Sunday, 29 March 2015

Working from home

Government figures show the number of women registered as self-employed went up to 1.357 million which is 5.3 per cent rise for the period of the last quarter of 2012 and the last quarter of 2013. Whereas the figures for men show self-employment rose by only 2.8 per cent. At the same time there are 14 million women employed which is record-breaking since the Office of National Statistics records began.

Many women would prefer to avoid the hassle of the daily commute which can take up at least 2 hours of your day. This means that 10 hours of your week or 40 hours per month is wasted. Working from home offers the opportunity to look after the family and be on top of the daily household chores as those 2 hours travel is spent at home.

Working from home best suits the person who is self-disciplined as there can be so many distractions in the home, in the road or with neighbours or friends who tend to drop in as they know you are at home.

Author Imagerymajestic and image courtesy of

This is because a common and largely unavoidable challenge of working from home is that of maintaining the required degree of self-motivation. Choosing to work out of your own home after all, is essentially taking a career direction that has no direct oversight, limited physical interactions with other people and no end of potential distractions.

Self-motivation is the main and obvious challenge of working from home. Another problem is not having that interaction with those of similar jobs in the office environment.

In order to set yourself up for the day you should uphold some of the traditional requisites for a day in the office which is getting dressed for work instead of slopping around in your dressing gown. It has been proven that in order to boost greater productivity, you should treat every day as a day in an official office.

Once you have decided to work from home, you should make sure you create an office environment in one room or part of the house. This should include having quality IT hardware, software and the necessary accessories to run an efficient office. In replicating an office in the home, you will then be pitching your business at a higher level and you will be working efficiently.

As a self-employed individual, you are your own boss therefore, you need to make decisions and have a good understanding of how your business should operate. Your skills need to be A1 which should also include book keeping as you will need to run accounts for clients and yourself. Most of all you need to be able to market yourself and retain your clients.

Equipped with a wide range of skills can often lead to increased business from the client. A client may engage you manage his diary and type reports but if he is aware that you can organise events, he may engage your services for example planning his wife’s 50th birthday.
The important skill is being able to sell yourself by making sure your clients are aware of your many skills. 

A key career for people who are working from home is Bookkeeping. Find out about becoming a Bookeeper at

Secrets of Minute Taking

Minute taking is a key to any Administrators career, so Secretaries, PAs and Admin Assistants should look towards developing this skill. The skills of being a good minute taker are not that easy to master because you should realistically be able to go into any type of meeting and make accurate minutes.

Why is this so important?

Minutes are generally taken at more important meeting, which will mean that many influential and senior managers will attend the meeting. Therefore, this may be one of the few times that your profile is raised within your company. At this point, you will be in a room with most important people in your company and when you publish your minutes all of the eyes are on you.
Author prakaroij and image courtesy of

If you fail to take good minutes or the minutes are inaccurate or lacking relevance, it can be detrimental to your image and career. However, if you appear in control and deliver good quality minutes, it can have a great effect on your future image within the company.

What should I do?

·        Develop a relationship with the Chair of the meeting: A good chair will work with the minute taker, but all too often they don’t help the minute taker at all. There should be a mode of communication established between the Chair and Minute Taker to ensure that you are clear on the main point as you move on.

·        Develop an agenda and a plan of the meeting: Ensure that you have a structure to the meeting on an agenda. This is the basis of ensuring the meeting runs to schedule and keeps to the point. However, you can use it to ensure you keep on the topic and summarise your minutes to the key important points. 

·        Use shorthand and speedwriting: You will need to write quickly to ensure you get the details. Codes for each person and shorthand techniques help. You do not need to learn set shorthand for this.

·        Research: You must research everything in the meeting fully. So any new subject matter, the background of the meeting and any other items needs full understanding and research to get to grips with any discussion before the meeting. It is a great confidence builder if you are feeling uncertain.

Author prakaroij and image courtesy of
          Establish yourself in the meeting room: Make sure that you are visible in the meeting and have a presence, so that people ensure that they interact with you and ensure that you get the important points.

There are many other key skills that need to be covered by a minute taker, but this gives you more of a focus on how to prepare and conduct yourself in the meeting. Find out more about Minute Taking at

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Delegation of tasks to others for an Executive Assistant

Delegating to others is a difficult skill to master. This is because partly we feel that we are imposing on others. Most of us like to be liked by our colleagues and the concept of appearing bossy or dominating your colleagues is something that we do not want. The other thing is that many of us do our jobs well and it means that we are reluctant to delegate tasks to others, for fear of them not being done well or losing control of them. These are difficult issues to overcome, as many of these attributes have helped us get on with our colleagues and deliver our jobs well in the past.

However, if you are going to make the move up to the Executive Level from being a PA, you need to master this skill.

Issues to consider include:

  • Know the resources around you, so who is best for the job at hand? Can your time be spent better? 
  • Methods of delegating and the level of management required by yourself 
  • How best to ask or influence others to take on the task
  • The delegation of authority

These are four main issues that you encounter when you are trying to delegate tasks to your colleagues and all four need to be handled to be a success at delegating. 

One of the key issues is being clear on the different resources that are available to you in your department or company. For example, if you are aware that your manager requires your assistance in the preparation of a KPI report. It would be worth you familiarising yourself with the report. Often this type of report requires input from the Finance part of your company, so the best thing to do is to familiarise and network with the best skilled members of the team that are at your hand. Building a broad awareness of the skills at hand ensure that you allocate resources effectively to most appropriate resource.

This can go further, when there is a simple task you may opt to delegate as you can easily use your time more productively elsewhere.

This highlights one of the key areas for effective delegation, which is the effective allocation of resources.

Find out about Advanced Executive Assistant training at

Friday, 27 February 2015

Bookkeeping is a vital skill for your career and here is why.

Bookkeeper jobs are in every medium to large sized company. However, jobs that require bookkeeping or accounting skills are all the more prolific. Therefore, if you start developing skills in bookkeeping you can open up a wide range of openings. We will look at the different options for someone with qualifications in Bookkeeping. There are options to work in pure bookkeeping roles, to get roles that have a little bit of finance included, to get temp work or to even be your own boss. The range of work available is appealing and what’s more its truly transferrable, as every industry has this type of job.

If you manage to study and gain a Bookkeeping qualification there are naturally going to be lots of jobs in Finance. You also have the option to keep studying to become an Accounts Technician or Accountant. This can be a rewarding process and your earning potential is huge. The financial services industry is keen to get people with bookkeeping skills and the range of job types in this industry is diverse.

Working in the Finance department

Accounts payable and the more low paying jobs in Bookkeeping and Finance often have people working in these roles without qualifications. These people will often find it difficult to see the big picture of what they do in their jobs or understand how everything fits together in finance. Therefore, they are limited to data entry roles that are low paying and rely on a computerised bookkeeping package to help them.

Image courtesy of and author stuart miles

Once you get some accountancy or bookkeeping qualifications, you can move up to higher paying and more varied roles. These roles include bookkeepers, accounts assistants or assistant financial controllers. These roles can bring better pay, responsibility and prospects to continue to develop themselves. Ultimately, it is possible to move up to the level of an accountant in these types of roles if you keep studying and progressing. 

Working with a bit of Finance
PAs and Office Managers are often required to have a knowledge of bookkeeping. This is increasingly the case in job role, to see a Bookkeeping knowledge desired. Therefore, anyone in this career is missing out on well-paying work and more job opportunities by not getting qualified as a Bookkeeper.  Now, as the job market gets more competitive, you should try to get some bookkeeping skills. 

Be Your Own Boss

You can also qualify and start to run your own Bookkeeping practice. This is a great opportunity to be your own boss.

See more about Bookkeeping courses at

How to progress to a PA and Executive PA

To progress to the PA level you will need good to excellent Microsoft office and Typing skills, as mentioned in the last blog. However, this is not the key to getting the job. You will also need to gain excellent PA Admin skills, such as diarising, electronic diarising, planning and international diary management (increasingly important in this day and age) . You will need excellent communication skills both face to face and over the phone, as you will be the point of contact for your team or manager. Your written communication will need to be excellent and the ability to produce high quality professional emails, memos, publications, presentation and letter is highly important.
You will need strong time management skills for your team, manager and your role.  The ability to deal with challenging and changing situations is important. In this era, booking and managing complex travel arrangements are extremely important skills. Other important skills include the ability to take minutes at meeting, organise events, meet and great people, organise meetings and manage the running of the office. There are many more skills that can be required, which are not mentioned in the above array of skills. Every job can have specific requirements and you will need to be a dynamic person, who is a fast learner to cope with this.

To find out more about training to be a PA or Secretary please go to:

Advanced Level : Executive PA

The Executive PA is difficult. Naturally, you need absolute advanced level of all of the administrative skills listed about that relate to a PA or Secretary. However, the key to the transition to this level is the Executive name. You essentially need to learn to function at the executive level, which means the ability to present yourself in a new more assertive and professional manner. At this level, you should be able to lead others, influence them and delegate to others when it is appropriate to do so. This may sound easy but an array of soft skills and technical competence is required to master this area of the role.

You should also be looking to direct your own career and be able to operate on your own initiative, without being dictated to by your manager. This is a great role if you can get it as you get more freedom to develop yourself, more interesting work and to see more of a high level variety of issues.
Communication, leadership, influencing, decision-making and problem-solving skills are all requirement that you will need to master. However, the list of skills can be much wider and you may need specialism such as Projects, Events, HR, Finance or other types of skills to be a success.
However, this is difficult move to make and will require Executive PA training to master the managerial skills that are new to you. To find out more about these courses go to: