As businesses enter quarter four, now is the time to reflect on where you’ve been and where you’re headed to optimize the final months of the year.
Considering the year thus far, three major trends emerge as the key definers for 2019. Nearly every business is feeling the impact of these trends in some way, and time remains to capitalize on them.
Trend 1: Good help is hard to come by
Unemployment is low, the hiring market is competitive and employers are seeking candidates from both ends of the spectrum — from minimum wage all the way up to skilled, professional work. The search for talent continues to weigh heavily on business owners in 2019, and relief doesn’t seem to be in sight, at least in the short term. This especially applies to financial roles in organizations.
Honkamp Krueger has addressed this through an approach called talent outsourcing. Talent outsourcing allows us to temporarily pair an HK professional directly with a business, either onsite or remotely. This might be a staff level accountant all the way up to a C-suite level professional who can help helm the ship until the right talent can be found. Clients appreciate this service because it allows them to get on with business as usual despite the loss of a key employee.
Additionally, fully outsourcing accounting can be an ideal option for businesses preferring not to deal with turnover and disruption in their front office roles. Partnering with a CPA firm to handle these essential tasks takes the burden from having to hire and train new team members each time turnover happens. Significant time and energy can be saved and reallocated into other areas of the business, which leads to trend number two.
Trend 2: Business is up
Despite the challenges with talent, business has been good so far in 2019 thanks, in part, to a positive tax environment. With revenue up, organizations are staying busy, as long as they can find the help they need. When business is going well, it’s a great time to invest in making them better.
Business owners can optimize today’s success and carry it into the future with strategic and business planning that uses available data to measure and monitor key performance indicators. Investing in planning and the right tools, such as software that monitors KPIs and an adviser to help analyze them, can help a business make more informed decisions, even when the marketplace inevitably begins to shift in a less positive direction.
To take it one step further, as mergers and acquisitions continue to increase with the retirement of baby boomers, succession and exit planning should be prioritized.
Regardless of how far away you are from retirement, it’s never too early to plan for your eventual succession. Optimizing the value of your business takes time, and the earlier you start, the better the chance you have of retiring the way you want. Take advantage of this quarter to start or dust off your succession plan and get to work.
Trend 3: Change continues to reign supreme
My message at the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce Forecast Luncheon more than 18 months ago rings true today: Be ready for change because it’s the only constant. More change has happened in the past year than the last 50 combined, and the rate isn’t slowing down. However, the power of change often is overestimated in the short term and underestimated in the long term.
Change doesn’t always happen in the ways or at the rates we expect. For example, discussion in recent years has swirled around the imminent implementation of blockchain technology and artificial intelligence taking over the workplace, but we have yet to see that come to fruition on a large scale.
However, inquiries for technology-related services have significantly increased. Rather than blockchain and AI, businesses are looking for technology that can offer solutions to workflow, project management, KPI monitoring, cybersecurity and more.
Regardless of how the year ebbs and flows, proactivity is the trend that never goes out of style. The key to success today is in ensuring a business’s strategies and services are keeping up with what customers are looking for tomorrow.
In planning, business owners and advisers will want to ask, “How can a business’s data combined with a keen insight into the industry be used to anticipate the change to come, and how can businesses adapt to suit the ever-changing needs of the consumer?”
Based on the trends we’ve seen in 2019, with proper planning and the right team of advisers, businesses can capitalize on the sunny days and weather the storms to come.