Real Difference Between Executive, Admin, Personal & Virtual Assistants
    March 12, 2018

    All businesses need an Assistant. Whether you’re looking for someone to simply answer the phones, follow-up on leads, or even make key decisions that will impact the future of your company -- understanding the difference between Executive, Administrative, Personal, and Virtual Assistants will help small business owners obtain better matched candidates for their needs and improve payroll costs.

    Executive Assistant

    The key distinction of an Executive Assistant is that they are empowered to make decisions on behalf of the executive or owner they represent. They serve as “gatekeeper”, and work involves managing communication between the executive and both internal and external parties of the business. They may also be called upon to stand in for the executive at meetings and industry events. An Executive Assistant should have a superior level of business acumen, plus a minimum of 5 years of experience in an Administrative Assistant role. Top earners in this category make over $75,000 annually.

    Administrative Assistant

    An Administrative Assistant can support one person, but often supports a group of people on various teams within a business. Standard tasks include -- but are not limited to -- managing the inventory of office supplies, handling any incoming or outgoing mail and packages, coordinating meeting logistics and organizing files. In a corporate environment, Administrative Assistants often report to the Executive Assistant. Entry level to 2 years of experience is typically sufficient, with a median salary around $38,000.

    Personal Assistant

    If you’re looking for someone to run your pick up your kids from baseball practice, take your pets to the groomer, deliver your meals, tidy your home or a host of other life management tasks, a Personal Assistant is what you’re looking for. Personal Assistants earn about $15.00 an hour and are an integral part of ensuring your day-to-day personal affairs are completed. Corporate experience is not necessary for this role.

    Virtual Assistant

    A Virtual Assistant (VA) supports business owners and executives from an offsite [“virtual”] location, through the use of the internet, email, web-conferencing (e.g. Skype, Google Hangouts) and online workspaces such as Dropbox and Basecamp. VAs often perform a plethora of tasks ranging from managing your calendar and emails, bookkeeping, designing brand materials, writing for your company blog or even updating your website. Virtual Assistants are typically self-employed and pay for their own hardware, software, and taxes, plus their location independence allows them to work for you from anywhere in the world. Fee schedules for Virtual Assistants differ greatly. Virtual Assistants have varying levels of expertise in their respective backgrounds and should have experience assisting in a non-virtual setting.

    All Assistants -- whether Executive, Administrative, Personal or Virtual -- have an important role when it comes to helping you keep business operations or work-life balance running smoothly. While each type of Assistant mentioned above offers a hybrid of knowledge and skillsets that are beneficial, it is important to take some time to decide which kind of Assistant fits you and your company needs best.

    Do you have any key differences to add to the descriptions above? Comment below!

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