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What checks do you need to do before hiring a Virtual Assistant?

You’ve made that step and decided you need to hire a Virtual Assistant. You’ve put some feelers out and have been inundated with replies. So how do you decide which is the best VA for you and your business?

Apart from the legal checks and due diligence you should complete before hiring a VA the most important thing is to make sure you like them! Sounds simple doesn’t it but if you don’t take some initial time to stalk them…I mean to get to know them personally and professionally you may discover too late that you don’t get on. This would be a big waste of time, and completely the opposite to what hiring a VA should be about, saving time!

There are thousands if not millions of VAs out there, more than you could ever possibly imagine, so don’t settle, don’t work with a VA that you don’t know, like or get on with just because someone has recommended them to you through a networking group. Every VA has their own unique set of skills, experience and personality. If these are not a fit for you then don’t hire them. Spending time to find the right VA at the start will always pay off! Don’t rush it even if you are desperate for some help.

So back to those legal checks and due diligence, what are they? Well here are 10 essential checks you should do before you agree to start working with your perfect VA:

1. Check out their Terms & Conditions. They should be on their website and fully accessible. Their T&Cs should include how they charge with an indication of their rates (if this is not listed elsewhere on their website). Plus also how the VA will track their time and other conditions of working.

2. Check their client testimonials on their website, their Linkedin, Facebook and Google reviews. Are they good enough? Are they recent? Do they reflect the tasks and/or the type of person you want to work with?

3. Will the VA complete the work themselves or will they outsource to an Associate VA? Many do, which is not a problem as the lead VA will still be responsible for the service but if you are not keen on your tasks being outsourced then you need to clear about this at the outset.

4. Check if they are insured. You could even ask to see a copy of their Professional Indemnity Insurance or certainly their Public Liability Insurance if you need them to attend physical meetings at your premises.

5. If they are will be completing bookkeeping tasks for you, check that they are registered for Anti-Money Laundering supervision. There has been some ambiguity as to whether bookkeeping VAs need to be registered but if a VA completes financial tracking and accounting tasks for you then the advice is that they should be registered. A VA worth working with will know all this and be registered.

6. Are they an approved member of the Society of Virtual Assistants? Although not a statutory body, the SVA does have clear checks in place to ensure that the VAs listed on their Find a VA service adhere to the legal requirements. In fact, using the Find a VA service can save you a lot of time in your due diligence as they have done most of it for you.

7. Ensure you review and sign a legally binding contract or service agreement and that the tasks you want to be completed are included. Do take time to read the small print about confidentiality, non-solicitation, payment terms, late payments etc so you are clear about the basis of your professional relationship.

8. Ensure you review and sign a data processing agreement. This sets out who owns and controls the data that will be managed on your behalf when carrying out your tasks, an essential requirement under GDPR legislation. Which leads on to the next point.

9. Check they are fully registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Under the Data Protection (Charges and Information) Regulations 2018, individuals and organisations that process personal data need to pay a data protection fee to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) unless they are exempt. VAs will be processing personal data for you, so they should be registered. Ask for their registration number or you can search the public register here.

10. Finally, you should decide upfront your preferred method of communication – what works best for you? – email, phone, Whatsapp, video conferencing? Just make sure it’s a secure and confidential method especially when sharing passwords.

This seems like a look of hard work but it shouldn’t be. A VA worth investing in will have all the answers ready before you’ve even asked.

Just so you know, I am an approved member of the Society of Virtual Assistants, so with me, most of your due diligence is done! I’m also a pretty nice person to work with but don’t just take my word for it, read my testimonials here.

If you are interested in knowing more about working with me and the tasks I can take off your hands then get in touch – ann@thepaportal.co.uk or call me on 07399 618 527.