Many IFAs are finding that working with a Virtual Assistant is an excellent way to grow their business.  By delegating those admin tasks that are a vital to the business but take up valuable time, IFAs are finding they can either spend more time building their business or with their families. 

With confidentiality and compliance such a key part of IFA administration, a healthy relationship with a Virtual Assistant must be based on respect and trust. Your VA should be regarded as a valuable part of your team – wherever they are located.  

Here are some of the areas to focus on when building a good relationship with your Virtual Assistant.

Good Communication

You may be looking for a VA with specific skills to enhance your business. For example, you may be specifically looking for someone with a financial services background or a bookkeeper. You may want someone to write blogs, run your social media and update your websites. You may want someone to manage your diary and make appointments. It is fine to have a team of VAs doing these tasks, but be clear what you require at the outset.

Whatever skill you require you will need to agree the best ways to communicate: email, text, phone, skype etc and the best times to make contact. Your VA will normally suggest scheduling a weekly catch up so that you can discuss the current workloads and ‘fight the fire’ before the fire starts so to speak.

Respect 

A VA is often a business owner in their own right. Your VA will have experience in setting up systems and streamlining work. They will be able to offer you advice on how to improve your workflow. The working relationship is not that of employer/employee but more a partnership. 

Trust

You obviously need to trust your VA, which is why word of mouth recommendations is one of the best ways to find the right VA for you. You will be giving them access to your login details, your client database and other confidential business information. You should check that your VA is insured and covered by data protection regulations. You will also need some sort of agreement in place.

You also need to trust your VA to do the work to a standard and on time without continually checking the work is done. Trust their expertise.

Expectations

When you start working with a VA you need to work together to ensure your expectations are met.

You need to let the VA know of any requirements your company has – this maybe around branding, the font you use in your documents, the way you answer the phone and the timescales each task needs to be completed in. You will also want to discuss whether the VA will be doing your work every day or working on your tasks on specific days.

Training

You may have systems that require some training. This is particularly true in financial services if a company has its own CRM system or uses specific software. VAs use many different online systems and will pick it up quickly, but the chances are that your company will have a special way of doing things, even if it is just how to name documents for online filing.

Consider what you would train staff in if you were employing them and train your VA in the same way. 

If you work through all these steps with your Virtual Assistant, you should build a valuable relationship with someone who can really support your business as it grows.

Author:Nikki Coverdale