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The growing trend of Virtual Service Providers

Companies of all sizes and stages are increasingly looking to Virtual Service Providers (VSPs) to help them fill gaps in their business operations. In some instances, it might be to fill a gap, without the need to hire a new permanent employee. In other cases, businesses turn to VSPs to support their existing teams with overflow tasks, simple execution tasks and projects, or to provide strategic support for an existing junior team. VSPs can fill a gap permanently, or for a short term period, such as maternity cover.

Our recent webinar, hosted by a panel of experts working in virtual services, discussed the growing trend and how it can help professional services firms save on cash, time and resources. In New Zealand and Australia, it’s clear that VSPs are here to stay, particularly in the shaky economic environment we find ourselves in at the moment, post-global pandemic. Panellists drew on their experiences across virtual Cash Flow Management, Marketing, HR and IT:

  • Dave Birch – Group Managing Director, smartAR
  • Jon Holmes – National Managing Partner (Private Enterprise), KPMG
  • Jason Ennor – CEO, MyHR
  • Greg Sharp – Managing Director, Base2
  • Fran Bellingham – Founder & Director, Virtual Marketers

Virtual Service Providers are experts

Virtual Service Providers (VSPs) deliver added value through leveraged knowledge and insights that a business wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Just one of the reasons our panellists believed more professional services firms were engaging with VSPs.

It can be difficult to keep across changing regulations, new developments and new technology in some core business areas. Many businesses choose to outsource some of these core tasks to VSPs, so they don’t need to allocate time and overhead to keep across a rapidly changing stream of work. A great example of this is the HR sector. If you don’t have someone senior enough and dedicated to keeping across legislation, preparing key HR documents and contracts can become a headache. Our panel agreed that outsourcing some of these key ‘expert’ tasks was a more cost effective way of delivering this function to a business.

Maintaining business confidence with Virtual Service Providers

With challenging economic conditions ahead, you need to adopt a growth mindset, and confidence within your business. Our panellists explained that professional services firms now understand that Virtual Service Providers (VSPs) don’t just deliver simple tasks no one else wants to do, but can also be used to help you navigate strategic decision making in their particular knowledge area.

If you’re a business with a freeze on permanent hires, how do you overcome replacing or appointing a new Director of IT, or Chief Marketing Officer? By working with a VSP, you can access specialist senior level expertise to support business growth and change. In this sense, a VSP can be seen as a ‘partner’ for your business, and in some cases, even a trusted member of your senior leadership team.

The relationship doesn’t need to be full-time. VSPs will work with your team on a part-time or contract basis, or as your project or situation needs them to be involved. The ‘on-call’ component of this relationship can mean that you “pay as you go” to get the information you need for your business, which can be helpful for business cash flow in challenging economic conditions.

Virtual Service Providers can improve your customer service

Virtual Service Providers (VSPs) are a way to improve your customer service, through great technology. Our panellists truly believe that using a VSP can pay dividends in terms of customer service delivery. By freeing your team up from tasks they’re not expert in, and allowing them to focus on your customers can really make a difference – to your customers and your bottom line.

A good example of this is debtor management or ledger management. Why would you ask your receptionist or a senior partner to chase up an unpaid invoice? With no experience in debtor management, a phone conversation or email chain can quickly become uncomfortable for both parties. Instead, engaging the services of an experienced Virtual Ledger Manager, has better results, and allows your team to get on with doing what they do best – doing great work for your clients.

Technology is the other part of the puzzle that can really support better customer service. The use of website chatbots and 24/7 IT call centres are all VSP services that can help your core team focus on more strategic IT projects and solving more complex customer enquiries more quickly.

Companies are also finding value in moving from traditional resource heavy processes, to automated, paperless digital solutions. We love the example of online payment pages, which give professional services firms multiple ways of paying securely online from their own website. Not only helping firms to achieve more “predictive cash flow” by taking control of when their clients pay while ensuring that the payment process itself is a simple and positive payment experience.

Nowadays, professional Virtual Service Providers are taking advantage of high speed internet and a groundswell of support and acceptance for the ability to conduct business remotely – from home offices and using video conference technology. 2020 has seen a growing shift in acceptance of remote working for professional services, particularly with the global pandemic necessitating many to work from home.

But it’s not just the ease of being able to employ a VSP into your business. Importantly, a VSP can save cash, time and resources.

Keen to manage your business operations better and streamline your processes? And more cost efficiently? See what our Group Managing Director, Dave Birch had to say during our webinar:

Wanting to improve your business cashflow? Check out our Virtual Ledger Management service and other solutions for improving your business cash flow.