What does a virtual assistant do?

Virtual assistants can offer a variety of services, and there are specialist VAs in practically every specialist service there is out there.
We specialise in credit control; chasing your overdue payments and reducing your age debt, so you get your cash flow flowing!

There are some misconceptions around what people think a virtual assistant is and what we do. The first is that a lot of people think if you’re a virtual assistant you always work from home. Although there are virtual assistants who do work from home, some virtual assistance businesses will have premises and will be an established limited company with staff on site. The second misconception is that a virtual assistant is a secretary. I’m sure some virtual assistants offer the services of a secretary, but that is also a specialist area.

What is a VA?

In a nutshell, we are assistants who work remotely for various clients not just based in our hometown of Wolverhampton or the county of the West Midlands but occasionally internationally too. The skillset of a good virtual assistant will be varied and diverse; this makes VAs invaluable to businesses. Often small businesses can struggle with the decision to take on permanent staff, and hiring someone on a full-time basis is a massive commitment and can also be expensive.

We find as virtual assistants we are a little bit magical – we pop on our cloak of invisibility, and we come in and with a whip of our wand (or a few taps of the keyboard) we’ve taken care of your work for you!

Just because you can’t see us doesn’t mean we’re not busy working for you. We know that if we don’t produce excellent work or fail to deliver what we promised to you, you probably won’t continue to work with us. Our reputation is really important to us, and we want to make sure all of our customers are happy with the work that we carry out for them.

So what is the cost for you?

The cost of hiring someone permanently can be broken down into the following expenses:

  • Their salary – this includes tax and national insurance contribution and paying into workplace pension schemes such as NEST or The People’s Pension
  • Maternity or paternity pay
  • Sick pay
  • Holiday pay
  • The cost of training
  • The equipment they need to use
  • The coffee they drink, the teabags they dunk, the toilet paper they… Well, let’s say no more!

When you break all these costs down, you can see how expensive employing someone can be. It’s a massive commitment for your business, especially if you only need someone to work during peak periods or on a few one-time projects.

Even hiring someone on a part-time basis, you are still committing to salary, potential maternity and paternity pay, sickness pay, holiday pay and again the cost of training and equipment remains the same as for a full-time staff member.

There is also the cost of your own time. How much value do you put on an hour of your time? When you are recruiting someone, you will have to invest several hours to create a job advertisement, review all of the CVs that come in, conduct telephone interviews to screen who you would like to meet in person to interview. Then you need to follow up with the letters to offer employment and also letters or emails to let non-successful applicants know they weren’t successful with their job application.

When I recruit for my business, I like to do it all myself because I know I am very particular about who I want. For me, I know that I am investing around about 2 to 3 hours per day for three weeks to complete this process. For the last role that I advertised, there were over 70 applications. I read every CV and letter that was submitted to me. I let everybody know if they were successful in their applications or not. I conducted approximately 15 telephone interviews, and I held three face-to-face interviews before I could make my decision. It is a massive commitment of time to you as a business owner. You have to be sure that you do indeed need someone to work for you permanently.

So if after all this you think maybe a permanent member of staff isn’t for you, but you do have work that needs covering perhaps a virtual assistant might be right up your alley.

We aren’t gymnasts, but virtual assistants can be very flexible

A good virtual assistant will be adaptable to fit the needs of your business, and you only pay for the hours you need us for and the task you need to outsource. If you need more hours one week, we can usually accommodate that.

If you want the security of knowing your VA will be available for set hours each week on an ongoing basis, you can agree on this in advance. We offer packages that means we are available to you every week until further notice.

What type of work can virtual assistance do?

We specialise in credit control, but we also offer general virtual assistant duties such as:

  • Admin support
  • Email management
  • Social media updates
  • Spreadsheet creation
  • Copy typing
  • Building databases
  • Data entry… the list does go on and on.

How do you choose the right virtual assistant for your business?

The most important part of this is to do your research and find a VA who has extensive experience in the services you require.

Reach out to the VA and arrange a consultation call so that you can see if you would be a good fit to work together. Some VAs only work set hours around their family commitments; other VAs will happily work from sunrise until sunset. If you need somebody available with very little notice at varying hours, then you need a VA who offers this with maximum flexibility (We’re back to being flexible gymnasts again!)

I love a consultation call with a potential new client. It’s a chance for me to see if I think we can work well together. I like to work for clients that I know I can bring real value to their business. We have different clients that we work with not only in the industries that they are in but in the way they like to work. We have some clients that are very hands-on and will send weekly reports for us to work our magic on, and they will give specific directions of how they would like the debts approaching. We have other clients that we speak to perhaps once or twice a year on the telephone and the rest is done by email or WhatsApp messages, where they send notes about particular concerns they have that they would like us to look into. We also have clients that we never hear from, they submit the work to us by email, or they upload documents to Dropbox, and they have us booked for set hours each week and, due to the fact we have worked with them for so long, they know that we can be trusted to do the best for them and their business.

So who do we work with?

Our Credit Control clients do vary; we have clients that book us for 10 hours a month and have between 12 and 20 debts to chase each week for them with a combined value of £20,000 on average. We also have clients who book us for 10 hours per week, and we have 150+ debts to recover over a month, and the debts can range from £45 to £250000 each.

No two customers are the same but what we do find is that everybody likes it when they see their cash flow improve! You certainly need to be switched on to outfox some tricky payers!

If you aren’t sure if you want to commit to one of our monthly bundles of hours why not consider trying us for three months so that you can see the difference we can make to your business in that time. The reason I say three months is because you need to allow some time for us to work on your customers expectations. They can get used to having to pay on time and know that this is expected of them and that we can hopefully train them to be a little bit more prompt with their payments. It also means we have time to see if there are common trends as to why some customers don’t pay on time, and it may be that you can implement small changes from your side of things perhaps when raising invoices so that your customer has everything they need to be able to pay you on time.

It could be that ABC Ltd regularly pays late because they are unable to approve your invoice for payment as it is missing a purchase order number. It may turn out that whenever they place an order, their email quotes a seven-digit reference number and if you pop that onto their invoice you’ll be paid on time. That’s what we’re here to do; it’s not just to ring around and ask for money (we do that too!). It is to find out what steps can be put in place to make things better going forwards.

If you would like a consultation call to see if we can improve your cash flow, please click HERE. We are based near Wolverhampton in the West Midlands and have customers in local areas such as Birmingham and Stratford Upon Avon but also in Bradford and Glasgow. Wherever you are, we can help improve your cash flow, reduce your aged debt and put a smile on your bank balance!


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