E-business – Instant advice move.

A leading online provider of professional services is set to launch a ‘live’ client access facility next week. will allow users of the service direct access to all of the firm’s experts via telephone lines that link straight to the advisers.

It provides online tax and legal advice for individuals and small businesses and an independent financial advisory service.

It serves customers through a virtual network of professionals who, the company claims, are able to work anywhere at any time.

The expanded service, which will apply over all of its service lines, will enable registered users of the site to connect instantly with the advisers via the telephone.

The company has entered a partnering agreement with British Telecom to provide the instant service.

The network of advisers, who work from home, allows customers access to over 400 ex-Inland Revenue tax advisers, and a number of accountants and lawyers providing advice on mortgages, wills and probates.

The expanded service will include advice on pre-marital, divorce and employment law issues.

Virtuallyanywhere launched in December 1999 and has had over 25,000 visits to the site.

A quarter registered with the service, of which 40% have become users.

The IFA service went online in September 2000, joined a month later by the legal advice.

VA has also entered an agreement with independent financial adviser Burns Anderson to provide up-to-date information on financial products.

Currently, customers are able to contact VA by e-mail, telephone, fax or face-to-face.

The new service will remove any delay in response and allow customers to question their advisers at a time convenient to them.

Clients will be able to enter their own home phone number, click on an icon and immediately be called back by the system.

The call will then be routed to the most appropriate expert.

The move follows the increasing availability of online financial advice, as seen in the growth of such services as AdviceOnline. (see page 24).

Nigel Duke, founder and managing director of Virtuallyanywhere said: ‘The advantage of the system is that like everyone else, our advisers are not online all the time, but they can be contacted at any time.’

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