What is a VA / Virtual Assistant and what do they do?

May 21, 2024
Reading Time: 4 mins

Written by Charley VAW

We have all heard business execs talking about their PA’s and their VA’s but what is a VA and how does it compare to a PA?

A Virtual Assistant, commonly known as a VA for short, is an independent contractor who provides administrative services to clients while operating remotely outside the client’s office. A VA will ordinarily work from a home office and will have access to the necessary documents, emails, shared calendars, required software etc.

London Virtual Assistant sitting in an office wearing a white jacket and with a laptop. Next to her is a women in a blue jacket and they are discussing what is a VA

Reports suggest that you can save as much as 78% in operating costs

So what is a VA? And what exactly does that role involve:

A UK VA role will include a variety of services such as:

  • Email and Diary Management.
  • Travel planning.
  • Meetings – from prepping agendas to minuting in person or from a recording.
  • Newsletters/ copywriting
  • Social Media
  • Cold calling
  • Expenses
  • Quotes
  • CRM management
  • Event Coordination and Management
  • Photo and PodCast editing
  • Inputting and implementing documented procedures and streamlining processes
  • Prepping presentations
  • Research and stats preparation
  • Cloud-based filing and storage

Your VA is your on-hand assistant to make your working life easier and enabling more efficiency within your business. You can view our VA services here.

We now know VA is so let’s look at how this compares to using an in-house PA.

There are many benefits to using a VA –

  • Ultimately, they can save you both time and money.  Some reports suggest that you can save as much as 78% in operating costs, as you only pay for the VA’s productivity. You won’t have to pay recruitment costs, PAYE, holiday or sickness, coffee breaks or downtime. Using a VA gives you a reduced long-term commitment and as a result, less risk.
  • You can gain access to a broader range of skills and expertise - VAs come from all walks of life and have many skills and experience. This means you can find a VA with the expertise to help you with specific tasks, even if you don’t have the time or skills to do them yourself. (At VA Whiz our USP is to match you with your perfect VA depending on industry knowledge and skill set.)
  • Increase your productivity and focus allowing you to free up your time to focus on the more strategic aspects of your business. In turn, this will lead to increased productivity and indeed success.
  • Improve your work/life balance – by not getting bogged down with the monotonous admin and tasks that would inevitably eat into your evenings and weekends, meaning you can spend more quality time doing the things you love.
  • Scale your business - As your business grows, keeping up with the workload can be difficult. Hiring a VA can help you scale your business more efficiently by taking on some of the additional tasks. This can allow you to grow your business without hiring new employees, saving you money. 
  • Flexibility - Virtual assistants provide flexible support on an as-needed basis, adapting to the changing needs of small businesses.
  • Weekly/ Monthly Reporting – VA’s use timesheets to track their time giving you complete visibility of how long each task has taken and ensures that you can prioritise workload and budget in the future.
  • You can learn best practices - Virtual assistants tend to come with loads of experience and support multiple businesses on a daily basis. This gives them a unique insight into the best industry practices. Administration and PA support needs to be done correctly and efficiently. Getting the right virtual assistant will mean that you and your business is on top of its admin game! They can even help you document processes helping you streamline your business to save even more time and money!

Is it more cost effective to use a Virtual Assistant?

It is often more cost effective to use a Virtual Assistant rather than employing a PAYE member of staff as you only pay for their productive time. At VA Whiz our PA services start at £35 per hour (plus VAT) and after an hour’s usage, we then bill in 15 minute increments. Our transparency of service is shown with a detailed timesheet included with the client’s monthly invoice.

Using a UK Virtual Assistant vs abroad

Some people can find VA services a lot cheaper if they choose a VA based abroad in e.g. Philippines.  Whilst we are not discrediting such services, it has been proven that some of clients who have used their services have realised that by swapping to us in the UK there are greater benefits and you certainly get what you pay for. Language barriers are not an issue, we pride ourselves on being cyber secure and our skillset and experience are second to none.    

Why our clients choose to work with us

VA Whiz are based just outside London, but we have VA’s UK wide who cover clients not only in the UK and Europe but also globally. We work across different time zones where needed, specialising in personal assistance and business administration. We have a variety of different individuals on our team from high calibre C- Suite executives working for global corporates to multi-skilled personal assistants looking after SME’s.

With our remote professional support, we can service any size business, in any location and in any industry. We are adept at leveraging technology in order to collaborate efficiently and effectively with our clients.

3 virtual assistants sitting in front of a large window with the London Skyline behind them. The women are wearing blue, orange a white clothes to support their brand colour from Virtual Assistant Whiz

Follow us on Social Media https://www.linkedin.com/company/virtual-assistant-whiz for more great tips, advice, anecdotes and information about what we do well.

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