The virtual asistant, your ally in business
Bonjour à tous et à toutes,
I’m glad you took a few minutes to read these articles, through which I want to bring new and relevant information to help you grow your business, manage it and save time.
The following lines will clarify your ideas about an activity that is relatevely new, unknown to most of us, especially entrepreneurs, who need help in managing the daily administration, billing and agenda planning, especially when working alone, you have many customers and you don’t have time or your business needs to be streamlined.
This job is that of a virtual asistant – independent secretary.
What is an independent secretary (virtual asistant)?
An independent secretary or virtual executive assistant is someone who, as their name suggests, is independent or freelance, an independent entrepreneur.
They are their own boss, manage their own program and income level, are autonomous and responsible for every mission they undertake.
The virtual assistant provides his / her administrative services, generally under the status of micro-entrepreneur (formerly independent), to companies wishing to delegate their administrative management. In short, this is a person who does the job of a secretary, but who is not an employee of the company. He or she works on his or her own and has several clients who are small businesses. The advantages are numerous : independence in the work schedule, negotiable remuneration, improvement of competencies, etc.
The missions of the secretary can be performed at the company’s headquarters or online, from home.
In pandemic conditions, this can be done especially remotely. Why ? because working from home benefits both parties.
Le Télésecrétariat was born in the 1980s. The medical secretariat was the first to switch to virtual secretariat. Doctors asked secretaries to make phone calls and make appointments from their home after a line transfer. Being in the service of several doctors, they quickly saw the profitability of such an organization.
The advent of the Internet and new information and communication technologies has accelerated the popularization of teleworking – including telecommuting. You do not need to be at the company headquarters to have access to information. The documents are sent mainly by e-mail, if necessary.
So take advantage of the internet, and reduce your costs.
Who are the independent virtual assistants ? Who does he/she work for ?
These virtual asitants are, of course, for a large majority ladies, only 2% of most courageous gentlemen resist. With a high school or vocational school training, or even more, rarely a beginner, several years of experience in companies taught them the tricks of the trade.
The secretariat being a vast field, some secretaries are specialized in the legal field, medical, insurance, industry … The thirst for independence without a doubt, but also the desire to diversify their tasks and fields of intervention led them to this choice to become an external service provider.
In addition, the télésecrétariat market is very dynamic and expanding.
It should be remembered that France alone has more than 2,488,000 VSEs (source DGI-INSEE-DCASPL 2006). 81% of them have between 0 and 3 employees. These small businesses do not necessarily have a sufficient workload to justify hiring an assistant or secretary, even part-time, or do not have the financial means. For the same reason, the freelancers and artisans do not hire a secretary.
Several solutions are available for these small businesses :
- to manage on their own “with the means at hand”,
- to hire an assistant,
- create a group of employers and “share” an assistant,
- or call an independent assistant.
Which option would suit you? Evaluate your company’s needs, daily tasks and what you can delegate.
In fact, how does this happen?
An independent secretary often works from home. He/she can travel and work in the company office, if necessary. The services are subject to an initial offer in the case of single operations. Regularly entrusted tasks are often the subject of an agreement signed between the two parties. The hourly rate varies on average between 25 and 30 euros. Some tasks are fixed. Services range from classic secretarial services (letter writing, billing, dashboard, transcription, mailing, creating Word, Excel, Powerpoint documents, etc.) to more technical skills (e-mailing, mastering tools such as Publisher, Illustrator, Framemaker, Access, etc.), not to mention telemarketing, which is in high demand.
Even if proximity is a privileged factor, a virtual assistant can have clients anywhere in the world. They all have their own website detailing their services, working with their own licensed computer material.
The independent secretary is bound to their clients by a service contract. The formalization of this contract may involve the signing of a quote, an order form and the validation of the general conditions of services. As an external service provider, the independent secretary is responsible for various assignments.
✍ What are the duties of an independent secretary ?
An independent secretary performs tasks related to the administrative management of a traditional business. He / she carries out the same administrative tasks that a salaried secretary could perform as an assistant manager ; whose employment is not possible due to too little workload or too high costs. Their duties range from taking on simple administrative tasks : managing letters, parcels, submitting documents, télésecrétariat, data entry, to classic administrative tasks such as procurement management, invoicing, debt collection, accounting management or additional support in human resources management. He / she can also respond to other needs expressed by the business manager and then can fulfill the role of a real executive assistant.
The advantages of using a virtual assistant
- The company does not have the workload to warrant hiring an employee, not even on a part-time basis. A telesecretary can intervene for occasional or regular tasks.
- Except in specific cases, there is no long-term commitment : if an agreement has been signed, its purpose is to have a written record of the tasks entrusted and the price of the services. The company or the secretary can terminate the “partnership” very quickly.
- Using an independent secretary is a clear financial advantage, compared to the cost of hiring even a fixed- term employee. There are no payroll taxes, no vacation to pay, no training to finance, etc.
- The company saves in material investments : office, computer, printer, telephone. This means lower operating costs.
- An ecology note : those who work from home make fewer trips and produce less CO². If it is necessary to use a courier to present urgent cases, other ecological solutions are developed, such as bicycle courier companies.
- Availability : on request and with an increase in the hourly rate, they are often ready to work in case of emergency even after hours and on weekends.
Obstacles to independent télésecretariat
- Confidentiality and trust : a company is reluctant to provide access to confidential documents to external service providers. The fact of not being part of the same company, of not being on the same premises as the “client company” can be perceived as a drawback. We need to establish a relationship of trust. Confidentiality agreements can be established.
- Similarly, when a telesecretary works regularly with a client, he/she keeps track of their hours, and this can bother the client company because they cannot control the secretary’s actual hours. Trust is essential here as well.
- A line manager can request their assistant to temporarily put aside what they currently work on in order to give priority to an urgent task. But this is more difficult to do with an external service provider who decides the urgency based on all their customers’ needs.
- Relationships with a telesecretary are more distant than with an assistant in the office next door. Some employers prefer a “classic” relationship.
Whether you prefer a classic relationship with your assistant, or a long-distance one, professionalism and integrity are the guiding words for a secretary. Your time is also their time, your success is also theirs. A partnership developed and based on trust is the foundation of a successful business.
Listed below are some of the most trusted duties in a secretary’s activity.
General Accounting ;
Control Billing ;
Monitoring and management of pay slips ;
Assistance with debt collection;
Setting the rules or managing the inventory ;
HELP for accounting records;
Use of office tools;
Use of accounting management software.
Intervention structures :
Accounting company ;
Small business ;
Real estate agency.
Traditional secretarial tasks;
Collection of usual parts according to the procedure;
Document control before filing and archiving the file;
Preparation of expense reports;
Following the procedural calendar of the cabinet’s affairs;
Organizing the cabinet agenda;
Following the formalities related to the intervention of the bailiff;
Establishment of legal files;
Drafting payment documents and legal documents.
Public administrations and local authorities;
Private companies (litigation services, debt collection);
Receiving, orienting the interlocutors: patients, agents, users;
Scheduling, program support;
Organizing activities, meetings, trips;
Understanding and using medical vocabulary;
Computer skills ;
Management of administrative and medical files;
Information processing and drafting of administrative documents;
Monitoring current accounts;
Management of stocks of products and materials, arrangement of spaces;
Participation in project development.
Radiology and medical imaging offices;
Medical analysis laboratories;
Medical and social structures, associations, rehabilitation centers, PMI, EHPAD;
Offices of groups of several specialists: gynecologists, obstetricians, cardiologists, ophthalmologists, dermatologists, cosmetic surgeons, phlebologists, angiologists, allergists, rheumatologists, ENT specialists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, dentists, dental surgeons, etc.
What business activities would you like to outsource ?
Adrem Consultant is totally at your disposal with personalized services, costs and solutions adaptable to your needs. Trust and confidentiality are the foundations of our partnership.