The “Assistant” Conundrum: Virtual Assistant Vs. Executive Assistant

While a virtual assistant has flexibility, an executive assistant is the ultimate team coordinator. Virtual assistant vs executive assistant; which one weighs more?

Virtual assistant vs executive assistant; is there really a difference? Aren’t they one and the same?

YES, there is, and NO, they’re not.

Many entrepreneurs and business executives find it rather difficult to separate a virtual assistant from an executive assistant, seeing them typically as the same person or mostly interchangeable.

Understandably so, since the word “assistant’ somehow invokes supporting someone, and isn’t that what a virtual assistant and an executive assistant do for an organization, provide assistance?

Yes, in every sense of the word.

However, in practice, the distinction between the two is pretty obvious. It all boils down to the tasks they can handle, what you can entrust them and the cost leading up to it.

For this article, we’ll talk about the main differences between a VA and an EA and accordingly weigh in, on the virtual assistant vs executive assistant discourse.

By Definition; Virtual Assistant Vs. Executive Assistant

A virtual assistant is an independent contractor who offers low-cost business-related services to a company from outside the office.

There’s not much fuss working with a VA. They’re very flexible, foraying into your workflow in all shapes and forms; working part-time, full-time, one-time projects and freelance, on an “as needed” job basis.

The general virtual assistant job description is typically viewed as a support system for entrepreneurs who want to make time for core activities, all while saving money.

On the other hand, an executive virtual assistant job description is providing assistance to top executives within the company, performing administrative tasks and project management for them.

EAs are often regarded as the “right-hand person” or the “second brain” of the boss, trusted with complex responsibilities and sensitive information. They’re most experienced with greater tactical skills, proactively seeking solutions to difficult situations.

Besides the virtual assistant vs executive assistant match-up, there are other sorts of “assistant” tallying such as virtual assistant vs personal assistant, virtual assistant vs administrative assistant and vice versa that you might also want to consider when looking for the most suitable hire.

What Can a Virtual Assistant Do for You

Hiring a virtual assistant has many perks.

With their help, you can finally create time, opportunities and freedom at a price that works for you.

Here’s a breakdown of the time-consuming tasks, you can delegate to your VA.

  • Calendar Management

    Did you know that by neglecting your schedule you’re more prone to miss events and cancel appointments? Organizational mistakes you can’t afford when you’re running a business.

    To clear your calendar clutter, a virtual assistant could be a great support.

    They understand and know how to best maximize your time. They can set up a to-do list, and even use management tools to make sure you don’t ever miss important meetings or deadlines.

  • Inbox Management

    In an 8-hour workday, around 30 percent of your time is actually spent reading and answering emails.

    Inbox management is part of the job to keep things organized and updated. However, not everything in your inbox is worth your minutes. In fact, only about 38 percent of these emails are relevant.

    So, to carry out this task with the right guidance and effectiveness, you can hire an email management virtual assistant to manage and tidy your inbox.

  • Data Entry

    Is data entry difficult? Not really, but it sure does take a large piece of your time.

    On average, a worker spends around 1 to 3 hours moving data and another 1 to 3 hours finding data on documents. It’s quite obvious, data entry is a struggle to deal with.

    That is why, you should let a virtual assistant take over, and save yourself time and a load of bitterness.

  • Bookkeeping

    Let’s set the record straight, bookkeeping is not for everybody.

    It’s more than just putting numbers, you know, it takes a good eye for detail, some commitment, and know-how in the statutory requirements to power through this task.

    So, for your financial health check, you can hire a virtual assistant to prepare and manage your company’s daily financial transactions.

  • Research

    Regardless of the industry you’re in, there are important tasks that need thorough research such as market trends, product proposals and competition analysis.

    It’s a necessary burden, but it doesn’t need to be your burden.

    Delegate the load to a virtual assistant, set criteria and some guidelines and let them work their magic.

  • Content Creation

    Why does content creation matter?

    Because it helps convey information and define your brand.

    Whether it’s for a website, marketing materials or blog post, content is king! It is nonetheless the quintessential aspect of expanding your audience reach and scaling the business.

    In all your content hustles, you can easily work with the general virtual assistant and start creating compelling content.

  • Customer Service

    Nowadays, with extreme competition, the contest has finally come to how great the customer experience is.

    But as a busy business owner, you won’t always have the time to answer questions or address customer issues. You need someone else to do it for you.

    And what better way to make your customer base feel happy and satisfied than hiring a virtual assistant; all too cordial and energetic, providing great support at any time to your clientele.

What Can an Executive Assistant Do for You

In the following items, you may find executive assistant job roles quite a reflection of that of a virtual assistant. Anyhow, they don’t go about the tasks the same way.

  • Managing Calendar

    Executive assistants act as the gatekeeper of your schedule. They manage every aspect of your timetable, prioritizing the best use of your time.

    Additionally, they proactively schedule meetings and take the minutes, effectively making the most of your valuable resource.

  • Managing Projects

    Speaking of complex tasks, an executive assistant is very much capable of creating a workable timetable for the team; a well-structured workflow that ensures seamless communication and update on the project’s progress.

  • Preparing Documents

    No matter how menial it seems to collect, transcribe and edit information, they’re nonetheless valuable in the overall business scheme.

    An executive assistant can take charge of everything involving creating documents and presentations, so that you, as a business owner can go about planning strategies and building networks.

Virtual Assistant Vs. Executive Assistant; The Main Differences

Considering how much likeness virtual assistant support is to that of an executive assistant, weighing which one is right for you is rather confusing.

Alas, the best way to go about this ordeal is to compare their differences.

Here are the 3 important categories for you to consider before finally committing.

  • Flexibility

    The great thing about working with a virtual assistant is that they come in with many packages, depending on the sort of help you need.

    For example, you can hire them when you need someone to cover for peak times or when someone is on leave, with no stiff contract or long-term commitment whatsoever.

    You can’t say the same thing with a full-time employee or an EA, with a more binding contract and a little less responsive to changing circumstances.

  • Location

    As the name suggests, virtual assistants do work remotely.

    In other words, it’s less likely you’ll ever meet them in the flesh.

    Conversely, executive assistants work typically in proximity to their employers. Yes, you can outsource your virtual executive assistant but that somehow defeats the nature of an EA.

    Nonetheless, there’s a pool of talented VAs scattered across the globe, accessible without hassle.

    Compared to an executive assistant, sourced near your local area, reducing significantly your access to top-notch professionals.

  • Cost

    As expected, hiring comes down to prices.

    How much does it really cost to hire an assistant?

    According to Payscale, the average annual salary of a virtual assistant and an executive assistant are as follows.

Assistant typeAverage Per Year Salary
Virtual AssistantAround $75,000
Executive AssistantAround $66,000

Looking at their pay, it may seem like an executive assistant is a much cheaper hire.

However, matters of the cost don’t only extend to salary, there’s the annual cost of working with them namely the overhead cost. In this area, you’d pay at most 90 percent less with a virtual assistant than an executive assistant.

How is this possible?

Working with a virtual assistant eliminates additional costs such as health insurance, rent space and equipment.

Furthermore, you only need to pay VAs for their productive time.

Deciding on the Right Assistant

Virtual assistant and executive assistant both play a pivotal part in your business.

Deciding which one is the better-fit ties up with what growth factors matter to you most.

Is it flexibility, loyalty or cost?

Needless to say, the importance of remote workers is insurmountable in today’s digital age.

Virtual assistant vs executive assistant? Take charge of the opportunities and choose wisely.