5 Current Business Trends That Will Impact Professional Services in 2024

By Chelsea Williams
Senior Copywriter
Dec 20 2023 read

The last few weeks of a calendar year can be a confusing time. You might be celebrating holidays and taking a break with your family while, at the same time, rushing to close out a fiscal year and develop a plan for the next.

It can be easy to stay inwardly focused because of the demands you’re facing, but your business doesn’t operate in a vacuum. You need to prepare yourself and your team for what might be around the corner at important turning points.

Instead of looking at the coming year as another thing on your to-do list, make it an opportunity to pause and consider what experts believe will happen in the business world — and how you’ll respond.

Why Pay Attention to Business Trends?

Being aware of emerging trends is much more important in business than in other areas of life. You may be able to get away with not following fashion trends, for example, but not being informed about business trends could have a negative ripple effect on demand for your services.

Knowing what’s going on in the world and the market can impact the way you strategize and interact with clients.

Staying current also makes it easier to highlight potential areas of growth or caution so you can adjust accordingly before investing in a direction that doesn’t pay off.

READ NEXT: 5 Business New Year’s Resolutions for Service Firms

What Are the Current Business Trends for 2024?

Both professional services and mid-sized and small business trends are ever-evolving. Here are some patterns to look out for in 2024.

1. Continued productivity optimization

Business owners have always wanted to optimize productivity, but that wasn’t always an easy goal to achieve. Now that we have the technology and data to measure and adapt business operations, collaboration, resourcing and more, productivity has once again come to the forefront.

Today’s business landscape is a mix of various work models — in-person, hybrid work and remote work. Leveraging the strengths of each by tracking time, enhancing workflows and giving team members new tools to streamline mundane tasks, service businesses can thrive.

An IT consulting firm might use automation to achieve intelligent ticket routing and alerts and give its team access to an integrated knowledge base to reduce the number of queries they need to do to resolve client issues.

2. Innovative uses of generative AI

In 2024, we’ll see fresh uses of generative artificial intelligence. Its ability to analyze vast amounts of data and offer key insights will revolutionize how many businesses operate. While there are lots of obvious ways a product-based business might optimize its supply chain with AI, for example, it can be less apparent how a client-based firm could use machine learning models to the fullest.

Let’s explore how an agency might apply generative AI:

  • Content creation: This is one of the most well-known uses of AI so far and will continue to expand in popularity in 2024. Tailored blog posts, social posts and personalized email campaigns are just a few applications of generative AI for content.
  • Design: While the results are not always flawless, AI can assist a team in rapidly creating visual content, such as illustrations and layouts. This can save a creative team time and resources while allowing them to focus on polishing in alignment with quality standards.
  • Marketing strategy: AI is powerful when it comes to analyzing large datasets. Agencies can gain deep knowledge about market trends, customer preferences and competitors.
  • Operations: With AI, it’s possible to automate task scheduling and assignments, resource allocation and workflow management. These and other ways of using the new technology can enhance efficiency and reduce operational costs.
  • Social media marketing: Insights about user engagement could help the agency determine the best time to post and even generate responses to user comments, making social media management more efficient and effective.

We encourage business leaders to approach genAI from multiple points of entry. Don’t put all your eggs in one use case. Instead, experiment — and as with most experiments, some will work out and some won’t. That’s alright in these early stages. Each scrapped plan paves the way to success.

  - Sharyn Leaver, Chief Research Officer, Forrester

3. Investment in data solutions and security

Data has become the lifeblood of business decision-making. In 2024, expect to see a significant investment in data solutions and security as business leaders seek even more expanded real-time analytics to support everything from project timeline and budget estimation to client communication protocol and reporting.

Given the level of detail service providers acquire about clients throughout a relationship, they’ll need to ensure data solutions are not only efficient but also secure. Businesses that haven’t already should implement end-to-end encryption for data in transit and at rest, regular security audits to identify vulnerabilities and a sophisticated threat detection and response system.

There are many other considerations in professional services. Consider an accounting firm. In addition to predictive analysis and automated reporting, they should have advanced encryption, multi-factor authentication and a cloud-based accounting platform. Not to mention a plan for regularly educating clients about security practices.

4. A deeply personalized customer experience

Using the data and insights from advancing technology, service providers have the power to improve customer support in 2024. Starting with understanding demographics, preferences and behaviors, the business intelligence at your fingertips today makes it possible to elevate the client journey from the first touchpoint.

Businesses of all sizes are turning to influencers and strategic partnerships to market their products and services. Gone are the days of the stale and detached social media post. It’s crucial to speak to customers in a more casual way in the spaces where they engage most — often via video. While this trend isn’t brand-new, it’s been expanded by continued updates to social platforms, notably the e-commerce capabilities of TikTok and Instagram.

Personalizing customer interactions in the new year will be about providing the perfect balance between AI and a human touch. People appreciate the convenience of chatbots and automated notifications but want to speak to a knowledgeable person before making a big commitment to purchase.

Think about how an engineering firm could use a combination of tech and creative strategies to develop even stronger client relationships. They might use:

  • 3D modeling software and virtual reality to give clients a highly realistic preview of final products
  • Feedback and collaboration platforms, such as a client portal, to support faster ticket resolution and approvals
  • A custom analytics dashboard for each client that displays a cost analysis, time-to-completion estimates and performance metrics

5. The permanent transition to agile business models

The lessons from the pandemic taught business leaders the importance of resilience. Now that most are out of survival mode, they could favor an agile business model to ensure they’re able to adapt to changing circumstances in 2024 and beyond. Small business owners will especially benefit from being flexible.

What does agile mean in practice? Today, it’s tightly woven into digital transformation. If your business is not tech-forward, you’ll be less capable of withstanding any global or industry-wide storms.

Platforms that grow with your business are key to ensuring that you don’t waste time rolling out new tech and getting your team accustomed to the user experience. Read about the ultimate example: Ship design firm Allswater has weathered over 11 years by using Accelo for client work management.

Bonus: Sustainability and social responsibility

Sustainability and social responsibility aren’t necessarily trends anymore, as they are now simply pivotal considerations for operating a business. There’s a growing understanding that these elements aren’t just ethical choices but drivers of long-term business success.

Sustainable practices lead to cost savings, enhanced brand reputation and new market opportunities.

Initiatives related to social responsibility, such as volunteering in your local community or hosting events in partnership with a non-profit can help your brand resonate with both clients and employees.

Be a Trendsetter

Sometimes, trends are responses to outside circumstances. Other times, they come from a seed of an idea that originates from one individual or team. While being informed is helpful, there’s also something to be said for staying on your toes and trying new things.

Don’t be afraid to start your own trends in your niche! Get your team on task and performing at their best with our inspiration for a productive new year.


About the Author


Chelsea Williams is Senior Copywriter at Accelo, where she shares unique insights with service professionals and tells user stories via blogs, eBooks, industry reports and more. She has over 15 years of B2B and B2C writing experience — primarily in tech, sales, education and healthcare. Chelsea is an AWAI-certified Master Copywriter trained in brand storytelling and microcopy.

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