Bookkeeping Services and Virtual Assistants - Use them to gain competitive advantage
By: Maxim Liberty
Dr. Duncan gets in his office and checks his email for a status update from his bookkeeper Kathy. An email from Kathy has an attached statement generated using QuickBooks which includes invoices waiting for Dr. Duncan’s approval and hours to be billed to his clients for services. Dr. Duncan contacts Kathy over instant messenger and tells her to (a) pay the invoices, and (b) send bills for services clients. Kathy immediately acknowledges and goes on to pay off invoices using Dr. Duncan's online Bill Pay system. She then emails and faxes bills for services provided to clients.
Who exactly is Kathy and where is she located? Kathy is a virtual assistant – virtual bookkeeper to be specific - working from India for Maxim Liberty, Inc. which provides online bookkeeping services for various clients in the USA. As Ms. Prabhukumar, President of Maxim Liberty, Inc. remarked, “We are our client’s best kept secret. Every firm has tasks that can be handled via virtual assistants. And, if these tasks can be done better than on-site bookkeepers at a fraction of the cost, the explosive growth of our bookkeeping services shouldn’t be surprise. Since our virtual assistants work with various businesses and specialize on a specific process or task such as bookkeeping or word processing, they can draw upon best practices of operating a small business.”
Online virtual assistant and bookkeeping services are an outsourcing strategy that can be used to gain competitive advantage. As a result, they have shot to prominence and firms of various sizes are utilizing them. The recession has made businesses more prudent about how they spend their operating budgets making virtual assistants a hot commodity.
Hot coffee on your desk can be a challenge but a virtual assistant can do just about everything else an on-site assistant can do. Many a times, even with a full-time on-site assistant, the work load can get too much to handle. The on-site assistant can, at that point, off-load work to a Virtual Assistant who can act as an overflow buffer.
Small businesses can find it cumbersome to train and retain an assistant or bookkeeper. The effective hourly pay rate for the assistant gets quite high especially if the assistant has to be paid for vacations, health care, sick time and bench time. As a result, having more than one assistant is really a luxury that a small business may not be able to afford.
Small business owners may attempt to do everything on their own. However, it may not make good business sense to do so because their time could be better spent focusing on their core competency and developing the business. It would be more efficient to delegate the operational grind to online services which consists of specialists such as bookkeepers, paralegals and administrative assistants. With technology paving the way, even very small firms can hire virtual assistants and bookkeeping services as a cost saving and more efficient alternative to a jack-of-all-trades in-house assistant. That is, if you don’t need coffee brought to your desk as well!