The economic and business environment of 2024 foretells unprecedented challenges for companies in the fields of B2B commerce, inventory management, and accounting.
These three interconnected pillars form the foundation for a company's prosperity.
This article explores the issues faced by business owners in B2B commerce, inventory management, and accounting. Finally, we will unveil the major trends expected in 2024.
Table of Contents:
B2B, or Business to Business, has become a complex web. Entrepreneurs juggle the evolving expectations of their professional clients while facing increasing demands. They also navigate an inevitable digital transition, adapting to new tools. All of this is aimed at staying ahead in a perpetually moving competition, improving understanding of customer needs, while maintaining the delicate balance between technology and human relationships.
In 2024, entrepreneurs are turning to more personalized approaches, fueled by a deep understanding of their clients. It's no longer just a transaction, but an evolving relationship where each informal interaction contributes to revealing hidden needs and shaping a unique experience.
Strategic adoption of new technologies emerges as a cornerstone to maintain the delicate balance between the power of innovation and the necessity of human relationships. These technological tools are no longer just integrations but essential partners, freeing up time for human interactions while providing tailored and efficient solutions.
Finally, the ability to anticipate and quickly adapt to changes, whether in new customer expectations or competitive dynamics, becomes the key to success.
In 2024, harmonizing customer understanding, technology, and managing new challenges should be at the forefront of B2B entrepreneurs' concerns, creating an environment conducive to growth and success.
Through our clients and partners, we observe the same challenges. Erplain positions itself as an ally, offering digital solutions that both facilitate dealing with complexity and leverage technology for human benefit. It's to address these missions that the idea of an online B2B ordering platform, the B2B Store, emerged. As a proximity tool connecting suppliers to their clients, this customizable e-commerce store helps manage interprofessional transactions more easily and provides an optimal experience for online order tracking and payments.
Optimizing stock visibility is a major challenge for many companies managing stocks spread across various warehouses, physical stores, or suppliers. Having real-time visibility of all these stocks becomes imperative to avoid shortages, integrating omnichannel management.
Another significant challenge lies in the efficient management of returns, an unavoidable reality for many companies. The ability to quickly reintegrate returned items into stock and put them back into circulation to fulfill other customer orders becomes crucial. This approach not only optimizes product turnover but also minimizes potential losses.
The financial consequences of poor inventory management can be severe.
The use of Excel remains prevalent among many business owners today. The idea of transitioning to a third-party solution raises concerns. They fear not only losing familiarity with a well-known tool but also the potential loss of their data. However, there are now intermediate SaaS solutions that surpass Excel in both technology and simplicity. These software solutions perform the same operations more easily and ensure enhanced data security. They provide additional operational value and ensure total control over operations.
Long favored for its versatility, Excel's dominance is now being questioned by dedicated business management software solutions. Indeed, sales management combined with stock tracking exposes the limitations of spreadsheets. Order tracking, from creating quotes to purchase orders and up to invoicing, with an immediate and automatic impact on stocks, requires a tool capable of automating complex data management while ensuring simultaneous tracking. While Excel remains a common choice due to its ease of use and presence in professional training, its effectiveness in overall business management is limited, not to mention the lack of collaborative features.
Users are increasingly turning to other software solutions, reassured by their simplicity, data security, and the evolution of features, providing greater added value to business management.
Recommended reading: Managing inventory with Excel: what are the pros and cons?
In 2024, inventory management will continue to evolve, integrating new economic and geopolitical realities and adopting a more technological approach while keeping in mind that the basics of inventory management remain the same: average stock value, percentage of stock on the Working Capital Requirement (WCR), obsolescence rate, and customer service rate.
Thus, the challenge of overstocking, accentuated by shortages since 2020, requires even more proactive management to anticipate, react, and maintain optimal stock levels.
The importance of continuous education on stock management intensifies, emphasizing the need for a constant understanding of best practices and industry developments. At the same time, the growing influence of AI offers new perspectives, marking a significant transition towards smarter and data-focused practices, ushering in a new era of efficiency and responsiveness in inventory management.
SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions now position themselves as indispensable allies in this digital era and as natural alternatives to Excel. This transition to specialized software represents a strategic shift towards more efficient, reliable, and commerce-adapted stock management.
Accounting tightly integrates into the equation. Its rapid transformation makes financial data available to accountants and their entrepreneur clients.
Thus, in 2024, one of the crucial challenges faced by businesses, especially SMBs, lies in the accelerated transformation of accounting management. Accountants will need to stay up-to-date with changes in International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). This constant evolution of regulatory requirements and the imperative to add true strategic value are complex facets shaping the daily lives of accounting professionals and impacting the quality of service provided to their entrepreneur clients. Anticipating changes, automating processes, and injecting significant added value through the transformation of accounting tools are the new challenges at the dawn of this new year.
Accounting digitization intensifies, reducing professionals' time spent on low-value tasks. In this evolution, accountants play a crucial role in guiding small businesses through this transition. Reducing the delivery time of accounting figures, establishing new links between inventory management softwares and accounting, and optimizing accounting challenges specific to SMBs are at the heart of this collaboration.
2024 will also be an opportunity to redefine the role of accounting firms to cope with rising costs, evolving client expectations, decreasing margins related to traditional missions, and the emergence of external actors. Generative AI will be of great assistance, whether for optimizing client management or enriching production tools.
In 2024, accounting is moving towards a more proactive approach, with more automation and a valuation of data to offer real added value to entrepreneur clients. Inventory management must still be fully integrated into accounting, as it provides real-time insight and the keys to more efficient overall management.
For accountants integrating digitization into their practices, Erplain's partner program allows them to more effectively support their clients, optimize their collaboration, and transform data into strategic value. It's a tool designed to integrate inventory data into accounting and financial management.
The trends of 2024 reveal that B2B commerce, inventory management, and accounting are inseparable links. One does not go without the other, forming an interconnected ecosystem where a company's success depends on the perfect synchronization of these three pillars. It's essential for SMB owners to rely on the right tools to ensure optimal operational management.
2024 reveals an unavoidable imperative: evolve in tools and practices or face obsolescence.
The emphasis on interoperability within systems emerges as the central theme of these 2024 trends. Defined as the ability for systems and applications to operate together in a coordinated way, interoperability enhances the efficiency of the ecosystem and collaboration between B2B commerce, inventory management, and accounting. It will facilitate the exchange, interpretation, and sharing of data with a common understanding, creating a smooth fluidity.
The key to success in this constantly evolving commercial landscape lies in continuous adaptation and the adoption of interoperable practices. This approach will not only help stay relevant, but also maintain dynamic competitiveness. Companies can thrive in this changing climate, anticipating upcoming challenges while capitalizing on emerging opportunities.