Featured business of the week: All About Transcription

All About Transcription‘s founder, Ann Kempen, saw an opportunity when doctors started leaving South Africa for greener pastures a couple years ago.  These doctors sold their practices before heading off and often their notes had to be made more intelligible to incoming specialists so Ann started typing them up.  From there she moved to the legal industry where there is a definite need for reliable and fast transcription services.

While local is lekker, Ann saw opportunities internationally and began offering what she calls a "complete premium global service" to international customers.  We hear a lot about outsourcing services to countries like India.  Ann makes an argument for outsourcing transcription services to South Africa:

In essence, the benefit of using a transcription service in South Africa means a quick turnaround,overnight in many cases of documents. While it is night in Australia or the US, we will be transcribing in Cape Town – your work will be back on your desk when you get to the office first thing in the morning.So go home and relax – watch the cricket!

When I asked Ann about her business, she told me the following:

My one client in Israel, a specialist radiologist, has been with me for the entire six years.  I have become his virtual PA right down to doing his essays for his MBA that he is undertaking, his children’s CVs, etc. I have even booked his holidays!  My other big client, a legal practice in Australia, has been with me for four years.  I do the work of all three partners specialising in litigation, conveyancing, personal injury damage claims.

I am passionate about this work – I am seriously looking at expanding the business, but for this would require competent typists who are able to use their initiative, have no trouble handling accents and take pride in their work.

All of my work is quality-controlled – I do not return anything to my clients that is not 100% accurate.

Essentially, clients – medical and legal – have control over their administrative expenses when outsourcing work like this.  They get exactly what they pay for.  No secretaries or typists reading books, talking on the phone, painting their toenails when work is slow.  No PAYE or holiday pay to pay out for permanent employees.  No maternity leave benefits or medical aid expenses to fund.  No urgent work sitting on their desk that needs to go out at 5.00 pm and the secretary has gone home.  Turnaround time is 12-24 hours depending on volume and when the work is required.  Urgent documents are done virtually immediately and returned to the client.

I am available online via Skype if the clients need to speak to me whenever they require.

There is excellent software available for purposes of transferring files, everything is security compliant and encrypted guaranteeing the confidentiality of all the work.  Files are sent to me via sound files in almost any format – most of my clients use NCH software – www.nch.com.au – this is program that is downloadable from the site, speakers/dictators simply dictate their work, click send and it comes directly to me.  I then listen to the audio, type up the work, and return it via email or upload to the client’s FTP site.

Ann’s work obviously goes beyond simple transcription services and embraces globalisation.  The idea of being a personal assistant for someone in a different country is no longer a ridiculous idea.  Higher bandwidth and better communications technologies like Skype make this not only possible but feasible, particularly when you take into account the relative weakness of the Rand to the Dollar, Euro and Pound.  What Ann is doing is important for local business.  Our bandwidth costs may still be relatively high but when you use that bandwidth intelligently and combine that with our low cost, businesses like Ann’s reveal what is possible for South African businesses, namely that foreign businesses could feasibly outsource services to South Africans and still receive great value.

If you would like to contact Ann, you can reach her through the following:

    All About Transcription
    P O Box 1241
    Sun Valley

    South Africa
    Tel: +27 21 786 4389
    Fax: +27 21 786 4389

    Mobile: +27 82 570 5796






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