Frequently I see new and experienced VAs seeking advice at the forums for things that probably should be obtained elsewhere. In particular, advice that needs to be sought from Accountants – the VA’s accountant. And if they don’t have one, they better do something about that very quickly.
Discussions regarding the type of business to set up (i.e. sole proprietor, partnership, LLC, bonding, etc), whether or not to register for an ABN (Australian Business Number), GST or other service taxes relating to their country, whether to lease or to purchase equipment and how much tax should be put away.
Whilst it’s good to learn about what others might have done, it’s important to remember that every VA’s financial setup and circumstance is different to everyone else and only their Accountant will be suitably qualified to make comment and advise how the VA should be doing things that affect their financial position.
This can also relate to working out what rate is right for you. Some forums will discuss this subject and others won’t because of concerns about being seen as ‘price fixing’. Putting that aside it is well to remember that there are VAs from many, many countries on the forums and what might be a good or reasonable rate for a VA in one country (or region of a country) can be too low or too high for a VA in another country. Best to look at what’s reasonable in that particular country or region first and go from there.
Discussing the ‘tools of the trade’, i.e. software, computer equipment, printers, phones, faxes and so on are all ideal to discuss and seek advice about at the forums, as is how to work with clients and or handle a different job or situation. But when it comes to financial and legal aspects, these are better referred to suitably qualified persons who are in a position to know what’s right for you.