Virtual admin assistant vs virtual executive assistant: Who should you hire?

Steven Suntres
January 31, 2022

Choosing between a virtual administrative assistant or a virtual executive assistant can be challenging.  Although these two virtual assistant types have many similarities, there are important differences between them as well. Both can impact your organization in different ways, so it’s important to have a clear understanding of the services provided by each of these positions before adding an assistant to your team. 

As you weigh your decision, it’s important to be very clear on what you need at your organization. That will help you hire the best VA to suit your goals. 

What does a virtual executive assistant do?

We highlighted virtual executive assistants as one of our 5 most in-demand VA skills for 2022. A virtual EA is an administrative specialist who optimizes the workflow of a small number of executives (usually one or two). Most leaders want a virtual EA who can be trusted to represent them when they are too busy to represent themselves.

A working relationship with a virtual EA is a partnership; they often keep flexible schedules to ensure they’re available when you need them. You can trust a good EA with confidential information, and with providing responses on your behalf for issues that arise when you’re not available. If you’re an executive or senior leader who needs an assistant to manage your personal and professional scheduling and communications with maximum efficiency, then a virtual EA should be a strong fit. 

What does a virtual administrative assistant do?

Similar to a virtual EA, a virtual administrative assistant (virtual AA) is a multi-talented professional who can manage a variety of projects and processes. 

If you need help with a broad range of administrative and clerical tasks, a virtual AA will ensure all work is completed according to your guidance and expectations. Consider a virtual AA if you’re feeling bogged down with tasks like keeping online files organized, arranging and taking minutes for meetings, or coordinating events and projects. 

Differences between a virtual executive assistant and a virtual administrative assistant

A key difference between a virtual EA and a virtual AA is in the level of responsibility. A virtual EA has a high level of responsibility and knowledge of an organization. You can typically trust a virtual EA to stand in for you and keep operations running smoothly while you’re away, whereas a virtual AA typically won’t have the autonomy to fill your shoes in the same way. 


  • A virtual EA can manage and govern a group meeting, and a virtual AA would schedule the meeting, send all participants a calendar invite and take minutes of the meeting. 

  • A virtual EA can analyze and implement changes in administrative processes, whereas a virtual AA is knowledgeable of various administrative processes in order to adapt and follow direction when managing processes. 

  • A virtual EA can communicate with important stakeholders to share critical information, while a virtual AA can assist stakeholders by scheduling meetings with employees who are able to share that information. 

Which one to hire?

Both virtual executive assistants and virtual administrative assistants can be valuable for organizations. If you simply need a multi-skilled VA who will follow your direction when managing established processes, you’ll want to hire a virtual AA. If you’re seeking an assistant who will take initiative, manage your schedule, keep you accountable and communicate on your behalf, then a virtual EA would be the best match for your needs. 

Whichever you decide, we have a large pool of both virtual EAs and virtual AAs waiting to help your organization grow. And if you’re still not sure which one would be best, our Solutions team would be glad to help you make the choice. Contact us today to find the right VA for you.

Want to learn more about hiring a virtual assistant?

View our services page to see all the ways we can support your team.

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Steven Suntres
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