31 May 2018

EAs and PAs – same difference?

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People often ask what is the difference between a PA and an EA.

If we consider a PA and an EA to have completely different functions, then we can perhaps distinguish them on the basis of the duties they perform – or perhaps, the emphasis of their duties.

The primary job of a Personal assistant is to alleviate the individual or individuals they are supporting of their general organisational admin, so that their time can be dedicated to the more pressing demands of their own role. Mostly, this will include duties taking phone calls, organising and booking any travel, accommodation and venues, as well as being responsible for general diary management and making sure no important deadlines or meetings will be overlooked. A PA is fundamental to the smooth running of the business and will be one step ahead in terms of making arrangements and knowing times, dates, names and places to provide for those they support.

Whereas a PA may work for a private household, media personality or sportsperson for instance, an EA would more generally be associated with a business or company – one distinction between the two.

An EA is also more likely to be heavily involved in the business itself, for instance having specialist knowledge of the business sector. EAs generally report to the CEO or managing director of the company and they may have a high level of responsibility over lots of projects going on within the company as well as just providing a support role.

The mind-set of an EA is very pro-active, involving being one step ahead and having exceptional decision making and problem solving skills. Perhaps, we could distinguish on the basis that the PAs mind set is more reactive – responding to any issues that may arise and always making sure everything is taken care of. An EA may be called upon to take the place of a CEO or Senior Director in a meeting and report back on actions discussed, which is perhaps less common in a PA role.

In any sense, EAs and PAs are a valuable asset to any organisation and are often the unsung heroes of workplace success!

If you’re an EA or PA looking for an opportunity to kickstart your professional development, come and join us in Perth for the 5th Public Sector EA/PA Summit. Stay tuned for information regarding the summit by following us on Facebook @ Akolade Aust 

Written by: Beth Hampton

I came to Australia in late 2016, having spent some time travelling through Southeast Asia and briefly living in Singapore – I was ready to embrace the lifestyle of a working Sydneysider!
I grew up in London, and completed my degree in Psychology at the University of York. I always dreamed of landing a job in the police, but figured it was worth swapping the handcuffs and late shifts for an exciting new city and a job full of fun and opportunity in a fantastic company like Akolade!
Love cooking, playing the piano, terrible British soap operas, an ice-cold G&T and exploring new places.
Follow me on LinkedIn for information regarding future Akolade events as well as future blogs posts @ Beth Hampton


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