I got an email from Cathy, who owns a brick-and-mortar accounting firm. She wants to hire an Online Filipino Specialist, but she doesn’t know how it would work for her. So she sent me a bunch of questions.

I’m sharing them here in case you have the same questions, you might find these answers helpful.

1. I am looking for an income tax preparer. I would like to know if they have access to dual monitors. If not, is there a possibility I could set them up with a system? 
– Many OFS have multi-display setup, you can add it to your list of requirements in your job post.

What would that look like? How much would it cost in the Philippines? – While it is not that expensive (as low as $145), especially if they purchase a 2nd hand display (around $45), this still falls under my “do not pre-pay your new OFS”

2. When it is slow and not a lot of tax returns to do, like currently, what other tasks could I have them do? 
– You can have them help market your business for you, like writing blog posts, generating leads or handling your social media.

3. I do need help cleaning up my Inbox. Is that something I would ask a tax preparer/accountant to do for me? Or is that beneath them? 
– It depends on the personality of the worker you hire. Most of my OFS don’t mind it when I ask them to do small tasks for me. That’s why we have a DISC personality test at Onlinejobs.ph, and I ask a lot of email questions when I hire someone. I prefer to hire specialists who also don’t mind doing small tasks for me when I ask them to.

4. I don’t think I would have enough work for them to do full-time. I’m struggling to come up with tasks that would be in their best areas of work. Any suggestions? 
– Focus on tasks you know how to do and teach. This will help you get stuff off your plate immediately and give you control over the quality of work they produce.

5. How long does it take to actually hire a VA from start to finish? 
– Not long. With my One VA Away Challenge, it shouldn’t take more than a few hours from start to finish.

6. In the first video I watched in the members section you talked about giving them their ‘first task’. I’m a bit confused. Do I give them a task before I hire them? 
– No, you give them a task AFTER you hire them. I think the confusing bit you are referring to is the test task. It’s one of the things you can do during the hiring process to check if they really have the skills you are looking for. When giving a test task, I often advise business owners to make it a paid test task if the task takes longer than an hour to complete.

With a tax preparer, would I have them do a simple tax return? 
– Yes, that can be a good first task for a tax preparer.

7. What type of time difference is there between Eastern time and their time? 
– Philippine time is 12 hours ahead. 9am your time would be 9pm for them, same day.

Do you have a different answer or other questions you think Cathy might have missed about hiring an OFS for accounting? Let me know!


PS. When I read this email from Cathy I was overwhelmed.  “Oh man…like 7 questions I’m going to have to type answers to…” sigh…
Then I saw the draft response my OFS wrote.  What you just read is that draft response.  I didn’t change it.
Can an OFS help manage your email?  Yes.

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