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In a Nutshell: BELAY is a virtual staffing company that offers the services of virtual assistants, bookkeepers, social media managers, and website specialists. Remote work is in high demand these days, and BELAY has positioned itself as a successful service and valuable advocate. In recognition as a leader in providing flexible bookkeeping solutions to small businesses, CardRates.Com has bestowed BELAY with our Editor’s Choice™ Award.
Having an innovative product or service is just one of many factors that help determine success for companies looking to gain a competitive edge. In the technology age, businesses must consider all forms of outreach, such as social media and website management, and financial obligations, like bookkeeping.
Gone are the days when a business owner could simply offer consumers goods and services and earn all the potential profits. To compete in the current economy and stay up to date with regulatory expectations, successful businesses must be able to adapt on many levels.
Understandably, this is no easy task and many employers can’t afford to hire in-house staff for every position they need.
To alleviate these issues, BELAY provides virtual support with Virtual Assistants, Bookkeepers, Social Media Managers, and Website Specialists, and many other problem-solving solutions. By matching companies with devoted virtual staff who can take on vital projects, BELAY is able to help employers focus on growing their businesses.
The company was started in December 2010 by the husband-and-wife team of Bryan and Shannon Miles. The couple was working in Atlanta when they hired an out-of-office assistant who operated from Charlotte. Over time, the Mileses realized this approach could work on a larger scale by disrupting the fractional staffing industry with highly vetted virtual staffing solutions. That original assistant, Tricia Sciortino, just so happens to be the current CEO of BELAY.
The company focuses specifically on U.S. businesses and only hires U.S.-based employees.
“Since the company got started right in the middle of a recession, our founders really knew that there were people within their own neighborhood and within their own community that needed work,” said Lisa Zeeveld, CFO of BELAY.
“Even though there was more margin in hiring offshore, the fact of the matter is they wanted to help their community,” said Zeeveld. “And so that’s really why we wanted to focus initially on only employing those folks who were in the U.S. because there was an untapped market.”
Zeeveld says the company receives thousands of résumés every month. And with such a large talent pool, BELAY only partners with the best to pair clients with virtual staff through a careful matching process.
Remote Support Enhances Business Agility
Over the last nearly 12 years, BELAY has scaled its output of services, giving clients more flexibility and options. And then the pandemic occurred.
With the outbreak of COVID-19, the entire world economy was disrupted, and, in the aftermath, many companies struggled to adapt to working remotely. Such circumstances presented BELAY with a prime opportunity to branch out as a leading force in remote staffing.
“We really advanced as the expert in the space and talked to a lot of organizations, and actually some government organizations, who were just like ‘You guys have done this. How do we do it?’” said Zeeveld.
During the pandemic’s initial shutdown, many organizations were in shock and after sending employees home, the workforce was unprepared for working remotely.
“They didn’t know that you needed discipline, that you needed to be curious, that you needed to be tech savvy, because when you’re in an office, some of that stuff can be hidden pretty easily,” said Zeeveld. “We found that there were administrative staff who were sent home to work, but they didn’t have the skill set to do it. And so we were really able to fill that gap.”
There were also businesses that were thriving during the shutdown but needed more staff who could operate remotely. “That’s what we do really well, as we vet people to join our team who have that experience or who have those soft skills that we know will do a great job in those roles,” said Zeeveld.
Virtual Support Tailored to Client Needs
The company’s main services focus on providing businesses with virtual assistants, bookkeepers, social media managers and website specialists. And BELAY does not target any specific verticals or industries as the company believes it can serve just about anybody.
Zeeveld mentioned that the bulk of interest does come from the virtual assistant side simply because “virtual assistant” can mean a lot of different things to different clients.
“You could have somebody who is a vice president of sales, and he needs a sales assistant. And so we’re going to be able to match him with somebody who’s gifted in sales, able to do proposals and get out agreements,” said Zeeveld.
One of the common pitfalls that entrepreneurs get themselves into is thinking they can do their own books. But as their business grows, they realize that there’s a lot of complexity to it – especially when tax season comes around.
So sometimes, instead of looking for full-time support, business owners only need someone who can assist them with the task at hand.
“I think that the future of a business is really looking at opportunities or positions within your organization that can be filled in a fractional capacity,” said Zeeveld.
“Do you really need somebody to sit in your office or to be on payroll for 40 hours a week? Or can you take those same dollars and divide them up in ways that would help your business grow faster, and you’re not having to worry about keeping them busy?”
One feature that makes BELAY different from similar services is that it has an account management layer.
The account manager makes routine check-in calls to the client to see how everything is going with the virtual contractor.
“It’s that constant communication with the client and the contractor because we know that relationships are what can make or break a deal,” said Zeeveld.
Ensuring Security Through Advanced Vetting
As far as security measures are concerned, BELAY maintains that its procedures are top of the line. The company says there is actually less risk through its service because BELAY does all of the fact-checking and the pre-employment vetting that a small- to medium-sized business wouldn’t normally do itself.
Business owners sometimes get friends or family to help with their finances, which is far riskier. BELAY vets job applicants for security and soft skills to make sure clients are safe.
BELAY also leverages the built-in security features in many of the technology tools it uses, such as QuickBooks, in addition to the oversight of the company’s internal controls team.
“We’re making sure that the information that’s coming to us is in the most secure fashion, and the information that’s being sent to the client as well,” said Zeeveld.
Zeeveld mentioned that having the right financial people on your side makes all the difference.
“You doing your books is probably not the best thing because you’re probably an expert at whatever services or products that you’re trying to sell, but the one thing that makes or breaks any organization is to have your finances in check,” said Zeeveld.