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  • Writer's pictureKatey Read

So what's a Virtual Assistant anyway?

Updated: Mar 7, 2022

A question that nowadays the answer is more frequently known. Not necessarily within dentistry though which I discovered when I started up The Dental VA in 2010. People would ask, 'well what's a VA then?' and I would say 'a virtual assistant'. But what IS a virtual assistant?

According to Will Kenton on Investopedia, a virtual assistant is an independent contractor who provides administrative services to clients while operating outside of the client's office. A virtual assistant typically operates from a home office but can access the necessary planning documents, such as shared calendars, remotely. People employed as virtual assistants often have several years of experience as an administrative assistant or office manager.

How a Virtual Assistant Works

There has been a significant increase in the use of technology and the Internet for daily operations, over the years and because a virtual assistant is an independent contractor, a business does not have to provide the same benefits or pay the same taxes that it would for a full-time employee. Also, since the virtual assistant works offsite, there is no need for a desk or other workspace. A virtual assistant is expected to pay for and provide their own computer equipment, commonly used software programs, and high-speed Internet service, as well as to pay for their own indemnity insurance.

Virtual Assistant Duties The specific duties of a virtual assistant vary according to the needs of the client and the terms of the contract. Some virtual assistants handle clerical and bookkeeping tasks, while others may post regular updates to social media or write articles for a blog. Some VAs have their own niche, like The Dental VA does, providing only certain support in specific industries or services. A virtual assistant should be tech-savvy, having a wide range of computer skills and a high level of proficiency with commonly used software and business programs.

Benefits of a Virtual Assistant One advantage of hiring a virtual assistant is the flexibility to contract for just the services they need. Depending on the terms of the agreement, some virtual assistants may be paid by the task rather than by the hour. In contrast, employees in a traditional office setting usually must be paid for a fixed number of hours per day. For most businesses, including dental practices, hiring a virtual assistant can help free up valuable hours to focus on growing the business and generating revenue.


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