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What is a virtual secretary? 

Virtual secretary


There are millions of secretaries in the U.K. In 2020, according to, the average (median) pay for a secretary in the U.K. was approximately £25,000. Secretaries work across many industries and public sectors, including schools, hospitals and within legal offices.

The duties of a secretary vary quite significantly, especially across industries. For example, legal secretaries will usually have to learn how to use specific legal databases & software. They may even need to know how to write legal drafts and some paralegal duties.

Secretarial duties that tend to remain consistent across industries and sectors include:

  • Answering phone calls.
  • Taking messages.
  • Handling correspondence.
  • Managing appointments.
  • Members of staff.

A secretary may also be expected to manage a filing system or a database with client data and help directors and CEOs to organize workloads.


Virtual secretary services

With remote-working tried, tested and legitimised during the COVID-19 pandemic, distributed teams and outsourcing are becoming more common.

Outsourcing has many advantages, especially for smaller businesses that want to grow whilst mitigating financial risk. For example, with virtual secretaries, you are unlikely to be tied into a long contract, so if your business is seasonal or unpredictable in its growth, outsourcing can give you greater flexibility. There is also no need to invest in expensive office space or hardware. You don’t have to spend time recruiting, conducting face-to-face interviews or navigating confusing employment laws.

Virtual secretaries are often referred to as “virtual assistants”, with the terms used interchangeably. Whichever job title you use, a virtual secretary or assistant, is someone who works remotely, typically for a business owner or director. The business owner will generally correspond with the virtual freelancer online, providing a daily schedule of administrative tasks.

The term “virtual assistant” can cover many different job roles. It’s not unusual, for example, for business owners to outsource social media management to a virtual assistant. There are even virtual assistants who list graphic design as one of their skills. 

Typical virtual assistant services include:

  • Data entry
  • Email filtering
  • Email answering/replying
  • Schedule management
  • Repetitive tasks

Any repetitive tasks can also be handed over to virtual assistants. Virtual assistants may also have specialist skillsets but will often be in high demand, and therefore, they are likely to charge a higher hourly fee. For example, virtual assistants may help with graphic design or be experienced and proficient with PowerPoint and even Google Ads.


Virtual receptionists

Unlike an in-house secretary, it is rare for a virtual secretary or assistant to answer calls on behalf of a company or an employer. Many virtual assistants are hired from overseas, and there can be issues with time zone differences and, potentially, language barriers.

Hiring a virtual receptionist or a telephone answering service from a UK-based company can be a fantastic way to free up time, reduce stress and work more productively.

With the number of spam and scam calls increasing in recent years, having a business phone can feel like both a blessing and a curse. Whilst for many businesses, the phone provides high-quality sales leads and business opportunities, it can also be a source of constant interruptions.

Interruptions are a significant source of stress, and they can significantly impact productivity. 

For example, one study carried out at the University of California, Irvine – found that a single interruption takes, on average, 23 minutes and 15 seconds to recover from! So to gauge the amount of time a single interruption costs you, take the duration of the interruption and add 23 minutes to it. Over the day, it’s not unusual to lose hours to distractions and interruptions.

Not only do interruptions such as unwanted phone calls waste time, but research has also shown that they increase errors and heighten levels of anxiety.

With Moneypenny’s telephone answering service, you can quickly update your dedicated receptionist so that he or she knows when to take all calls and pass on a message. That way, you can focus on the work at hand without having to listen out for your phone all of the time. This additional focus can make you much more productive and also make your work more enjoyable.

As well as reducing interruptions, having a virtual receptionist is a great way to provide that next level of customer service and customer experience to your callers. When people call businesses, they rarely leave a voicemail message, and they often call a direct competitor instead. With a Moneypenny receptionist, you can make an excellent first impression and make your callers feel appreciated and important with a professional and polite greeting and conversation with a dedicated receptionist.


Why se Moneypenny’s virtual receptionist service?

With Moneypenny, unlike most other virtual receptionist service providers, you get a dedicated receptionist or your very own Moneypenny PA. Your PA will be matched to your business, based on their industry experience and knowledge, and will take calls exactly like a full-time in-house receptionist would, only at a fraction of the cost.

If you are a business owner, we understand how important creating a good impression on the phone is. That’s why we make sure that you have a Moneypenny PA who you would hire yourself if they came to your company for an interview. Once we have matched you and your business to a specific Moneypenny PA, you can get the chance to meet them on a welcome call. You can introduce your receptionist to your company and talk about how you would like calls to be dealt with.

It’s easy to keep in touch with your Moneypenny PA; you can chat on the phone, update your receptionist via email or use the Moneypenny app.


You can also opt for a 24/7 telephone answering service, with a small team of highly experienced receptionists handling your calls outside of regular office hours. With the number of people working shifts increasing, providing a 24/7 business phone line can help you to stand out from the competition. In addition, many people prefer to call businesses outside of office hours. For example, a working parent may choose to call a company in the evening, after the children are in bed. No matter the time of day, customers still prefer to speak to a person.

With Moneypenny, you also have the option to use a professional freephone number or a landline number – which, combined with the app, can effectively turn your mobile phone into a small business phone system.

Other reasons to use Moneypenny include:

– No lengthy contracts

– 7 Day Free Trial

– VIP Caller Options

– Calendar Integration

– A professional business number

– Online Portal & App

For more information, please visit our Telephone Answering Service page today.


We give you amazing people and technology:


Your own Moneypenny PA to answer calls exactly as if based in your office.

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Live Chat

Amazing people, briefed by you to manage chats whenever you can't.

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Pocket Phone System

All the functions and support of an office phone system, minus the hardware.

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