Our recent ‘Time to EleVAte’ Survey highlighted a few worrying statistics about UK and European VA Businesses, particularly when it came to important insurance cover and registration with legislative bodies. The survey results showed that 31.17% of VAs surveyed are not registered with the Information Commissioners Office – a major issue given that the majority of administrative roles involve the processing of some personal data and therefore many freelancers should be registered with the ICO in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.
7.79% of ‘Time to EleVAte’ Survey respondents advised that they didn’t have a contract for clients, 42.97% advised that they didn’t have a contract for Associates, and 12.84% didn’t have a confidentiality agreement. In addition to this, 20.78% of those surveyed didn’t carry Professional Indemnity Insurance, and 75.32% of respondents are not registered with HMRC for Anti-Money Laundering (though not all Virtual Assistant Businesses require this particular cover unless they are involved in Book-keeping activities).
Here at VIP VA, these aren’t ‘optional extras’ for a business owner; contracts and insurance, etc. are a fundamental part of a business, and should be considered a necessity by anyone setting up any business, not just a Virtual Assistance business.
Not every customer or associate relationship goes to plan every time, despite your best intentions and efforts. Sometimes, customers have unrealistic expectations or experience a major issue whilst you are working for them (for example, a data loss when you are working with their CRM, or the loss of valuable documents entrusted to you).
Alternatively, an associate may be unable to produce work by the given deadline, or could try going to your customer in person to ‘cut out the middle man’. Without agreements and contracts in place to identify key responsibilities and establish professional boundaries, or without professional indemnity insurance to cover compensation claims and legal fees that could occur if a client suffers a financial or professional loss due to negligence in your work, you are putting yourself and your business at risk.
The world isn’t all sunshine and flowers, unfortunately, so preparation for all eventualities, good and bad, is really important for any business owner who wants to build a successful and long lasting business.
Protect yourself, and your business, by investing in the essentials now, if you haven’t already. And though it is an area that is still being finalised, it’s worth adding GDPR compliance to the list now too! From May 2018, people who handle and process personal data won’t just have to comply to the Data Protection Regulations, but to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations.
For more information, visit the Information Commissioners Website here: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/
Invest in yourself and your VA business, and make sure that you and your clients are appropriately protected in 2018 – it’s such an important step to take, and really helps to set you apart as a responsible and professional business owner.
You can get all your legal templates and contracts for your VA business below: