What Does a Virtual Assistant Do and Why Do You Need One? 0

Posted On November 3, 2022, by Admin

A rising tide lifts all boats

-John F. Kennedy

As a business grows, so do the responsibilities and workload of its employees. Situations arise whereby the CEO and the existing in-house team cannot handle all the tasks that keep the business running smoothly. However, hiring new, full-time in-house staff might also not be an option. So, what are companies to do under such circumstances?

The solution lies in virtual assistants. Virtual assistants have become increasingly popular within the global business world, especially after the pandemic dispelled many misconceptions about remote work. Stay tuned if you like to learn what virtual assistants do and why you might need one. This article will cover all the details.

What Is a Virtual Assistant?

Virtual assistants (VA) are employees/contractors who provide administrative support and services to you and your business from a remote location. They usually work as independent contractors, part-time or full-time remote workers, and they’ve been hired by companies from various industries.

VAs tend to handle the work of an executive assistant. They’re usually in charge of scheduling, email correspondence, customer services, bookkeeping, and more. Their exact job description depends on the company that hires them.

The term virtual assistant may seem novel, but this title has been around for a while. It merely hasn’t been as popular because most of the business world perceived remote work as ineffective. The pandemic changed that perception forever. There’s now a growing demand for VAs worldwide. The Business Wire even estimated that the market for these employees will reach $25.6 billion by 2025.

What Does a Virtual Assistant Do?

As mentioned, the virtual assistant’s position doesn’t come with a fixed list of tasks and duties. What these employees do heavily depends on the company they work for and the arrangement they’ve made with it. Nevertheless, there are a few obligations these professionals typically undertake:

  • Administrative work — Most companies primarily hire VAs to handle administrative work. They organize schedules and calendars, oversee deadlines, update spreadsheets, book travel, answer phones, and so on. They also often handle data entry, proofreading, report creation, discarding documents, and other similar tasks.
  • Bookkeeping — As the core of most businesses is effective financial management, virtual assistants also handle bookkeeping. They track expenses, make purchases, record transactions, invoice and bill clients, and manage many other budget-related responsibilities.
  • Customer service — VAs are also often responsible for troubleshooting and feedback. They answer clients’ questions and concerns about the company’s products, services, or contractual terms and refer them to another staff member. On top of that, VAs might handle email correspondence, sort through messages, draft memos, and so on.
  • Content management — Businesses also employ VAs to help with various marketing and content management tasks. These remote workers might manage production calendars, keep creative resources organized, maintain a posting schedule, communicate with followers, analyze social media accounts data, and more.
  • Personal assistance — Virtual assistants are also tasked with helping people in leadership positions in the company with their day-to-day duties. They cover a range of tasks, from calendar organization, reservations, and flight booking to task assistance, work-related research, and problem-solving.

Do I Need a Virtual Assistant?

Many CEOs, business owners, and managers assume they don’t need virtual assistants. They believe they wouldn’t have enough work for a VA, even if they worked part-time. However, that’s usually a result of them never assessing the amount of work they handle daily.

Plenty of tasks we perform regularly seem trivial and easy — they don’t take more than five minutes to complete. Nevertheless, if you added all those tasks together, you’d realize how much time they take out of your work day.

The best way to determine whether you need a virtual assistant is to track all the work you do over a fixed time interval. For instance, you can document the tasks you handle over the course of a month. At the end of that timeframe, sort those tasks into categories according to their nature. You might group them into an administrative, reporting, customer service, and marketing tasks category.

Look through the categories in more detail and think about the ones you could outsource with a small amount of training. Once you’ve made the decision, you’ll be able to use them to write a job posting for a VA with a list of responsibilities.

If you’re worried about finding a VA with the skills and knowledge to fulfill all these tasks, you’re not alone. This is a common concern, and it’s not baseless. However, the pros of hiring a VA outweigh the cons in this situation.

You’ll most likely have to spend some time with your new employee(s), train them, and help them adapt to your business practices. Nevertheless, this process shouldn’t be too long or complex if you create a good plan and recruit the right person. You should see the benefits they’ve brought to your business in no time.

What to Look For in a VA?

There’s no formula for finding VAs that can guarantee you’ll secure the perfect person for this position in your company. However, all virtual assistants should have a few fundamentally important qualities to do their job effectively and efficiently. For your convenience, we’ve listed them below. Have a look:

  • Good communication skills — Virtual assistants are remote workers, so it’s crucial they’re good communicators. They need to be skilled at articulating problems, ideas, and solutions properly in both written and oral forms. This is the only way they can assist their employer and manage their responsibilities.
  • Systematicity — Most of VA’s work will require these workers to be good at multitasking. This quality isn’t something you can learn or gain by training, so make sure your VA already has it when you hire them. The person you hire must be a good planner, reliable, responsible, and efficient at what they do.
  • Resourcefulness — A significant portion of VA’s job will be facing problems they haven’t encountered before and coming up with the best possible solution in the shortest amount of time. They have to be able to deal with issues on their own effectively. However, they must also be able to determine when they need help and ask for it without hesitation or fear.
  • Detail-orientedness — Your VA will most likely be in charge of overseeing various business processes. They’ll have to ensure they’re running smoothly and double-check for errors or deviations from the protocol. To do so well, they need to be detail-oriented and meticulous. So, this is another important quality you should take into consideration.


Virtual assistants are in high demand for a reason. These employees/contractors can ease the burden on you and your team, help streamline your business, and save you a ton of time. If you’re interested in finding one for your company, it’s the perfect time to start. Screen your candidates thoroughly, spend some time training and upscaling the chosen one, and you’ll reap the rewards soon.

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This blog is not meant to provide specific advice or opinions regarding the topic(s)  discussed above. Should you have a question about your specific situation, please discuss it with your GBA advisor.

GBA LLP is a full-service accounting firm in the Greater Toronto Area, but we primarily service all of Ontario as well as the rest of Canada virtually, except Quebec. Our team of over 30, provides Audits and Reviews of financial statements, and Compilations of  financial information, as well as corporate tax returns.  We provide specialized corporate tax and succession planning for small and medium businesses, in addition to general advisory services.

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