What Is A Virtual Executive Assistant?

Zirtual provides US-Based, college educated virtual assistants to busy people everywhere, but just what is a virtual assistant, and how does the role compare to traditional “in office” titles?

There are many titles that provide the same functions, and there are some titles that focus on more specialized or specific needs. When you see titles such as Admin Assistant, Professional Assistant, Virtual Administrative Assistant, Online Administrative Assistant, Virtual Office Assistant and Remote Assistant, they are all just different names for the same role.

However, titles such as Remote Office Manager, Virtual Secretary, Virtual Paralegal, Virtual Receptionist, and Online Project Manager, usually indicate much more specific and specialized areas of expertise and service.

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Defining The Role

It depends on the service you use, or the assistant you hire, but typically a Virtual Assistant (or VA) will be someone that is able to support you with basic administrative tasks while working remotely from a home or office.

At Zirtual, we have a defined scope of service that covers a broad spectrum of needs such as inbox management, scheduling, research, social media management, purchasing, data entry, travel booking, expense reporting, proofing and editing, and personal tasks.

Things to consider when looking for a virtual assistant are:

a. Education

For basic administrative assistant needs, an Associates degree is usually sufficient to ensure high quality service, but specific business needs may indicate a Bachelor’s Degree or a degree of specific focus is more appropriate. Zirtual Assistants have degrees ranging from Associate to Master’s in a variety of areas.

b. Years of Experience

It is often assumed that the more years of experience a virtual assistant has the more proficient they will be. However, in the case of a virtual assistant many younger VA’s with less experience have better online skills, and are more familiar with a variety of programs and platforms. Zirtual Assistants have anywhere from 2 to 20 years of experience in administrative support.

c. Level of Experience

It is important to consider the level of experience needed in finding a good fit for your business. For example, if the virtual assistant will be supporting C- suite executives or upper management, it is wise to look for someone with prior experience in that area. Zirtual VA’s have a wide variety of experience level.

Areas of Specialization

Now that we’ve defined the basic functions of a Virtual Assistant, here are some examples of similar roles and the differences in scope of service.

a. Remote Office Manager

Beyond the basic administrative responsibilities an Office Manager will usually handle Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, and Payroll. Those tasks are not in scope for a Zirtual Assistant.

b. Virtual Paralegal

A Paralegal must have specialized education and certification, and typical responsibilities of a Paralegal may include:

  • Investigating facts of legal matters

  • Gathering and/or organizing evidence

  • Generating contracts, agreements, and legal correspondence

  • Schedule depositions, negotiations, and mediations

  • Filing legal documents with courts and opposing counsel

All of these activities are out of scope for a Zirtual Assistant, and they are not able to have access to any documents that relate to attorney/client privilege.

c. Virtual Receptionist or Secretary

While a Receptionist or Secretary will often perform basic administrative tasks, their primary role is generally to answer phone calls, direct callers to appropriate parties, and take messages. Taking inbound calls in this manner is out of scope for Zirtual Assistants.

d. Online Project Manager

Project Management can entail many things, and at it’s most basic are tasks such as management of deadlines, follow up with multiple parties or teams, reviews, analysis and editing, and research. All of these activities are within Zirtual’s scope of service, although that may change when higher levels of management or oversight are needed.

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Don't just take our word for it.

I've just had two of the most productive weeks I've had in years. Ben was perfectly matched to my temperament, and has been taking all the backlogged work off my plate and finishing it. I'm really impressed.

Steve Simitzis
Steve SimitzisCTO & Co-Founder, Let's Date

Zirtual is simple, accessible and effective; working with Jessica has been great. She was quick to pick up the tools Bench uses and integrates herself in the way we work.

Ian Crosby
Ian CrosbyCo-Founder and CEO, Bench.co

Zirtual has been amazing! All of the issues and concerns that I had in previously working with an off-shore company have been sorted at Zirtual.

Michael Puhala
Michael PuhalaVP, Worldwide Sales Engr., Lithium Tech.
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