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The Difference Between a PA and a VA

Unsure whether a VA or a PA would be best for your business? While the roles have a lot in common, we explain the differences and what to consider when choosing between them.

Hands working at a laptop and a cup of tea and vase

Do you need admin support for your business but you’re not sure what’s best for your company or what the process is? This week, we kick off a series of blog posts explaining what happens when a business owner decides to use a VA - we’ll be covering:


  1. The difference between a PA and a VA

  2. How to find the perfect VA for you

  3. Starting out with The Arts VA: The client journey

  4. How to work with a VA


To start, you may need to decide whether you need a PA or a VA. Understanding the difference between the two roles can be tricky especially as they sound similar and cover similar tasks! However, a VA and a PA provide different benefits to a business so it’s worth thinking about the following when considering which one is right for you.

Pile of coins and a clock

1. Cost

A PA tends to be permanently employed by a business and works exclusively for them. This is a long-term commitment so you can plan for their salary, but you will need to factor in employment benefits, such as holiday and sickness.

A VA works for themselves and can work on an ad hoc basis which offers more flexibility. They bill by the hour so if you’re having a quiet month, you don’t have to pay anything! You also don’t have to worry about National Insurance, tax or employee benefits.


2. Skills

A PA and a VA offer many of the same admin skills that will benefit your business, however, a PA is one person so, depending on their knowledge and experience, they may require some training.

VAs come from different backgrounds so you can choose one that has the relevant experience. At The Arts VA, we are a team of assistants so you gain more than just one person’s skills.

It’s also worth remembering that a VA is a business owner too. As they use various systems for different clients, they are usually tech savvy so can help grow your business, offer advice and guidance, as well as provide administrative support.

A laptop, phone and pens

3. Equipment

Think about whether you need to have someone in the office or are happy for them to work remotely? A PA will work in-house so they will need equipment and a space to work which can take time and money.

A VA usually works remotely. They run their own business and have other clients so they will have their own work space, including reliable Wi-Fi, computer and insurance – this is all part of the service!


You can use online tools, such as Slack, to chat to your VA so they don’t need to be in the office. (We discuss how to hand over tasks to a VA in this blog)


4. Availability

As a PA works exclusively for you, they will be on hand to provide support during their working hours. A VA is a great option for business owners who travel with work, work from home sometimes or all the time. They are set up to work remotely so can be available to you whenever you need them.

In next week’s blog, we’ll be explaining how you can find the right VA for your business.


The Arts News

  • The Royal Opera House 2021/22 season opens on Monday 13th September, including five world premieres and 20 revivals. Explore the full season on the ROH website.

  • We’re thrilled to see Mary Poppins finally return to the stage at the Prince Edward Theatre - check out the first look photos.

We’d Love to Hear From You!


If you have any questions or would like to know more about how you could work with The Arts VA, you can contact Charlie here.



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