We know taking a leap of faith with a new service provider can be a little scary. That’s why we’ve answered a few of the most common questions about our virtual assistant services here.
Frequently asked questions
1. What makes Smartstaff different from other VA services?
Our main focus is the reduction of your costs and the growth of your business. We achieve this by providing you access to a large virtual team with a wide range of skill sets. This means you can use the hours included in your retention package to complete almost any office tasks. Your appointed virtual assistant is our employee, we don’t use any contractors or part timers. This ensures consistently good service and minimal disruption for you. Our staff (your VA’s) work together in a centralized office, so they can bounce ideas around and continually improve our processes to deliver optimum results for your business. Our biggest competitive advantage is the flexible usage of hours and value for money. You only pay for what you use, can scale up or dial back hours as you see fit. Absolutely no wastage, great hourly rates and zero overheads or additional expenses.
2. Where are your Virtual Assistants located?
We are a 100% NZ owned company with an offshore team based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. This unique model allows us to offer you the best virtual assistant rates in the country. Sri Lankans are highly educated and capable, and are a super friendly and playful bunch. Contrary to many common beliefs and opinions, this offshore business model helps reduce operating costs for NZ businesses. This means they can afford to employ more NZ based staff to perform important core business tasks which we would never be able to do remotely, and we take care of the rest.We see this as a win/win for NZ businesses, their NZ based staff and our amazing offshore team.
3. Do you provide immediate turnaround?
Once you’ve selected your ideal retainer package and work has commenced, we’ll bend over backwards to get what you need done, when you want it done. In saying that, we generally work with you in a similar way you would engage with your lawyer or accountant. We need time to get things right for you, so having realistic time frames for tasks or projects generally yields better results. We can discuss what’s working and what isn’t during our monthly catch up.
4. Will I always work with the same Virtual Assistant?
Yes, you are assigned one dedicated main Virtual assistant. In saying that, Smartstaff offers a full suite of business support services, and so it’s unrealistic to expect one person to be able to perform all of your different requirements to a high level. Therefore at times we may assign specialist tasks to another VA with the right skill set for the task at hand. The time spent by the second VA will be recorded in our time keeping software. This means you’ll still be sent one simple monthly invoice as per usual.
5. Does your contract include a minimum number of hours?
No, we will never lock you in for any length of time. This is where we are different. Your hours roll over to the next month if not used and they never expire. You can also cancel at any time. We want you to continue to use our services based on our proven results, not because a piece of paper says so.
6. How do I communicate with my Virtual Assistant?
It’s completely up to you. Phone, email, message or pigeon mail, whatever works best for you.
7. Is it more cost effective to hire a VA rather than a full time employee
The short answer is yes. Our rates are significantly lower than our competitors, so it’s easier for us to keep your VA costs significantly lower when compared with hiring in house staff. Simply compare our hourly rates to that of a full time employee with a similar skill set. Then think about overheads like downtime, lunch breaks, holiday pay, maternity leave, kiwisaver, or even an unsuccessful placement which can cost tens of thousands.
8. How do I pay? Can I pay by credit card?
We accept bank transfers, Debit card and Credit card. Also we have ZIP for partial payments.
9. What happens when my Virtual Assistant is sick or on holiday?
We have established a contingency plan to ensure continuity of service in the event of an unexpected absence of a virtual assistant. This includes having a team of dedicated backup virtual assistants who are trained and ready to step in to take responsibilities at a moment’s notice.
10. Why should I outsource my bookkeeping and/or payroll?
It’s smart business practice to outsource tasks that you don’t like, aren’t good at, or simply shouldn’t be doing. Often, bookkeeping and payroll falls into this category. It’s difficult to stay compliant in these areas doing the work yourself or in house. It’s also expensive to have permanent staff complete this work compared with outsourcing. Using our virtual assistants, you’ll only be charged for the time required to complete the work, so you won't need to pay for any downtime, breaks or any other additional employee costs.
11. Don’t my accountants do bookkeeping?
Yes, some do, however a majority of accountants don’t like to do bookkeeping. Accountants firms are now pushing advisory and financial planning services more than anything else. Generally, you’ll also pay a higher hourly rate for your accountant to complete bookkeeping as they are quite frankly over qualified for this type of work. Specialist bookkeepers handle the transactional and administrative side of your financial recording. You can then present a nice clean set of books to your accountant at the end of the financial year. From there, they can prepare your end of year tax returns and also provide sound financial advice.
12. Do you only work with Xero?
While Xero is our preferred accounting software solution we can also work with MYOB.
13. How big does my business need to be to hire a bookkeeper?
In short, any size. If you're a small business your bookkeeping will take less than one day per week. If your organisation is larger it could take anywhere from 1-4 days per week. With Smartstaff you’ll only pay for the hours you need, without any additional overheads.
14. Do you come to my office to do my bookkeeping?
No, our team works remotely and so our business model doesn’t support physical visits. With accounting software being cloud based everything can be done from a computer. We cater to clients nationwide.
15. Can you help me set up Xero?
Yes! we’d be happy to help set up Xero for you and get you up and running. We can also convert you from another provider to Xero or provide you with Xero certified training so you can get the most out of this fantastic business tool.
16. How is Smartstaff different from other accountants?
Our VA’s are based in Sri Lanka, where becoming an accountant is a popular career choice. We understand NZ tax law very well as we’ve been working with NZ businesses for over 5 years. The lower cost of Sri Lankan labour allows us to significantly reduce your annual accounting costs.
17. Do you offer monthly accounting packages or charge by the hour for virtual accountants?
We charge by the hour for our virtual accountant services. It’s quite unbelievable but we are able to offer our qualified virtual accountants for as little as $35 per hour. This service is rolled out similarly to our admin, bookkeeping, marketing and real estate VA services with different retainer options.
18. Can my Virtual accountant offer financial advisory services?
No, your VA can complete any accounting related work including end of year tax filing, however if you need advisory services we will happily recommend an accounting practice with a proven track record who can offer those services to you. This hybrid option can reduce your overall accounting costs significantly.
19. Do you come to my office to do my Accounting?
Like our virtual bookkeeping services, our virtual accounting service is completed by our remote team. With all accounting software being cloud based there is no need for site visits. Everything can be done from a computer. We cater to clients New Zealand wide.
20. Why do I need a real estate virtual assistant?
Our real estate VA’s act as your right hand. The benefits of hiring one are endless. If the “just do it myself” strategy has left you time poor and stressed out, you need some help. A real estate VA can offer a variety of business services from lead generation, database management, paperwork to marketing and content creation. By delegating tasks and creating standard procedures for each of these, you’ll save time now and well into the future.
Let’s Get Started Today!
Please fill out your details and book an appointment with Riki-Lee, our Marketing Specialist. She is very friendly and always ready to share her knowledge with you, so feel free to ask anything.