Among the varying types of virtual assistant software are word processing programs, time tracking programs and bookkeeping software. Other types include those that support business communication efforts, such as email and instant messaging. Virtual assistant software may also include more specialized programs, such as those used to access real estate listings, court documents or credit reports.
In order to provide supportive technical assistance, virtual assistant software simplifies certain processes that can be performed using a computer, such as scheduling appointments and monitoring incoming telephone messages. Technology like this is used by independent contractors supplying remote assistance to small, medium and large businesses. Software is often purchased by a virtual assistant working from a home office or may be given to the assistant by a client or employer, especially if the virtual assistant software needed is used for a specialized business niche.
One of the most basic types of virtual assistant software is a word processing program. Such makes it possible for a virtual office assistant to prepare business correspondence and spreadsheets to share with business owners and clients. In addition to this basic business staple, those providing administrative assistance commonly use email programs and instant messaging to communicate with clients and their customers, when necessary. Some communication software even utilizes avatar technology to simulate in-person conversations.
Most virtual assistants provide a variety of services ranging from simple document preparation to bookkeeping assistance and client communication. As services are provided by remote assistance, it is important that virtual assistant software is accurate and kept up to date. In instances where software must be used by the client as well as an assistant, it is important that both are using the same type of software or, at the very least, software that is compatible with other computing systems.
Those providing creative assistance may also use desktop publishing software. With this, a virtual office assistant is able to prepare brochures, visual presentations and newsletters, as well as a variety of other helpful business tools. A busy entrepreneur will often hire a virtual assistant to specifically handle these activities, particularly when pressed for time or when lacking the skills to operate such software.
Virtual assistant software that keeps track of time spent on administrative and supportive tasks are important, particularly for assistants who have several different clients or who are paid per hour or per task. Some software programs allow clients to remotely monitor an assistant’s working hours, as well. In these cases, virtual assistant software that provides time tracking must be installed on a client’s computer, as well as on an assistant’s computer. Some software may even allow a client to see what a virtual assistant is working on while she or he is devoting time to a particular task.