‘Virtual’ by definition, is something that is ‘almost or nearly as described’ or ‘not physically existing as such but made to appear so using software and systems.’
Some could interpret the term “Virtual Consultant” then, as someone who is almost, but not quite, real. A service provided by computers, artificial intelligence and systems. Not to be relied upon or trusted due to the perceived lack of humanity in the mix.
Those terms and perceptions are somewhat out of date given the evolution of business and technology in recent years. Take ‘Digital Nomad’ for example. It’s simply someone running their business 100% remotely from their laptop, enabling them location freedom to travel.
This is how you pivot a business model to make it work for your lifestyle goals 🙂
Those of us, I say ‘Us’ as I am also a Virtual Consultant, who choose a remote, or cloud based business model, do so in order to be flexible in our working arrangements. Going virtual also allows us to reach and help a much wider network of businesses in addition to being able to work from home when required (think Covid19 self isolation requirements).
With the exception of a physical presence in your place of business, the services really do not differ from traditional on-site consulting services like accounting and bookkeeping.
Providing Virtual Services enable us more Time Freedom, Location Freedom and the ability to help those outside our geographic location aka, more people.
The fact that we operate Virtual Businesses does not diminish our skills or abilities as professionals – we’ve simply found a more efficient way to do it and are evolving with industry change and advancements in technology.
So how does the Work get done?
We leverage the power of the internet and technology. Cloud systems allow us to structure our workday around family and lifestyle commitments and also enables us to work autonomously to meet your deadlines – I personally love to hit my inbox at about 6am as it enables me to take a few hours off in the middle of the day to engage in some exercise and refresh my mind before the afternoon session.
Systems such as Skype & Zoom allow us to hold ‘virtual’ face to face meetings with our clients in real time; the benefit of which being neither party needs to travel for the meeting and all data is available on the PC’s we’re using for sharing of information if needed.
Cloud accounting software such as Xero allows us to access our clients files from any of our devices that has an internet connection. We use apps to collect your source documents, store relevant data and lodge your Compliance work. We don’t use physical filing cabinets and don’t print off reports or documents for analysis unless requested to do so – saving paper and printer toner in a bid to do our part in helping the environment.
Engaging a Virtual Consultant can be really beneficial for a business because of the flexibility and cost savings associated with the arrangement. We do not require an office or stationary or a parking bay, nor are we entitled to any employee benefits as we’re contractors, and maintain our own liability insurances and registrations.
A business is also able to source and engage a consultant that suits both their business and personal values and is a good fit for their team, as opposed to running with someone who is available geographically – this opens up opportunities in engaging a practice with a pool of talent that otherwise would not have been accessible by traditional means – providing more value and support for the business.
So before you dismiss a consultant purely because they provide virtual services, take the time to consider if they would perhaps be of benefit to your business. If you would like to have a chat about how the arrangement could work for you, please don’t hesitate to Get in Touch!