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How to hire an assistant ( virtual ) ?

7:45 am on Jan 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I need some kind of assistant badly. I have never hired anyone and to trust some random out of country service with my account information is scary.

Things I need done:

1) pay bills - I give them a list of bills I need to pay and they pay them whatever amount is due that month, without me giving it one thought after telling them I have an account somewhere. Electricity, cell phone, cable, internet, server hosting, garbage, etc.

this will require trust because they'll have access to my checkbook. how do you find someone like this?

2) contact buffer - this person will be the main source of contact for things like my outsourced call center to the resolve problems or escalate them to me.

3) customer service -Possibly receive phone calls during business hours to resolve customer issues or escalate. Around 200 minutes per month.

4) concierge type services - ie, give a list of people i need gifts for, they send me ideas and prices and can have them purchased and delivered. this obviously would need a feminine touch although maybe not.

So basically how do I find someone or organization that can do this for me, that is trustworthy enough to give them access to my checkbook. Should I go virtual? Should I go traditional? I have an office, but would prefer to outsource.

I have way too much paperwork to handle bills any more, so that is really priority number one. Finding a trustworthy assistant service of some kind that can i trust to give my accounts and they will pay my bills and not steal my money.

Any tips? Is this what bookkeepers do? I have an office full of ladys who do my taxes, and they offer "Monthly Accounting and Bookkeeping." I'd rather them not actually go into my accounts, but just pay bills. I would ask them about this, but don't want to seem like an idiot. So maybe if bookkeeping is paying bills and making sure accounts are current, I would still need an assistant for the other tasks, and at least they would most likely not need my checking account information, but I'd still like to trust them. There are just too many things that come up when I google for virtual assistant to make any sort of sense of who the real firms are and who can be trusted.

8:39 am on Jan 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I would never give anyone access to my checkbook unless I had strict controls in place.

Rule number one is never, ever let just one person have control over it, it must be a two person operation with one person checking the other. Collusion between two people to defraud does happen but it is much less likely.

Rule number two is frequent audit checks, best of all by you.

Rule number three is never let them have access to any substantial amount. Set up a separate check account which has sufficient money transferred into it to just cover the bills. If they need more they ask you for it.

But best of all, why not simply use direct debits (or the US equivalent) to pay the majority of those bills?

7:06 am on Mar 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Besides the sound advices from nomis5 which I agree, here are some more tips:

Get an American Express CORPORATE Platinum card (or Gold). They can take some burden out of your tasks and pay bills on your behalf under a strict program and a written and very detailed monthly statements and follow-up.
They can certainly provide some links to personalized Concierge services. The membership fee of the card is worth to pay for.
And if your finances are top level you might even be invited to AMEX BLACK, with the highest perks and treats.

And if you have to choose among several candidates I suggest to select those under Capricorn or Virgo ;)
7:34 pm on Mar 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Virgo? They do have an eye for detail and are tidy and organized. But a Virgo may also be high maintenance, being critical, fickle & stubborn. Capricorn is a good choice. Or hire a Libran - they are diplomatic and live to please others.

>> I would ask them about this, but don't want to seem like an idiot.

Don't be silly. You are obviously not an idiot, there are just some facts you don't know. So ask. If you don't know what their services include, then they have not communicated with you adequately. Give them an opportunity to do that.
8:06 pm on Mar 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Electricity, cell phone, cable, internet, server hosting, garbage, etc.

I just set up my bills so that they get charged monthly to my cash back charge card. Why not make 1 - 2% cash back for paying your bills each month?

The ones that won't accept charge cards I just set up on auto pay from my online checking account.
6:58 am on Apr 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

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[virtualassistants.com...] is a group of US based VA's (no affiliation). If you want them to pay bills...I would open a side account that only has enough money for the bills you need paid. you can also find them on twitter. ask for references and then check them out. there is a national association of virtual assistants that can provide referrals as well. You get what you pay for in this scenario :)

[edited by: eelixduppy at 2:30 pm (utc) on Apr 26, 2010]
[edit reason] linked up url [/edit]