking”.
  • Ask for, and use the client’s name, but not so much that you sound like a robot.
  • Actively listen for the person to tell you what they want. Be prepared to ask questions to get to the main point. For example: (listening, then) “Would you like to enrol in the course now, or do you want to know how to enrol in the future?”
  • Try to really understand the caller’s intended meaning. Give them your full attention.
  • Sound alert and interested. The best way to do this is to be alert and interested yourself. Another way is to vary your voice inflection, so that it doesn't sound monotone. You might need to practice.
  • Sound friendly and courteous. Smile – you can hear a smile – and use polite language. A friendly happy voice on the phone is a very great asset in any business.
  • Speak clearly. Talk into the handset, pronounce words correctly, and don’t talk too fast.
  • Be cheerful and patient. Remember that if there is a problem the person is not annoyed at you, but at the problem, as they perceive it.
  • Be willing to help. If you can’t, tell the person that you will refer them to someone who can, and do it.
  • When referring them to another person, get their permission first, and give them the name and title of that person. Check to see that the call has gone through as planned. If there is a long delay, ask if the other person can phone them back.
  • Do not put a person on hold without their permission. The caller might be making a long-distance phone call, or calling from a mobile phone, or might not have time to wait. Ask, “May I put you on hold for a moment?” and wait for the answer.
  • If you can’t help the client right away, take their name and number and promise to phone them back. Give a time, rather than just saying, “I’ll call back later.”
  • Follow up. Do what you have promised, and do it promptly.
  • Repeat the main ideas of messages back to the person to ensure that you both have them correctly
  • At the end of the conversation, thank the customer for calling. If appropriate, end with a friendly close, such as "Hope to hear from you again soon", or “It was a pleasure to talk to you”. However, in more formal situations, a simple thank you is sufficient.
  • Keep the phone in position until you and they have finished speaking. If you try to hang up too soon, they might only get part of your exit, hearing something like, “Thanks f…….". It is good practice to terminate the call after the caller has put down their phone.
  • Immediately make any notes to help you remember what you have agreed to do, or who else must get the message. Do not rely on memory - messages can get confused or incoherent. The person to whom you are relaying a message is much more likely to respond quickly if it is clear why they are to return the call.

Why Study Here?

  • We know office work having run an office since 1979.
  • We nurture our students - while some schools are simply focused on providing you with information, we are more interested in improving your ability to use what you learn.
  • More access to tutors, better qualified tutors.
  • Start at any time.
  • Study where and when you want.
  • We provide options to allow you to continue studying towards a higher qualification once you have completed this course.


ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

You can see the course price at the top of this page. Click 'enrolment options' to see any payment options available.

You can pay by Credit Card, PayPal, Afterpay or bank transfer.

Yes! We have payment plans for most courses. Click 'enrolment options' to see the available payment plans.
We also have Afterpay that will allow you to pay for your course or payment plans in four instalments (if you are in Australia).

What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exam and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Statement of Attainment. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email

Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.

What if I have any more questions or need more information?

We can assist you to find the right course for your needs. Get in touch with us via email ( call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

David Crothers

Extensive international experience in business and finance. Chartered Accountant with 20 years experience in corporate and financial roles. David has a FCA, GAICD, B.Sc.Econ (Hons), Cert IV TAA.

Kate Gibson

Kate has 12 years experience as a marketing advisor and experience as a project manager. Kate has traveled and worked in a variety of locations including London, New Zealand and Australia. Kate has a B.Soc.Sc, Post-Grad. Dip. Org Behaviour (HR).

Sarah Edwards

Over 15 years industry experience covering marketing, PR, administration, event management and training, both in private enterprise and government; in Australia and the UK.


Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Andrew Williams

Andrew Williams BSc (Hons), PgDip Eng, MSc, CEng MIET, CMgr FCMI

Andrew has extensive experience across the engineering and building services industries, with specialisms in refrigeration and energy management, with professional recognition as both a Chartered Engineer and Chartered Manager.

This experience includes working in consulting and leadership roles right through to being hands on to deliver projects and outcomes for large scale organisations and within startup and scale up environments.

He has adapted his experience to integrate with new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) to allow for a data driven perspective to be applied to problem solving and is actively using Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to solve real world problems.

Tracey Jones

Tracey has over 20 years experience within the psychology and social work field, particularly working with people with learning disabilities. She is also qualified as a teacher and now teaches psychology and social work related subjects.

She is a book reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work. Tracey has also written a text book on Psychology and has had several short stories published.

David Crothers

David is a graduate of Queens University Belfast, and a Chartered Accountant with over 20 years working experience in corporate and financial roles, both in Australia and other parts of the world. He is currently working as Chief Financial Officer at a diversified business in Sydney where his responsibilities include fiscal and managerial leadership, internal and external reporting, cash management, budgeting, debt funding and productivity improving. While David has worked at several multinational organisations, his current focus is family business management and he is an active participant in international family business conferences. He is also a passionate advocate of education, and currently tutors in a range of business and accounting subjects.

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