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Hiring a Virtual Assistant is one of the best investments you can make in your business, and for yourself.

Delegate tasks to your Virtual Assistant which you struggle to tick off your list. You’ll soon find the decision fatigue subside, leaving you with space in your brain to think, and to grow.

Note: for the purposes of this article, I will be using the terms ‘bookkeeper’ and ‘virtual assistant’ interchangeably, as a bookkeeper is a specialised area of being a virtual assistant (a boarder term).  My agency uses the term ‘virtual assistant’ for the team, however all my team carry out bookkeeping tasks as core to their role.

For many business owners, doing the books at the end of a long day is just that one task too many. When you’ve spent the day working with your customers, fulfilling orders, managing a team and the tasks they need to accomplish, you can experience decision overwhelm. Our brains are only equipped to handle a finite number of decisions every day. Pushing that over sustained periods of time is called decision fatigue (Pignatielle, G.,Martin, R., Hickman, R. 2018), which research links to burnout (Woods, M., Feller, E. 2020) . If all that energy and decision-making brainpower is spent on managing the daily business, what happens when it comes to making admin decisions in the back office? Where does the energy for long-term planning and strategizing come in?

All of this has implications for the financial side of your business. At the end of a long day, after dinner and the kids are in bed, where do you want to be spending the last of your energy?  The reality is many business owners don’t want to be sitting down at a computer entering bills.  Balancing end of month statements, figuring out which suppliers need to be paid, and which customers you need to follow up with outstanding payments is actually a lot of mental work.  This part of your business deserves as much attention as the rest of your business.  However, usually this is the task which gets kicked down the bottom of the pile. That is, until it becomes crunch time – IRD are charging you fees because your GST isn’t in, or you accountant is chasing you for End of Financial Year.

This only adds to the stress you already feel as a business owner, and it’s stress which you don’t need to carry. There are solutions.

Anyone Can Do Administration, But Should They?

Bookkeeper - Zesty Virtual Assistants

Administration of a business is often considered “something everyone can do”.  To a certain extent, yes this is true.  You, as a business owner, can do all the administrative work, or you can ask a family member to do it, which is what many people do (Xero White Paper, pg 3).  Perhaps you ask your teenager to come into work through the week after school to carry out the basic stuff.  However, the key with getting your business humming is consistency (Tolhopf, N. 2020).  If your financial admin isn’t carried out consistently, then you find yourself chasing, chasing, chasing. Always being behind and always not quite knowing where you’re at. 

In the same way which you can complete your GST and End of Financial Year returns, most business owners outsource this to an experienced accountant and do so without question.  The benefits of doing so often far out way what you will pay them to carry this out.  I’m not only talking about the money you pay your accountant; I’m also talking about the time and energy you would spend on figuring everything out – another thing to add to the list of all the things to learn and tasks to accomplish in your business.  

An accountant’s work is valued by society. We know how much time and energy they spend on learning their trade at university and how much their experience benefits our businesses. Therefore, it is not a silly suggestion when someone says, “Oh you should get an accountant”.

In the opposite, a virtual assistants’ work is not always valued the same. Society sees it as work that anyone can do because the majority of it is learned through experience, though there are many private courses out there teaching these skills.  Because the role is not as specialised as an accountants’, it is not always valued the same way. Many people do not even realise there is a professional institute, recognised by IRD which a bookkeeper can be part of. The Institute of Certified New Zealand Bookkeepers (ICNZB) lends a huge amount of professionalism and constancy across the sector, so much so that bookkeepers and virtual assistants alike are becoming more and more recognised and valued across the business community.

How A Virtual Assistant Adds Value To Your Business.

So where does a Bookkeeper, or in our case a Virtual Assistant with bookkeeping skill set, sit within your company? Where do they add value?

calculator oldschool books opt

Bookkeepers carry out the daily and monthly financial administrative tasks which you would need to keep up with yourself. For example, daily reconciliation and following up with anything that looks out of the ordinary, such as payments from customers which are overdue.  For the majority of business owners, the daily financial admin is the first and easiest task to take off the list.  This is the task that is the “easiest to do” however also requires concentration and if the business is not on an automated system (e.g still manual or in excel) then this can go wrong.

In the case of a Virtual Assistant who also carries out other administrative work, they may be able to carry out many other tasks which a business needs; for example, create or work on your website, create a social media plan and execute it, amend HR documents such as contracts, and other such tasks.  All of this depends on the skills and speciality of the contractor you take on.

As bookkeepers specialise in this type of work, a huge benefit is the work can be completed faster.  We all know through repetition comes speed, and this is true of our role too.  What may take you 10 hours in a week to complete may take us less.  One of my favourite examples is of one of my first clients who ran a childcare centre across two neighbouring properties.  There was a lot to track and trace through budgets, payroll and regular bills and expenses which needed to be manually paid. When we talked during sign up, the owner estimated we would need to spend approximately 80 hours a month working on the role, and she wanted to be notified if we ever went over 20 hours per week. The only time we came close to 20 hours in a week when I was working with the head teachers to implement a new system to speed up the payroll process (which was very manual at the time) – not once did I go over the 20-hour budget. My average chargeable hours were 9 hours per week.  I had sped up the system so much the owner was now spending less on me as a contractor than she was with the internal administrative staff she had previously had in the position; a monetary saving of over 12.5%! This became an ongoing saving too, as the changes were fundamental to automating the system. Not only was the saving in manual labour, errors in the execution were also reduced, saving time going back and fixing mistakes.

One of the biggest benefits of having someone supporting you in your back-office administration is you have someone else to bounce ideas off. If you are hiring a contractor, then they are an external person who knows how your business runs.  They can help you with strategies and support you with finding the path forward for your business.  People who work exclusively in these roles are called OBM’s or Online Business Managers, and I personally have found much of my work with clients’ morphs into planning and strategy of an OBM nature. However, I also find clients need to know the basics are taken care of before they have the space in their brain to start planning. As I said earlier, if your brainpower is taken up with making the daily decisions, you have no energy left for long term strategizing.

How A Bookkeeper Works Alongside Your Accountant.

A bookkeeper’s role is to work alongside your accountant, not to overstep where an accountant supports your business. Again, as there is variety in the skillset which is carried out by a bookkeeper or a virtual assistant, where one task ends and another start may also vary on your chosen hires’ experience. However, for my agency and team, the responsibility of finalising the GST and the End of Financial Year lies with the accountant, and we will work on all the tasks up to this point. The reason for this is partly liability, however mostly so your accountant has opportunities to pick up any errors and fix then before it’s too late, and also inform us of the error so it can be fixed ongoing.

I enjoy working with accountants.  I personally have been partially trained on bookkeeping by my own accountant and his team when my husband and I ran a retail shop.  My accountant was only an email or a phone call away whenever I had a question.  Without my accountant and his team, I would never have had the courage to create a Virtual Assistant agency.

Think Of Hiring A Virtual Assistant As An Investment, Not An Expense.

Being a business owner is incredibly stressful. You are juggling so many different balls in the air; customer service, negotiation with suppliers, meeting deadlines, staying up to date with the latest government regulations, managing a team, delegating daily tasks. We haven’t even touched on the long-term planning for your business yet.  Decision overwhelm is very real symptom of burnout.


Whether you’re an electrician or a builder, a physiotherapist or a holistic healer, a midwife or a social worker, there was a reason you chose your profession; because you have knowledge, expertise and a passion for what you do.  I bet you didn’t start your own business because you wanted to learn Xero or research the best system to use to set up your company emails.

Your valuable time should be focused on the core of what you enjoy doing; the reason you got into business in the first place. Yes, it’s important you understand how the financial side of your business works, however in my experience it’s equally important you delegate this out to someone with experience who can prioritise the work. If the task is falling to the bottom of your to-do list, then it is not being given the attention it needs. Without that attention, other areas will struggle; the jigsaw puzzle that is your business will be missing key pieces.

This is why is important to think of a virtual assistant as an investment over an ongoing expense. The time, energy and brainpower we save you through delegation means you are able to focus on other areas of your business, or your life. You could pick up another client or increase your sales. Or perhaps it means you’re able to spend the weekend with your family over being in front of a computer entering data.  Maybe you are able to take some time off in the Summer holidays knowing that even though the End of Financial Year just is just months away, it’s going to be okay.

Growing a business is rather similar to having a baby; you treasure it and nurture it and support it to grow. At some stage your baby is going to need input from other sources to help it along to the next stages. Your baby needs to be with someone you can trust; that’s where a virtual assistant can step in and support you, freeing up your time and energy so you can focus on what your business needs to grow.


ICNZB: Code of Ethics

Tolhopf, N. 2020. Allergic to Perfect. BookPrint

Pignatielle, G.,Martin, R., Hickman, R. 2018. Decision fatigue: A conceptual analysis. Journal of Health Psychology

Woods, M., Feller, E., 2020, Is “burnout” a dangerous, misleading label? Rhode Island Medical Journal.

Xero White Paper, How Accounting Technology De-stresses Finances.