Whenever a small business owner decides that it is high time he or she selected a virtual assistant to help with day-to-day activities, this is a watershed moment. Now the entrepreneur can expect to be a lot more efficient, to get a lot more done and to be able to expand the business rather than treading water. It goes without saying therefore that it should be as straightforward as possible to do business with a virtual assistant, otherwise it somewhat negates the very point in the first place.
For example, when it comes to payment terms and conditions the client should ensure that this is handled in as streamlined a fashion as possible. It doesn’t really make a lot of sense for the somewhat archaic, traditional business systems to be engaged here. Surely the client does not want to have to deal with purchase orders, invoice processing, cheque systems and extra time behind the desk.
Thankfully developments in recent years have made it a whole lot easier to deal with online payments. The virtual assistant can set up an arrangement fairly easily either directly or through a third-party processor, to enable the client to pay by credit card without any undue hassle. Certainly an invoice still has to be raised, as everybody has to keep track of expenses and costs for tax purposes, but a lot of this process can be automated using highly efficient services online, in the cloud.
A competent and established virtual assistant organisation will undoubtedly have such a process in place. Indeed, the client should ensure this is so, as it will make it a whole lot easier to do business on an ongoing basis. Many virtual assistants understand that it is not necessary to go through the somewhat complicated and costly process of establishing a formal merchant account. Most take advantage of services such as PayPal or 2Checkout, organisations that have established a system to act as a third-party credit card processor in between the two entities.
Indeed, PayPal has risen to become by far the industry leader here and this organisation is trusted by tens of thousands of organisations around the world. In return for a percentage of the amount in question the third-party processor will deal with the negotiations and the credit card companies, lodging the net amount automatically to the VA account.
It is possible to set up standing orders for repeat payments on a monthly or even weekly basis. PayPal and others have intuitive interfaces enabling individual jobs to be generated very efficiently and payment links sent to the client, or “buy now” buttons displayed on a webpage.
While it is possible to use simple money transfer options such as Western Union or Moneybookers to transfer money between the client and the virtual assistant, this is not ideal and in truth is not intended for business transactions such as this. It is also possible to avoid fees associated with credit card transactions altogether by working with wire transfers between banks. However, depending on the systems in question this can take several days and can involve bank fees in any case, so should be considered only as a last resort.