Virtual assistants emerging as new BPO service

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    A business process outsourcing, virtual assistance, is being promoted as a new service that the Philippines can serve.

    An online event organized by the Philippine Trade and Investment Centers (PTIC), embassy and consulates general of the Philippines in the United States discussed how hiring a good and reliable virtual assistants (VAs) can help companies manage their day-to-day operations more efficiently and effectively.

    PITC said finding suitable local talents at the right price is sometimes difficult, and this is where the Philippines offer great opportunities with its available talents, strong affinity with western culture and English proficiency, among others.

    Wayne Findlay, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of The BackRoom Ltd. cited the high level of English proficiency, reduced cost, and culture that creates a superior workforce as some of the reasons why he chose to locate his firm in the Philippines.

    Virtual assistants can provide support in the following areas: administration (e.g. email management, travel, schedule management, recruitment), sales and marketing (e.g. customer relationship management, communication, digital, social media, lead generation), and finance (e.g. payroll, taxes, processing, distributing and managing invoices, bank reconciliations).

    Wayne suggested “hiring virtual assistants to help free up the time of executives to pursue higher value work.”

    Leo Gestetner, co-founder and CEO of CitronWorks recommended the use of online collaborative tools (i.e. Basecamp for project management, Tickspot for time tracking, Zoom for meetings, and Calendly for scheduling) to help companies better manage remote teams.

    The Back Room Ltd. is an offshoring company that offers virtual assistants in the field of accounting, administration, legal, sales and marketing services. CitronWorks, meanwhile, is a freelance marketplace that operates an employee subscription model and a concierge model: under the first arrangement, companies pay fixed fees to access its freelance marketplace and under the latter, businesses pay the company a placement fee to hire their VAs.

    A total of 86 participants joined the webinar from various states in the US and from the Philippines. — Irma Isip