A virtual assistant can offer a lot to a business, but there are many things to consider before hiring. Virtual assistants can help with almost any type of essential, but time-consuming job. For example, database management, business reports, internet research, personal correspondence, gift sending, meeting planning, email maintenance, editing, social media maintenance, newsletters, banking and travel arrangements. Hiring a virtual assistant in the UK has its own advantages. Here are five examples:

• Same language. Many overseas virtual assistants might be comfortable in using English as a second language but sometimes there are words or phrases that can misinterpreted which can cause a communication gap that can be frustrating and time-consuming.

• Better internet and phone service. In certain countries communication services do not work properly or as fast which can cause delays in the work of a virtual assistant and ultimately result in the loss of clients.

• No time differences. Times zones can be a plus or a negative, depending on how you look at it. Hiring someone locally reduces the confusion over time zones and needing to wait until the next day for clarification or task fixes. Being able to communicate within the same time zone can be more beneficial to both parties of a virtual working relationship. It can also be beneficial to work in opposite time zones, as you can delegate your tasks at the end of your day and wake up the following day, with the work completed. Just keep in mind, sometimes you will want that Skype call with your virtual staff, to clarify or delegate.

• Better knowledge of the culture. Culture is crucial in most small businesses. Overseas VAs lack of familiarity of the culture can pose a problem when running a small business. Local knowledge is another important factor specially when dealing with travel arrangements and scheduling.

• Less security concerns. Data and privacy breaches, scam operations and intellectual property vulnerability are all potential security concerns when considering overseas VAs. Laws vary significantly from country to country.

There are several pros and cons to hiring overseas vs UK virtual assistants. It’s important to know what these are when evaluating options. Business owners must look at both the advantages and disadvantages and decide if hiring a virtual assistant from abroad will make the most sense for their business. Consider both the time as well as the investment before making your decision.