A seasoned PA can be the backbone of their organisation, not solely their manager or director. One of the most rewarding support roles out there, working as a financial services PA, your performance helps drive a company to grow, innovate and achieve continuous success.
A PA to six partners at FRP Advisory LLP (and admin support to 16 members of staff) and former winner of Manchester’s PA of the Year gives Walters People an insight into being an in-demand PA within financial services. Do you want to excel your PA career within a professional services business? Here's what we learned.
What are the key responsibilities in your role?
As my role is so broad, I have a wide spectrum of responsibilities which means no two days are the same. Some of my key duties include marketing, monthly reports for the Operations Board, procurement transactions, partners’ expenses, invoicing, IT issues, reception, facilities, event organising, and maintaining the CRM system. The list is never ending!
As I am the only PA and support professional in FRP Advisory’s North West office, I provide admin support to the team as and when needed. My role is a cross-breed, so I wear numerous business support hats.
What are the key challenges you face?
Being a PA is one of the most demanding roles as it’s so varied – I have to prioritise tasks for the partners’ and the team – I’m the ‘go-to’ and that can seem daunting at times. Although it can be overwhelming at extremely busy times, and it is guaranteed that people will want everything all at the same time, the amount of responsibility is what motivates me.
Challenge always comes with reward - I love the diversity of my role and I’ve seen my role grow and evolve since I began working here.
Challenge always comes with reward - I love the diversity of my role and I’ve seen my role grow and evolve since I began working here. As I am very much a people person and I enjoy the constant interaction with key clients and colleagues alike. I enjoy creating a smooth and efficient day for the partners. I find it very rewarding, professionally and personally.
How would you recommend building your reputation as a PA?
Without hesitation – join a network! It has helped me greatly in becoming a brand ambassador for my company. It is a chance to meet like-minded people from a diverse range of industries and work together to support each other whilst enhancing understanding and recognition of the support profession.
For your own career development, it’s not always enough to rely on the skills in your CV when looking to secure your next opportunity – networking can really put you at an advantage over the competition. PAs and EAs are usually one of the first to find out about new roles within an organisation so it’s always recommended to build a network of other professionals that can inform you of new opportunities that crop up.
A PA network has also been great for me socially, not just a smart professional move. I’m proud to say I have a strong network of peers that I can count on for advice, brunch, or after work drinks! When I first started, I was completely new to the city, so joining a network allowed me to access new places such as restaurants and venues that I could recommend to partners at my firm.
What are your other tips to support professionals looking to build their PA career?
It’s worth taking the time to look for an organisation or managers you enjoy working for. It does not mean you will love every day or face stressful periods, but it can make even the worst of work situations more bearable.
The clock goes much faster when your team gels together. My team has great banter and this is a massive help when everyone is bogged down with work and needs a pick me up!
Finally, in your current business support role, record all your achievements as you’ll need to provide demonstrable examples of why you’re capable of taking on a PA role if that’s what the future holds for you!