|Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and author ambro|
Saturday, 30 November 2013
I have been working as a PA and now an Executive Assistant for 22 years and have a wealth of experience. However, for the first 17 years of my career I had five different employees all in the middle of London. Everything changed 5 years ago, when my COO boss of a major Asian company was given a change of location from London to Dubai. This was a part of a mass restructuring whereby our company moved into European, Middle East and Africa operations from London to Dubai. This was to gain from the time difference due to Dubai proximity to Asian operations.
At this point, restructuring meant redundancy and I was prepared to start looking for another job. After this many years working, you have encountered restructuring many times and I have long since seized being nervous about these changes.
However, to my surprise my boss decided to offer me an excellent package as his Executive Assistant in Dubai. I would gain expat package and a relocation allowance. This was an excellent opportunity as not only would my pay be a little higher, but it would also be tax free. This is because income tax is not applied in Dubai.
I have two children and I am separated, this was a major issue as it would involve my ex not having the access to the children that he arranged. School changes would be an issue, but I was keen on the international school standards.
I decided to broach a negotiated amendment to the access rights with my estranged husband. He was surprisingly keen as he was aware that the international schools are likely to be better than the schools they currently attend. He was willing to accept the move if they were to return to him during school holidays for an agreed period. Amazingly, we agreed on something and our lawyer had it formal arbitrated in our settlement process, which was still being completed.
Just over a year later, I was ready to move. It’s a good job that I had so much time to prepare given the legal ramifications of divorce and selling a house. However, I settled into life in Dubai quickly. My role was more executive here and I also had better working hours. It was strange to work on Saturday and Sunday, whilst I had Thursday and Friday off. However, years later and I am still here in the same job and remarried.
Friday, 29 November 2013
If you are thinking of becoming a PA or you are currently a PA, a question that may arise for you is where next? It is always nice to think that we can promote ourselves, earn more and potentially change our roles. However, many PAs often feel that they have reached their potential and moving on will be difficult. This has been the case much more in the past, but there are now many options out there for a PA.
Any PA with experience will now be able to change their lifestyle radically and opt to become their own boss. Modern technology has enabled PAs to change their lifestyle and work from home for themselves. They will be able to use the internet and remote support in order to run the lives of busy small business owners, support PAs in large operations and much more. This is a big move which can pay off, if you are successful in gaining clients. You can gain from freedom of working hours, having your own company and being able to stay at home more. It should also be noted that there is far less security and you will need to run your business well.
|Author photostock and image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net|
Those with ambition to reach the peak of their profession could seek an Executive role. Executive PAs will become more involved in high level executive level meetings and will support an Executive within a large organisation. In order to make this move, you will need sound PA experience and skills. However, your soft skills and managerial ability will need to be developed in order to fit in.
PAs often have great multitasking and organisational skills. This combines with a good knowledge of the organisation and a relationship with senior management which is better than the average member of staff. These qualities make a PA ideal to work in a Project team and if you show interest in making this move, it is likely that a Project will be glad to bring you into the team. This can be a new interesting area with many possibilities to gain in your career.
Human ResourcesWhen you provide support to your manager and a team, you will have a lot of exposure to HR. If it is the case that you can use the experience and your contacts in the department, a move into HR could be ideal.
To find out more about PA related courses please click here.
Many PAs who are looking to make the transition to an EA role or even existing PAs struggle with understanding the skills that are required to make you an Executive Assistant. One key skill for the EA role is the ability to delegate, which is a skill that many an EA or other managerial staff person struggles to enhance. Delegation in theory is not difficult; we have too much to do and we accordingly delegate the task to someone else. However, in the real world telling somebody to do something is not that easy.
A skill for anyone new to managerial grade jobs
|Image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net and Author Ambro|
It is not just Executive Assistants who struggle with delegating to others, but it is also many junior and middle managers. This is for many individual specific reasons, but some key issues are that people are trained not be bossy and tell people what to do. It is ingrained in our social conscience not to be rude and make people not like us. Furthermore, mastering how best to ask different personality types to do various tasks is something we all struggle with. Some people are confrontational and resist doing extra work, so it is necessary to deal with them differently to the more natural helpers.
The comprehension of how to delegate effectively is also difficult to master. Is it the case that someone else is better suited to a task than yourself. This is an important question, you can gain greatly from understanding all the resources available and where talents, skills and work experience lie. It is great if you give a task to an expert who completes the tasks faster and to a higher standard. However, if you delegate inappropriately, time can be wasted in training the member of staff or redoing the work.
The added complication for an Executive Assistant
An Executive Assistant has it harder than their managers in many ways and one thing that is more difficult in this case is delegation. This is for one simple reason; they have not got the authority. Managers tell their subordinates to do things and they expect cooperation because they are their boss. An Executive Assistant sometimes has authority, but more often than that does not have any subordinates. Therefore, a good delegator in this scenario will need to use excellent people skills in order to get people to do tasks for them, as they do not have any line authority over them.
|Image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net and author jscreationzs|
These are some of the key skills that I have noticed Executive Assistants struggle with and you can find out about my Executive PA Course on this link.
Thursday, 31 October 2013
I have been asked many times by students who are fully trained but do not know how and where to find that job. You need to plan your job search and be prepared for negative replies. I firmly believe there is a job out there for you but you need to be applying at the correct time.
Prepare your CV ensuring it is well presented. Tailor your CV for the job; this takes very little effort and time but it could pay dividends. Here are a few suggestions:
- Plan your Job search
Have some order with your job search noting companies and recruitment agencies you have approached and their replies.
|Image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net and author artur 84|
- Jobs Online Search
Make full use of the online job searches including job search sites, job search engines, networking sites, CV postings.
- Use Search Engines
Make full use of the job search engine to find the top job sites, company sites, and online newspapers. These job search engine sites will search all the job sites to capture new job postings.
- Classified Ads
There is also the help wanted classified ads you can make full use of. Local and regional employers do not always post vacancies on the major jobs sites like Reed, Secsinthecity etc. They will tend to favour advertising in their local newspaper to avoid being overwhelmed with applicants and, in most cases, because they would prefer not to pay relocation costs.
- Search by Career
This will give a wide-ranging list of job listings. These can be sorted by career field including theatre, arts, communications, business, education, not-for-profit, legal, science and technology and more.
- Jobs by Area
This is ideal for those who are prepared to relocate. Here you can find vacancies in the area you favour.
- Using Recruitment Agencies
By using recruitment agencies, you have someone who will find that job for you.
- Careers Fairs
These are live and virtual Career Fairs which you visit and have the opportunity to ask questions, take details and leave your CV.
|Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and author ambro|
Networking and social media, for example Linkedin, can give good results. It may be daunting but you may find it enjoyable as your range of networking increases.
Please go to www.souterstraining.com to find out more about the courses that will improve your employability.
The first thing is that must distinguish between a Bookkeeper and an Accountant. Many people who do not have finance experience will be confused between what these two careers.
The Role of an Accountant
Accountants possess a degree or a formal professional accountancy qualification. In the UK, they may be the ACA, ACCA or CIMA. Accountant will review the ledger and ensure that the data is correct and complete. They will also make high level accounting adjustments to the ledger. These may include depreciation or accruals and many more. The accountant will also formalise and deliver the financial accounts. They will handle all queries with management and provide financial advisory to the company's management.
|Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and Author Stuart Miles|
The Role of a Bookkeeper
A bookkeeper will enter financial data into an accounting system. The accounting system is often referred to as the nominal ledger. The ledger will record all financial transactions made by an entity. A bookkeeper will also run reconciliations and some reports from the ledger. You may also find that some data is input into spreadsheets and stored in Excel.
The bookkeeper's role will possibly involve assisting the accountants, but they will not have the qualifications needed to complete the task of the accountants. This is because they hold more junior qualifications.
You can find out more about Bookkeeping Course at www.souterstraining.com
What makes a good bookkeeper?
The bookkeeper's role is less senior than an accountant, but it is still an extremely important role. Here are some examples of what attributes are required by a good bookkeeper:
1- A good level of numeracy is required to be a good bookkeeper.
2- You need a fine eye for details
3- You need to be able to constantly work towards deadlines
4- Most bookkeepers will need good IT skills and to be able to adapt to new programs.
5- You need to be able to analyse data and be able to spot errors.
6- You must enjoy inputting data and working with spreadsheets or forms of numerical data.