I often get asked at Network meetings ‘Are you a VA?’
What I have gleaned from this is that many people in the business world have heard about them and interpret that as completing the old-style administration tasks. This then goes on to the same level of understanding behind what a PA and EA actually is.
This blog posts explains their meanings, core purposes, the differences between them and the types of work each performs. Just like personality, skill sets amongst VA’s, PA’s and EA’s differ along with some of the roles overlapping too! Strengths and niche expertise can vary considerably. Mine is definitely organisation and systems,
In all respects though, we can vastly benefit businesses through outsourcing. It doesn’t have to be full time but as and when needed. The results of this enable owners and leaders to be able to concentrate more on their core and strategic purpose to be highly successful.
So what are these abbreviations?
- VA – Virtual Assistant. (or sometimes referred to as a virtual office assistant.) Generally, are freelance and self-employed. Work remotely from their own office. Work for small to large businesses.
- PA – Personal Assistant. Tend to be permanently employed but can also work in a self-employed or freelance capacity. Personal Assistants tend to work at the business premises but can work remotely on activities. A Personal Assistant works exclusively for one particular person.
- EA -Executive Assistant. Tend to be permanently employed but can also work in a self-employed or freelance capacity. Again, like the PA, tend to work at the business premises but can work remotely on activities and projects. Executive Assistants help high level professionals such as Executives, CEOs and Managing Directors.
How do their jobs and roles differ?
VA – Virtual Assistant
- Book appointments with clients
- Call answering reception service
- Data presentations
- Database entry and input
- Diary scheduling, email & contacts management
- Effective use of Microsoft Office W. Exc. PP.
- Industry knowledge preparation
- Issuing and managing business invoices and expenditure
- Online research
- Prioritising workload & meeting deadlines
- Problem solving
- Professional administrative, technical, social or creative assistance
- Social media background or publishing
- Sourcing graphics for social media
- Travel research
- Workload support
PA – Personal Assistant
- Ability to sort out problems
- Collation of paperwork prior to meetings
- Comprehensive travel arrangements
- Creation of reports
- Database building
- Data management & filing
- Dealing with & following through with correspondence
- Devise & maintains office & electronic systems
- Discretion & understanding with confidentiality
- Ensuring the person working for is prepared for all meetings
- Meeting & greeting visitors at all levels
- Minute taking or dictation
- Production of documents, briefing papers, reports & presentations
- Screening phone calls, inquiries & requests
- Daily business or personal tasks delegated
EA -Executive Assistant
- Attend or stand in for meetings or conferences in place of the executive.
- Attention to detail
- Being involved in problem solving, ideas & decision-making processes
- Carry out specific research & projects
- Data analysis & recommendations as a result
- Data management systems
- Delegated tasks and assignments
- Exceptional decision making & problem solving
- Handle business operations
- High level responsibility over ongoing projects
- Keeping projects on track
- Liaise with clients, staff & suppliers
- Pro-actively be one step ahead, forward thinking
- Provide professional advice and collaboration
- Recruitment & retention of staff
- Staff appraisal implementation & follow through, against business vision & job descriptions
- Trusted to handle confidential & sensitive issues across the business & beyond.
(Bullets in green are my strengths / what I have typically worked upon for clients)