What is Virtual Assistant?

So what is a virtual assistant?

Whenever I go networking or people ask me what do, I tell them that I’m a virtual assistant (or a “VA”).  Nine out of ten times I get a blank look.  No-one knows.  So what exactly is a virtual assistant?

Whilst I use the title virtual assistant, it’s more of a way or working rather than a job title. Virtual assistants are self-employed people who assist businesses from a remote location i.e. not in the office/in person (although some do offer In House support). 

So what do they actually do?  Well, virtual assistants can help with a variety of tasks from specialist tech tasks such as building websites and SEO, to appointment scheduling and email management to running personal errands!  There are many types of virtual assistants:

  1. Tech VA’s who might specialise in building websites, SEO, branding etc;
  2. Social media managers who help businesses with their social media, creating advertising campaigns and email marketing;
  3. Accounts VA’s who specialist in providing bookkeeping/accounts administration support; and
  4. PA/EA types who specialise in providing PA support such as email/diary management, minute taking, document production, organising travel and are general admin ninjas;

This list isn’t conclusive but merely shows that some virtual assistants are experts in particular fields whereas others are general admin ninja’s.  The skillset varies massively and no virtual assistants are the same.  I attend a local networking meeting for virtual assistants and there isn’t a lot of cross-over or overlap with skills. 

So virtual assistants are all singing, all dancing saviours of the day, but how do you know whether the virtual assistant you want to use is any good?  There isn’t any regulation at this time, but there are a few things quality virtual assistants (whatever their specialism) will have in common.

  • They are insured.  They have appropriate professional indemnity/public liability in place.
  • Registered with ICO – you can request a copy of their certificate.
  • They follow GDPR good practice.
  • They use contracts/terms of business and have appropriate policies in place.
  • If they work with accounts administration they are registered with HMRC for AML supervision.
  • Should they ever get hit by a bus, you should be able to know exactly where they left off and have full access to all the systems they help you with.

VIP VA are setting standards for virtual assistants and I am proud to be an accredited member.  This means that I adhere to the highest of standards and gives my clients peace of mind that they are in safe hand and I’m a professional.

If you are looking for a Virtual Assistant to support you, make sure you look out for the accredited VA badge from VIPVA on your VA’s website, or alternatively, ask for proof that they have the above systems/registrations etc in place to ensure you and your clients are looked after properly and professionally.

I specialise in traditional VA/PA support which means that I can help with document production,  email/diary management, raising invoices, accounts administration etc.  If I’m ever asked to undertake work that doesn’t fit within my specialism my accreditation with VIP VA means that I have access to experts in every field and I can help you source the right individual for you and your business.

If you’d like to find put more about virtual assistants or have any queries please email me at gemma@bournesvirtual.co.uk.

I look forward to catching you up next month.



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