How frustrating is it when you find out you’ve been making an error for years and no one has bothered or had the heart to tell you?

Like many EAs, I’m a picture straightener and I get a twitch when things need adjusting and I can’t do it myself or I’m trying to hold my tongue.

So I don’t… mostly.

Through working with international consultants and virtual assistants, I’ve noticed a few FYIs I’ve shared that generally aren’t common knowledge.

Here is the start of a cheat sheet I would want if I was a virtual assistant with Australian clients:

**1**   Spelling traps

We use UK English (not US English), so adjusting your spell check will make your life easier as you may not know to use.. say.. organisation instead of organization. I found 2 GREAT summaries of the differences to look out for:

**2**   Date Format

We write (and will find it easier to read) dates with the day THEN the month. As you can imagine, getting this wrong can confuse both you and your client. E.g.

  • 3 July 2015
  • 3rd of July 2015
  • 03/07/15
  • if your client uses reverse date order in file names so that they appear in order, you’ll use yyyymmdd for them (e.g. “Blog Post – 20150703 –  5 Things VAs Should Know About Australian Clients.doc”

If paper sizes A3, A4 and A5 don’t sound familiar, you’d better read this post to ensure that you’re creating documents your Australian clients can print!

**4**   Public Holidays

The most reliable source to check our public holidays is here: .  If you manage a calendar I would put these in from 9am-5pm instead of an all day event to stop you or your client making bookings on these days. I started doing this after I had to move appointments because both the person I supported and I missed a Labour Day public holiday until a couple of weeks before when people start making long-weekend plans!


Our standard postal service is Australia Post – if you’re given a postal address without the postcode (you need this!) you can search on their website here:


Webjet ( is a great tool for comparing flights from multiple airlines, though booking directly with each airline once you know the flights you want can save money. When you take on a new client, add their frequent flyer membership numbers to your list of details to collect.

For domestic flights, having your client arrive 45 minutes before departure is generally the safe time for all airlines.


Do you have others to add? Comment below!

Would you like to write the next Thought Penny post for VAs with clients in your country? You’re welcome to send an article for consideration via email to

Take care


Fiona Campbell is an executive virtual assistant, assisting clients with content marketing and social media. When she isn't writing articles for executive, personal and virtual assistant community, you'll find her having fun with her young children or listening to podcasts.

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