“So, you think you want a VA...”
By: Melanie Jocson
Throughout the industry (and even outside the financial advisory industry) there are more and more articles written about working with a Virtual Assistant. It sounds cool and sexy to be able to have someone do the work that you don't want to do. Who wouldn't want that? But, here are four things to consider before you start delving into the VA hemisphere.
* What do you want done? - The VA you want should be determined by the kind of work you want done. If you’re looking for someone to answer phones periodically, do some scheduling, and manage your calendar, you’ll want someone who’s done that before so you can probably pull a VA from any industry. If you want someone to understand industry standard RIA/Broker Dealer procedures, you should hire a VA who specializes in the finance industry. VPG does both! Typically, it’s included with the client service, and back office services we provide.
To figure out how to best use a VA, we ask advisors over the course of a week to list everything they do, especially the tasks they don't like doing (the ones they procrastinate on or never get around to). Review each item and determine if it’s something you can hand off to someone else.
* Do you have the right technology? - You need web based programs. We do work with a few advisors, who use RDPs, VPNs, or GoToMyPC (etc.) to log into physical computers remotely, but we find the most efficient and effective way of working is with web based programs.
You need a CRM! An advisors most important piece of software is their CRM. It’s the home for all client related data and the foundation of your firm.
* Do you plan ahead or wait until the last minute? - It’s really important to plan ahead. A VA most likely works with multiple firms and each firm has important tasks happening every day. If you’re prone to waiting until the last minute and an urgent task comes up that you want to hand off, keep in mind this hampers your VA’s ability to properly manage their day and take care of everything efficiently for everybody.
At VPG, we ask for as much time as possible to allow us to take care of tasks properly and accurately, as rushing can cause avoidable errors. In general, we have a 2 day turn around. Obviously, even with the best intentions and planning things still happen - a client calls requesting money urgently, a meeting gets rescheduled for tomorrow for your biggest client. These are things you couldn't help, so we do our best to accommodate these situations and get you what you need.
* Do you communicate well? – In the virtual world, over communication is better than vague, or no communication. We do things for a lot of firms and we have a process (multiple processes sometimes for the same types of tasks). If something we're doing doesn't work for you, please let us know and we can change our process to suit you. We're your partner. We care about building and maintaining a strong relationship with you and your firm. Use us as one of your primary resources, as we’re connected to many sectors of the industry. Our VPG team has a lot of diverse experience, since we work with different types of advisors all over the country. Some of us may be experts in Salesforce while another person is an expert in Redtail. Maybe you're considering moving from Salesforce to Redtail and would like more information?! These are all things we can help you with.
For more information about VPG services, please check out our Services page.