All members are entitled to apply for Accreditation as an online operator. Length of membership is not dependent on the application, as long as they are a current financial member. This does not mean, however, that members have to apply for Accreditation – it does mean that only members can apply for this Accreditation. Approved Accreditation is dependent upon Recognised Prior Learning, continued professional development, experience in the industry and active participation within the industry. This means it is not based on an exam of what you’ve learnt out of a text book. ASO accreditation is based on real and active experience. For a list of current accredited and certified members click here .
Home-based office professionals in Australia are becoming increasingly popular. There are a number of networks establishing because of the Internet. One such network is The Internet Home Based Secretaries Network, operating under the umbrella of “A Clayton’s Secretary” (ACS). Members of this Network span over such countries as Australia, Argentina, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the USA. Spain, Malaysia and Mexico have indicated an interest, as has Germany, Finland, Hungary, Japan and Russia, so world-wide interest is strong. Over 30 countries regularly visit this website with some being prospective clients and others prospective members. Since July 1998 over $350,000 of work has been referred to members of this Network, through telephone and direct web contact.
Until 1999 there were only two other networks of this kind in the world – Home Secretarial Services (HSS) which was established in the 1980’s and on the Internet in 1996 and Global Association of Virtual Assistants (GAVA) established in 1997. Both these networks are based in Los Angeles. Established in January of 1999, International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA) introduced education and certification, and StaffCentrix has developed the EthicsCheck Exam for VAs. A number of other networks have also been started in the UK and USA, mostly during 1999 and 2000, although some a little earlier.
A points system will be used to promote accreditation whilst encouraging continued education and incorporating recognised prior learning (RPL) and experience. This would give all members of The Internet Home Based Secretaries Network the opportunity to become accredited making use of their experience and knowledge, and encouraging them to further education in their field.
To fulfil the educational mission of Accredited Secretaries Online (ASO), a system is being established in 2001 through which Internet operators – home-based secretaries and virtual assistants – may seek general Internet industry accreditation. Successful applicants will be known as “Accredited Secretaries Online” or ASO. It is open to all members of the industry regardless of the sector in which they work. For instance, accredited members could include administrators, personal assistants, home-based secretaries, and so on.
A standing committee of two professionals plus the Director of ‘A Clayton’s Secretary’, will oversee the application process to review and make recommendations for change, to receive applications and to conduct a peer review accreditation process. All applications will be treated in complete confidence.
ASO’s Education Mission
“To ensure that Accredited Secretaries Online has the competent workforce it needs to meet the expectations of its markets – namely clients via the Internet, both Australia and world-wide.”
Accreditation confers a particular status on the individual and provides recognition of the individual’s personal and professional achievements in the industry. The undertaking of a process of accreditation is the hallmark of the true professional.
Please note that the criteria set for assessing eligibility for ASO does not require that you have already achieved a Diploma or equivalent in Business, Secretarial Studies, etc. It is recognised that many operating online today may have completed their schooling many years ago and that they have years of experience behind them and have attended courses during their working life in order to keep their skills current.
Accredited Secretary Online.
ASO Accreditation is open to all Secretaries, PA’s, Executive Assistants, Home-Based Secretaries, Office Professionals and Administrators who conduct their business services via the Internet, either on a part-time or full-time basis and are financial members of ACS.
Applicants must be able to provide evidence that, in the five years immediately prior to their current application, they have been continuously and gainfully employed, or self-employed in the secretarial/administrative industry, although it is not necessary to have been operating via the Internet during all of that five year period.
The accreditation processes is voluntary and is undertaken as an independent professional peer review. The choice not to undertake accreditation should not imply a less worthy member. However, the recognition of the Accreditation process is something that now happens in the Accounting, Engineering, Conference, Hospitality and Speaking Industries through their professional associations, and it is generally recognised by the public that recipients of an Accreditation have developed and honed their skills to be assessed as competent professionals in their field.
Applications can be submitted at any time with the Admissions Board meeting quarterly to review applications. The period of accreditation is for five years, from the date of acceptance until June 30 or December 31, as the case may be. Members then need to submit an application for reaccredidation indicating their compliance with the ongoing education requirements.
An individual awarded the status of an accredited member shall be known as an Accredited Member, Office Professional or Accredited Secretary Online and shall be entitled to use the post-nominal ASO. To maintain accreditation, members must retain their membership with the Association that provides this accreditation. The reason for this is that the general public often feel safer to work with someone who is recognised as being a member of an organisation, as opposed to an individual of whom they know very little. This gives the public a feeling of safety and protection – they are welcome to report to the organisation at any time any fears or concerns they may have with respect to any accredited member. Without membership of the respective association, it is difficult to maintain knowledge of the recipient’s business operation and ethics. Reports will be assessed on a case-by-case situation.
Accreditation will not be automatic. Additional supporting documentation may be required before the process is completed. The ASO Admissions Board through the national office will communicate with the applicant should that be necessary. Subject to appeal, the ASO Admissions Board may also withhold accreditation.
The applicant must make appeals in writing. The Board may also revoke accreditation should any false declaration be made by the member and found to be in breach of the ASO Code of Ethics. The ASO may revoke accreditation should the member either resign from the association or become unfinancial.
ASO through ACS is committed to promoting its accreditation process and its accredited members through government bodies, bureaux, corporations, suppliers, general media and the industry at large. Such an approach enhances: –
1. Credibility – Recognition as a professional in the industry will attract the respect of suppliers and buyers.
2. Awareness – The wide promotion of ASO accreditation will identify the individual as an achiever.
3. Career Path – ASO accreditation lies with the individual and is therefore portable as and when the individual changes jobs within the industry. It should be recognised as a mark of professionalism by clients, employers and potential clients and employers.
4. Self-Esteem – A sense of achievement contributes to self-esteem, confidence, high standards and ethical practice.
5. Promotion – Status as an ASO will enhance promotional opportunities, which will help win business.
Information provided on the application form for Accreditation.
To complete the accreditation documentation applicants will need to provide two referees who are willing to provide a confidential reference. Referees must not be members of the ASO Admissions Board, employees of ASO, or the employer of employees of the applicant. Preference should be given to clients.
Download your Application form or they can be mailed upon request from the ASO secretariat. Applicants may submit their applications at any time. The ASO Admissions Board will meet regularly to review applications.
All application supporting documents and referee reports are handled with the strictest confidentiality.
Completed application forms, together with any supporting documentation, should be forwarded together with the application fee to the ASO Admissions board at the ASO national office.
There is a non-refundable application fee of $AUD75.00 charged to cover administration and processing expenses. This fee is set by the ASO Board and is reviewed on a regular basis.
ASO Admissions Board
ACS appoints the Board on an annual basis. The Board comprises independent industry professionals from the recruitment and micro business sectors. ACS thanks the Board personnel for their participation and assistance – and it is recognised that the involvement of Board Members outside the membership of ACS is an important part of ensuring a fair and equitable process in the approval of all accreditation applications.
The ASO admissions board will meet regularly to assess all applications and the applicants will be advised shortly afterwards.
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