Today, a Virtual Assistant can cross a broad span of services from transcriptions to accounting. There are also a variety of interpretations. Wikipedia offers this definition.
A virtual assistant (typically abbreviated to VA, also called a virtual office assistant) is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from a home office Because virtual assistants are independent contractors rather than employees, clients are not responsible for any employee-related taxes, insurance or benefits, except in the context that those indirect expenses are included in the VAs fees. Clients also avoid the logistical problem of providing extra office space, equipment or supplies. Clients pay for 100% productive work, and can work with Virtual Assistants, individually, or in multi-VA firms to meet their exact needs. Virtual Assistants usually work for other small businesses.
Common modes of communication and data delivery include the Internet, e-mail and phone call conferences, online work spaces, and fax machine. Professionals in this business work on a contractual basis and a long-lasting cooperation is standard. Typically 5 years of administrative experience in an office is expected at such positions as executive assistant, office manager/supervisor, secretary, legal assistant, paralegal, legal secretary, real estate assistant, information technology, et cetera.
In recent years Virtual Assistants have also worked their way into many mainstream businesses and with the advent of VOIP services such as Skype it has been possible to have a Virtual Assistant who can answer your phone remotely without the end user’s knowledge. This allows many businesses to add a personal touch in the form of a receptionist without the additional cost of hiring someone.
Virtual Assistants consists of individuals as well as companies who work remotely as an independent professional, providing a wide range of products and services both to businesses as well as consumers. The virtual industry has changed substantially as it attracts others new to the field.
Virtual Assistants come from a variety of business backgrounds, but most have several years experience earned in the “real” (non-virtual) business world.
You see Virtual Assistants own their own business, they work hard, their reputation and livelihood depend on it.
When a task is assigned we treat it as if we were in your office except we are virtually yours! Melanie