What bits of dirty work do entrepreneurs hand to their PA?

Running your own outfit famously comes with a thousand headaches, at least in the early days. But now a study has uncovered exactly which tasks SME owners hate - and delegate to their PAs.

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

A company which provides outsourced admin services to small businesses has published data on exactly what jobs SME owners delegate – a pretty good guess at what they hate doing the most. Time Etc. surveyed its team of ‘virtual PAs’, workers who perform the outsourced tasks.

Top of the list (and the most common by a country mile) came chasing payments from customers and clients. Almost three quarters (72%) of the virtual PAs said this was the job they are handed most often. Obviously the uncomfortable business of squeezing money out of late-payers proves too much even for the most officious owner-managers.

Next up was processing their own expenses, with 61% of PAs citing it as one of the most common requests. Of course, whether you’re the boss or not, it’s a requirement of HMRC that all expenses are written down and processed, but it seems laziness gets the better of some where this particular chore is concerned.

Then, less common but still popular ones were formatting documents (39%), booking travel tickets (37%), and managing and organising email inboxes (35%). Other bug bears were keeping social media channels fresh and updated, and also writing company blogs for the website.

The company’s founder, Barnaby Lashbrooke, said: ‘My personal pet hate is booking travel – never straightforward as it means researching different connections to find the lowest fare.’ You need to try out any of the major railway or airline websites, Barnaby – they’ll do it for you. Ask your PA.

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