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Comparing an Administrative Assistant vs Virtual Assistant - Conversational - Blog

Comparing an Administrative Assistant vs Virtual Assistant

As a virtual assistant provider, we get this question all the time: “What’s the difference between an administrative assistant and a virtual assistant?” At first, it can be unclear whether the duties an administrative assistant handles are any different from the duties a virtual assistant handles.

We’re here to cut through the static and clarify the roles of an administrative assistant vs virtual assistant so you can determine which one you need.

Administrative Assistant vs Virtual Assistant

The differences between an administrative assistant and a virtual assistant are subtle, so pay attention! The main difference is the location where the work takes place.

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Administrative assistant duties

An administrative assistant usually works onsite in their employers’ office or place of business. They may work from home on occasion. Administrative assistants are often employed on a full-time basis and receive legally-required benefits from their employers.

Duties an administrative assistant might take care of include:

  • Answering phones
  • Taking notes and memos
  • Maintaining file organization
  • Sending/receiving correspondence
  • Greeting in-house clients or customers
  • Bookkeeping and scheduling tasks
  • Documentation and planning

There is no educational requirement to become an administrative assistant other than a high school diploma, though some specialized assistants may be required to have higher education.

Virtual assistant duties

A virtual assistant is everything an administrative assistant is – except full-time and onsite. Virtual assistants are simply part-time administrative assistants that work remotely, whether that’s from their own home or from a brick-and-mortar office or call center.

A virtual assistant may be employed full-time by a trusted virtual assistant provider, like Conversational, where you can then order their services by selecting a monthly plan. They may work independently on a contract basis with individual clients. You will sometimes hear virtual assistants referred to as VAs.

Virtual assistants handle the same duties as an administrative assistant, plus several more:

  • Answering phones
  • Taking notes and memos
  • Maintaining file organization
  • Sending/receiving correspondence
  • Greeting in-house clients or customers
  • Bookkeeping and scheduling tasks
  • Documentation and planning


  • Blog post management
  • Editing and proofreading
  • Social media management
  • Online review management
  • Bill payment and ordering stock
  • Research and information collection

Hiring an administrative assistant vs virtual assistant

When you’re ready to hire an assistant, deciding between an administrative and virtual assistant will be difficult. Just consider your own needs as you make your decision.

Will you need help from your assistant full-time (40 hours per week), or just from 10 to 40 hours per month? Can you afford to provide an assistant with a full-time salary and the federally required benefits? Do you work from a business location or your home?

“I need a part-time assistant that only works when I have tasks that need to be done.” If you don’t need full-time help, you’re a prime candidate for hiring a virtual assistant. Click here to view our monthly plans.

“I need a full time assistant that works from my office.” If this is you, you’ll need an administrative assistant who doesn’t work remotely.

“I can afford to pay a low cost for a monthly plan, but not a full-time salary with benefits.” You need a virtual assistant, not one that requires a salary and benefits. Click here to view our monthly plans.

“I can afford to pay an assistant a full-time salary with benefits.” An administrative assistant or virtual assistant can help you in this case. Click here to view our monthly virtual assistant plans.


Publish Date: June 28, 2016

2021 Buyers Guide Help Desk Software

eGain Corporation

eGain CallTrack™
eGain CallTrack™ is a dynamic call tracking and case management solution that helps companies provide quick, high-quality, and cost-efficient resolution of customer issues across traditional and emerging interaction channels. It is one of the many innovative customer interaction products in eGain Solve™ suite, the unified customer engagement and knowledge management software suite, which helps businesses transform their traditional call centers into omnichannel customer engagement hubs. eGain CallTrack will enable you to track, manage and resolve cases and maintain service level agreements (SLA), across channels.


Happitu is your customer support team’s personal coach. It guides your team through every interaction with custom workflows, responsive scripting, and dynamic help topics.

Documentation in Happitu is automated, detailed, and consistent. Go beyond handle times and service levels with the rich insights of Happitu – from granular interaction data to aggregate data and trends – you get the complete CX journey!

We intentionally built the Happitu Workflow Designer with your customer support team in mind. Using our intuitive tools that provide quick and safe iteration, you eliminate the need to involve IT or Development. Yes, you will no longer have to dread submitting a change request to Devin from IT!

Try it free for 45 days!


Knowmax is an omnichannel knowledge management platform. Our mission is to transform contact centers into resolution centers and drive customer self service.
The platform is an industry-agnostic enterprise-grade knowledge platform with components helping in easy findability of actionable information at the right time across the desired touchpoint.

Nuxiba Technologies

Nuxiba's Help Desk Software is ideal for delivering top-level contact help desk services. It not only tailors to your existing technology resources but also allows you to set staff priorities that forward clients to the most knowledgeable agents.

Give personalized assistance, and analyze performance with our real-time monitoring, recording, and reports. Integrate Salesforce or VTiger CRM systems, be TCPA compliant, protect your cardholder's data during calls, and more!

Request a quote or demo today and start the journey to increase your first-contact resolution percentages in less than three months!


OneDesk's software combines Helpdesk & Project Management into one application. No need to purchase, integrate and switch between applications. Your team can support your customers and work on projects in one place. Aimed at SMBs as well as departments at large enterprises, OneDesk is frequently used by project managers, customer service, IT, professional services and more. This easy-to-use, feature-rich, and highly configurable software can manage both ticket & task workflows.

Teckinfo Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

ActivDesk Help Desk Software
ActivDesk Help Desk Software is an intelligent ticketing software for multi- channel customer interaction & engagement. It streamlines the entire ticket management process. With its SLA & escalation management, it enables your help desk to deliver enriching customer experience.

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