What are the key things you NEED to look for when you want to start working with a VA?  In her guest blog, VIP VA Member & GDPR Queen Sarah Banks of Banks Business Solutions shares her top tips to help you identify a professional VA that can help take your business to the next level…


“I have been a VA for nearly 5 years, and over that time I’ve seen some huge changes in the industry. When I started out very few people knew what a VA was and now every time someone mentions they are looking for a VA on social media they have hundreds of VAs offering them support.


This is fantastic for those of us who work as VAs, as not only does it mean more people know about us, but it also gives us a network of likeminded business owners to share the ups and downs of our journey with.


However, as with everything the growth of the industry has also meant that there are huge variations in standards and professionalism, which sadly at times results in clients not always getting the support they had hoped for.


So, how can you be sure the VA you are working with is a professional?


It is important to do your research and be really clear about the areas you need support with – not all VAs will have the same skills and you may need more than one to meet all of your requirements.


Once you know what you need, you want to be asking the right questions to ensure that your VA is setup correctly as a business owner:


1.     Are you a limited company or registered as self-employed with HMRC?

2.     Are you registered as a data controller with the ICO?

3.     Do you carry professional indemnity insurance?

4.     Do you carry cyber and data loss insurance?

5.     Will we have a data processing agreement in place to ensure compliance with GDPR?

6.     Do you have terms & conditions that clearly outline expectations for both of us?

7.     If your VA will be supporting you with financial administration or bookkeeping you need to confirm they are registered with HMRC for anti-money laundering (AML).

8.     Do you have any professional accreditations, e.g. VIPVA Accreditation?


Once you have the answers to these questions you will be able to identify the VAs who are professional and can have peace of mind that your business will be safe in their hands.


But what if my VA doesn’t have the skills I need?


Ensuring your VA has the skills you need is the next step, you need to discuss the systems you use and ask them what their experience is. A professional VA will be honest and let you know if they aren’t familiar with a specific system – you can then decide if you want to train them or discuss if they are willing to upskill to support you.


You should also ask for examples of work they have done for clients in a similar position, as well as reviews/testimonials – again professional VAs will have this information ready to share with you.


Finally, remember that VAs became business owners to have flexibility, make sure that their way of working fits in with what you need – not every VA is for every business owner and vice versa – getting the right fit for your needs may take time but once you have found a good VA you will never want to let them go!


If you want to find out more about how to work with a VA, or want to be connected with one of our accredited and pre-approved VA members, you can find out more HERE: