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Accelerating Accounting with People Advisory

Jaclyn Anku Partner Education, Gusto  

Introducing People Advisory Accelerator — everything firm owners need to package, staff, price and sell People Advisory.

As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, we are experiencing the greatest shift the workforce has seen in modern times. The pandemic and its impact on our lives, both at home and at work,  have changed people’s perspectives on everything, but particularly on how, why and where they want to work. Some people want to work remotely forever, some want a hybrid situation and others want a more meaningful career path. 

Employers have to quickly adapt to meet the changing needs and expectations of the workforce. And, they want help. A Gusto study of more than 2,000 business owners revealed the business advice they need most all centers around their people strategy: 

  • Guidance on how to attract, retain, and engage talent in a competitive market
  • Support developing an affordable benefits package to ensure their team’s physical and financial well-being
  • Help building systems and culture that support a remote workforce

What they need is the help of a People Advisor—an accounting professional who pairs financial expertise with knowledge of people operations to advise on building a great place to work. And they are willing to pay for it: the same study showed 41% of businesses would be willing to pay their accountant more – up to 20% above what they already pay – for advice on their people strategy. Furthermore, nearly 60% of business owners would consider switching to an accountant that offers business advice inclusive of their team’s well-being.

The Path to People Advisory

The path forward is clear. To participate in the economy of now, the accounting profession must move beyond solely providing traditional accounting and financial advisory services. They need to become holistic business advisors that put people at the heart of their advice. Last year, Gusto launched People Advisory to empower accountants with the tools and training to do exactly that. And, many accounting professionals embraced their new role with Gusto (pun intended) – there are now over 2,000 Certified People Advisors offering insights across payroll, benefits and people operations to tens of thousands of clients, growing their clients’ businesses along with their own. 

Aprio Cloud launched a dedicated service-line of People Advisory in Fall 2020. One year later, it’s generating nearly $1 million in revenue from over 186 clients.

People Advisory, Accelerated

After working with hundreds of People Advisors like the team at Aprio Cloud, Gusto is now launching the People Advisory Accelerator Program to make it even more accessible to the accounting profession. This new self-paced, hands-on training program will enable more firm owners to move beyond merely offering payroll as a compliance service toward building their own People Advisory practices. Participants can help put their teams in position to advise on creating great places to work that are hybrid and remote, while increasing the firm’s revenue in the process.

People Advisory Accelerator provides firm owners with everything they need to package, staff, price and sell People Advisory, including:

  • Step-by-step guidance on launching a People Advisory practice
  • Pre-designed People Advisory service packages so leaders can choose the right ones for their team and clients  
  • A staffing guide to identify internal People Advisory practice leads
  • 25+ turnkey tools and templates for firm leadership to implement new learnings as they go 
  • Pricing made simple through a ready-made calculator 
  • Marketing and sales guides and assets, including a pre-built People Advisory web page 

And, accountants receive four CPE credits for completing the People Advisory Accelerator Program.

Tripling Payroll Revenue

Josh Lance, Managing Director of Lance CPA Group

Josh Lance leads Lance CPA Group, a certified public accounting firm that helps craft breweries, creative entrepreneurs, and makers grow and thrive. Before applying the Accelerator curriculum to launch his People Advisory practice, clients came to Josh’s team for more than payroll processing; they needed advice on their people. Despite providing quality advice, Josh was unable to capture the value his team provided, as payroll was positioned as a bookkeeping add-on. The Accelerator program gave Josh the framework and turnkey tools and templates needed to package People Advisory services, identify team leads, price the service, and launch it. For example, when a client came to him recently with an ask to help revise policies within the employee handbook, Josh had everything he needed to advise his client and get compensated for that advice. From giving away advice for free to selling a mid-tier package for a $1,500 monthly subscription, Josh has transformed payroll from a compliance-based service to the foundation of a profitable People Advisory practice within a matter of weeks.

“Accelerator helped us build a scalable advisory practice grounded in concrete deliverables that meet our clients’ needs. They see the value, and are willing to pay for it.”  – Josh Lance

The time is now

In a time of heightened awareness around physical, emotional, and mental well-being, the impact of launching a People Advisory practice goes far beyond driving a new revenue stream. People Advisory Accelerator creates new professional development opportunities for accounting firm teams, supports clients in their efforts to build a strong company culture, and improves the work lives of the millions of employees who make our economy run. Now more than ever, it’s clear that people are at the center of all businesses, and accountants have the opportunity to be part of a positive, people-focused evolution of our economy. Join us!

Jaclyn Anku
Jaclyn Anku Jaclyn is the Partner Education Manager at Gusto. She started her career as a small business consultant and is passionate about teaching small business owners financial literacy and arming them with great advice. Before joining Gusto, she led business education for accountants and bookkeepers at Xero. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Oakland, CA.
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