It can often seem as though the business world is moving at a faster pace than ever. The advent of blockchain payment options, wearable technology to aid telecommuting, and artificial intelligence (AI) that delves more deeply into consumers’ preferences than ever before have expanded the realm of considerations for business owners.
While it’s not necessary for all businesses to adopt these changes in the short term, staying informed is the key to staying relevant in the long term. Read on to learn more about three financial trends that are poised to shape the way businesses grow in 2019 and beyond.
Augmented—Not Artificial—Intelligence to Drive Sales
There’s nothing new about businesses’ ability to use the information they glean from customer loyalty programs, secret shoppers, and market research to target their advertisements to the demographics most likely to respond to them. But while artificial intelligence (AI) can streamline processes and give insight into what your customers want, it can’t replace the human touch and good old-fashioned customer service.
Think of AI not as artificial intelligence, but as augmented intelligence. AI can make it a breeze to collect and collate information, but what you do with that information is entirely up to you. Using your AI-gleaned data to augment what you’re already doing—whether top-notch customer service, high-quality products, or low prices—in a way that appeals to the broadest segment of potential customers and clients.
A Continued Shift to Remote Work
The advent of digital payments, e-commerce, and paper-free offices means that it’s easier than ever for businesses—even those in buttoned-up corporate America—to begin shifting their operations to telework or remote working arrangements.
Not only can this reduce overhead costs by allowing workers to “hot desk” when they do come into the office, but it can also improve productivity and employee job satisfaction. Because working from home is often cheaper for employees as well as employers, businesses that offer generous work-from-home arrangements may be able to set salaries at the lower end of the range.
But as teleworking becomes the norm rather than the exception, business owners will need to rethink how to maintain consistent communication and collaboration between divisions. This can often be the biggest challenge associated with remote working arrangements, as an IM conversation or quick phone chat doesn’t always allow one to pick up on nuances that might change the message.
Wearable Technology and the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the increasing number of “smart” devices in households throughout the country—from refrigerators that can do your shopping for you to security cameras, outlets, and even slow cookers that can be controlled from a smartphone app. And IoT is more portable than ever, with many Americans using a smartwatch or fitness tracker on a daily basis.
Employers can capitalize on this by offering wellness programs to their employees, which may provide generous health insurance discounts and bonus incentives in exchange for the employees’ commitment to a fitness or food tracking regimen. In 2019, these wellness portals will become even more connected, giving insurers an instant snapshot into employees’ daily activity levels, resting heart rate, and other vital signs.
The Business Advisory Firm of the Future
As you guide your business into the financial trends of the future, consider hiring a full-service accounting and advisory firm aimed at grasping the opportunities of tomorrow. At Klein Hall, we are exactly what your business needs to take total control of its financial future. Contact us today to learn about what we offer.