Executive Assistant / Personal Assistant at computer. What's the difference between an EA and and PA?

Executive Assistant vs Personal Assistant: What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between Executive Assistants (EAs) and Personal Assistants (PAs)? The two positions require similar skill sets, including superior organising ability, complex people skills, and knowledge of commonly used office and scheduling software. Both types of assistants save time for the person they work for by taking on delegated tasks. The key difference lies in what is delegated. A Personal Assistant mainly performs delegated tasks. According to Myriam Robin of Smart Company, assistants help business leaders do more of what they want to do and less of what they don’t. An Executive Assistant does also but has additional responsibility for making delegated decisions.

The Personal Assistant

Typically, a Personal Assistant may work for an individual such as an actor, athlete or designer who has high-level skills in a specific area. This allows the employer to devote maximum time to a core area of expertise by taking care of a broad range of tasks, including keeping the appointment calendar, making travel arrangements and running day-to-day errands. A PA must strike a balance between anticipating the employer’s needs and being ready to deal with any unexpected situations that arise.

The Executive Assistant

An Executive Assistant usually works for a business or corporation, supporting a member of top management, such as the CEO. The job requires a solid understanding of the executive’s job, as well as a clear view of the company’s core goals. An EA not only keeps the appointment calendar, but also plays a role in any scheduled meetings. They may gather and analyse data, prepare presentations, take notes and provide follow-up on action items or deadlines that are discussed in a meeting. They may also manage projects and supervise clerical personnel.

To summarise, typically a PA is embedded in the employer’s life, while an EA is embedded in the executive’s job. Regardless of their exact role, the best assistants stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the business world. An excellent way to do this is by maintaining a solid professional network. ThinkTank Media’s Corporate PA Summit is a solid opportunity to meet with and learn from other personal, virtual and executive assistants, including leaders in the field. Contact us to learn more about this professional development event.

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