A Virtual Assistant – abbreviated to VA also called a virtual office assistant is an entrepreneur who provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients from a home office.
Because Virtual Assistants are Independent Contractors rather than employees, clients are not responsible for any employee-related taxes, insurance or benefits. Clients also avoid the logistical problem of providing extra office space, equipment or supplies.
They usually work for other small businesses, brokers and consultancy groups. It is estimated that there are as few as 5,000-8,000 or as many as 35,000 Virtual Assistants worldwide; the profession is growing.
Common modes of communication and data delivery include the Internet, e-mail and phone call conferences, and online work spaces. Professionals in this business work on a contractual basis and a long-lasting cooperation is standard. Typically five years of administrative experience in an office is expected at such positions as executive assistant, office manager/supervisor, or information technology.