Monday, 7 April 2014

How to motivate your team for an Executive Assistant and Office Manager

Building trust and motivating your team are vital skills needed for any Manager, EA, PA, Administrator, Team Leader or Project Manager. Team players all have different personalities, temperaments, domestic problems or social inadequacies. 

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There is no need to give in to their many whims in order to ‘get on.’ A good idea is to meet socially outside of the office. Your company can be enticed to give you a budget in order to organise after work drinks, lunch or dinner, boat ride with lunch etc. It is important that you point out how it will benefit the team, department and company.

It is very important that your treat each member of your team fairly, recognise body language and be aware of how the team interact at work. You may also praise and team member if he/she has done very good work. A huge benefit on motivating your team is to let them know they are valued.

Communicating information of good news of the company’s developments, new contracts, new clients or turnover can bond staff to feel more part of the progress of the company and endorses their loyalty. Regular meetings can also assist greatly for example you can brainstorm ideas, discuss progress, explain changes and always be prepared to answer questions. Do not assume staff will read the company’s newsletters or bulletins so this can be discussed at meeting in order to keep them informed of new developments and, more importantly, to celebrate company’s or individual’s achievement.

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Ideally you should not save and heap all the praises at the yearly appraisal; this can be a job that was completed several months ago and the effect will not have a significant impact on staff at this stage. Giving praise when someone has done well is an ideal way of motivating staff and they can be satisfied that they are steering their career along the right path. There is nothing worse than plugging away at a job and not know whether your work is appreciated.

Invest in training is highly beneficial to staff, team, management and the company, in turn. Training increases efficiency, production and retention with staff. They feel the company values them and will therefore strengthen their loyalty to the company. This training can also improve the company’s productivity. It is important to utilise the budget effectively by identifying staff’s needs or weaknesses and agree a programme of personal development. Alternatively, coaching and mentoring can also realise results.

To summarise this, the most important thing is you have an interest in the staff and always be willing to listen and support them. If you would like to learn more about executive soft skills of an Executive Assistant go to this link:

Monday, 31 March 2014

How to transition to an Executive level PA.

There are numerous skills that need to be acquired in order to make a move from PA to Executive level. However, one that is much understated but extremely important is taking control of your role and career. 

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When you are at lower grade jobs, you will much more receive the objectives and aims for your job form your manager. Your role is generally directed to you and you are in a relatively passive role. This is not the case for every junior PA, but is a common complaint but many PAs who feel that they are underutilised. 

However, when you transition to senior PA roles or become an Executive PA you will be increasingly expected to work on your own initiative and direct your role as you deem fit. This sounds great, but to be truly effective you need to bare several things in mind. 

What are my long term career goals? Do I want to continue to progress or a sideways move? As this long-term aspect should govern all of your career planning. At an Executive level and before that you should be actively planning your career progress and researching how best to achieve your ambitions.

What are the goals of your manager? You should be able to ascertain what exactly is needed by your manager and what their priorities are. In this way, you can clearly plan your role around a mutually beneficial focus to yourself and your manager. This is naturally going to reflect well on you, as it will ensure more synergies. If both your role and your manager’s role have converging priorities this is ideal. Naturally, you can discuss how best to set objectives in a meeting, with you taking a proactive role. We are not suggesting that you should just now, without any communications.

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What are the goals of your organisations?

Executive PAs should keep up to date with the latest their industry and their organisations, by undertaking a more proactive interest in presentations, news bulletins and anything else that is circulated. Executive PAs should be being willing to attend higher level meetings in order to gain more knowledge of their business and organisation. This will make you more aware of the current news and be able to recognise elements of your role that need to be prioritised to meet organisational objectives.

To find out more about Executive PA Training go to

Project Management: A great career option for a PA.

Project Management whether it is as a part of an Executive PA or PA role or as a permanent career change has become more common. However, too many Executive PAs and PAs lack belief in their own abilities to undertake a projects career.

Author Ambro and image courtesy of

This is a huge mistake because you are missing out on what can be a very rewarding and varied career option. So now to dispel any rumours that Project Management requires specialised qualifications, degrees and a background in upper management. We will convince many PAs that they should pursue this career if they wish and are well positioned to enter this field.

Firstly what are the basic skills of a PA or an Executive PA?

Diarising and great organisational skills: Any PA who is proud of being a successful PA will boast of the ability to organise the lives of their bosses, teams and themselves all in one. So if we consider this fact, do we think that this would make us good at projects?

The answer is of course a resounding positive for the PA. Why is this case? Projects technical skills involve extensive planning and scheduling and most project people move over from other areas into projects. Very few project people have a background in planning and organising in the same way that a PA can claim. This means that a PA would be a highly attractive candidate for a Project team.

Author Ambro and image courtesy of

Networking and acting as a point of contact: PAs are often the point of contact for their boss and develop networks all over different departments and externally. Project teams so often lack any insider knowledge of the organisation and acquiring a PA’s contacts can be a quick win for any Project team. This again will make a PA a very appealing candidate to work in projects.

Author Ambro and image courtesy of

Problem solving: PAs are excellent problem solvers and often have to deal with any unexpected issues that arise in their roles or the roles of who they assist. This quality is vital in a project which is often bringing about change. When you are managing change there is bound to be something that doesn’t go to plan and experience handling these issues will make you an asset to the team.

Flexibility: Continuing on the same theme from before a PA can demonstrate flexibility which is vital in Project work. 

These skills are only some of the transferrable skills for Projects that are possessed by a PA. Find out about moving into Project with a course designed for PAs and Office Managers learning the practical elements of Project Management.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Financial Services Jobs for an Executive Assistant and PA

London has an economy that is largely focussed on financial services. This means that many of our best careers in the our city are in Banks, hedge funds, pension companies, insurance complete and other similar companies. This impacts the career path of London Executive Assistants and PAs.
In essence, Executive Assistants and PAs in London can find their best salary packages within financial services. Therefore, this means that you need to amend your skills set to suit working for and with financial professionals.

You do not need to know how to do their jobs, but taking up a short Financial course and perhaps keeping up to date with major things that are happening in the world of finance will ensure that you keep up with any commonly used terminology. This will ensure that you understand the general meaning of key meetings and are not left out of discussions. 

You will also be dealing with more financial data and more documents that are compiled in Excel. Too many PAs in finance do not have good Excel skills and this can really be an embarrassment when all of your colleagues can use Excel efficiently. Therefore, you should aim to increase your Excel skills to an advanced level.

This can be done by taking Excel Courses, however it is important that there is a focus on the key functions that a financial professional needs. All too many Excel Courses are delivered by tutors or online in a generic manner and provide limited exposure to the key functions needed for this industry.
Therefore, you need to learn keyboard shortcuts, formula functions (Lookups, Vlookups, Index Match and much more), Pivot Tables, Pivot Charts, Chart Wizard and how to link to other Microsoft Office programmes. These are some of the key areas required, but also you need to be able to format and conditionally format your spreadsheet to a professional level. Advanced data sorting and filtering is also important and more advanced formula (subtotalling, sumif, sumproduct and more) are needed to ensure that you are not let down when it comes to your Excel skills.

If you are looking to get a PA career in the higher paying industry in London the best thing to do is take an Excel course that will include the functions above. Also, if you are already working in the industry and want to strengthen these skills, you can also improve these areas with a course. Here are the details of some Excel courses that are specifically designed for people in your situation

Friday, 28 February 2014

Bookkeeping Careers: Working Mums finding a new career.

Our previous blog looked at how working mum could return to work with their own business as a Virtual Assistant. This was ideal for a working mum who wanted to control her future and mix her career with the ability to spend more time with their family at home. However, there is another option that is popular with many working mums who do not want to go back to working in a company that will keep them at the desk from 9-5, at least. This option is to become a self-employed Bookkeeper and this is not a new option, as there have been bookkeepers that have worked form home for a long time. However, it is becoming even more possible for bookkeepers to become remote support to business with the updates in remote working from technology.

Studying to become a bookkeeper will require study, unlike Virtual Assistant work that may be attained with an experience in Admin work. If you have previous experience in accounting it is likely that the move to working for yourself in bookkeeping with be relatively easy. However, the bookkeeping business is open to anyone who takes the time to learn how to carry out the function. It is not a quick process to learn bookkeeping, but the career options are huge.

Image courtesy of and author xedos4

You can learn bookkeeping by taking an accredited series of courses. Normally, it takes a few exams to become a Bookkeeper as you need to cover a series of areas to able to be competent, but once you pass the exams you are qualified. If you are interested in studying to become a bookkeeper, one of the best options is to become a bookkeeper through the ICB. The ICB is a UK based organisation that specialises in the field and is highly recognised and respected.

The Bookkeeping route is similar to VAs, you can study and become highly competent in the field.
If you want to become a bookkeeper, we can help you with a series of ICB course that you can find details of the courses at