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The Virtual Assistant - A 21st Century Phenomena
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The Virtual Assistant  -  A 21st Century Phenomena

In the last decade we have seen an explosive growth in the demand for Virtual Assistants’ services.

What Is A VA?

A Virtual Assistant (VA) or a company that provides VA services is an independent contractor that offers professional services remotely. The VA’s role includes providing general administrative, secretarial, and specialized support services such as Sales & Marketing, Real Estate Assistance and Legal Services. The typical VA provider is a home-based business. However, nowadays, companies specialized in providing VA services, especially off shore companies from countries like the Philippines have gained in popularity because of their competitive rates due to their lower cost labor cost.

Popularity

Since the turn of the century and especially the last decade, the world has seen a boom in offshore outsourcing. The main reason for this offshore revolution the advancements in technology and lower costs of technology and reduced communication expenses. New technology and applications such as email, Skype, and mobile phones have made it possible for people to communicate easily and affordably. Money payment systems like Paypal and Moneybookers, have simplified the process of overseas payment. As a result of these developments, companies now have access to this large worldwide pool of VA contractors.

Key Benefits of hiring a VA

When should a company decide to contract a VA or hire internal staff?

The main reasons are:

1) When the job or task is repetitive or boring and it can be done easily be done another company or person.

2) When the company does not have the expertise in-house

3) If the same job can be done cheaply by somebody else provided the required task is not part of the company’s core competence.

Given the above criteria, the decision to hire a VA versus in-house employee is often in favor of the VA.

In addition the VA is hired on a contractual basis and therefore the employer is much more flexible. Here, the company does not need to maintain the payroll or comply with local labor laws, and workers union demands.

By now it should be evident that hiring a VA can provide a company considerable cost savings in terms of lower wages, lower capital investments such as office space, computers. Hiring a VA also guarantees greater flexibility in terms of hiring and managing its workforce.

What companies hire VAs?

The clients of VAs range from individual professionals such as lawyers, real estate agents and small businesses with low budgets, to large corporations seeking to cut down on non-core activities and reduce overheads.

The services of VA’s are not limited to any sector. However, certain areas seem to be in greater demand for VA’s than others. Areas that are becoming increasingly dependant on virtual assistance include the marketing, real estate and finance sectors.

The market for Virtual Assistance is growing. Currently, the United States is leading the pack followed by Australia and the United Kingdom. In the year 2011 a technology research firm, Gartner, predicted that by the end of 2013 at least 15% of the fortune 1000 companies will be using VAs.

It’s pretty obvious that VAs are here to stay. With the world moving towards being a global village and the price of technology and communication going down, it is expected that the VA is here to stay and more providers will opt for VA services.


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