This post was co-authored by Will Lopez and Jaclyn Anku.

Small businesses need more help, expertise, and guidance than ever before, and they’re turning to accounting partners to support them in new ways.

It’s been estimated that more than 100,000 small businesses have already been forced to close permanently as a result of COVID and that number could reach more than 1 million over the next year. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Gusto has shipped 40+ new features that more than 6,000 accountants are using to help small businesses receive vital aid and relief, stay compliant, and be in a better position to take care of their teams. We’ve helped our customers secure more than $2 billion in approved PPP loans and built a comprehensive resource hub that simplifies legislation. 

Today, Gusto is taking the next step in delivering more support to small businesses. We’re empowering their accountant partners to become holistic business advisors with the introduction of People Advisory™ powered by Gusto.

Accountants as Holistic Business Advisors 

Accountants have regularly advised clients on business recovery decisions. But COVID has accelerated and crystalised the need for accountants to expand their scope into advising on the most important part of a business–people.

People Advisory powered by Gusto uses payroll–a historically compliance-focused offering–as an entryway to broader and deeper advisory services that help clients and their teams survive and thrive. With People Advisory, accounting firms are enabled to confidently integrate revenue-driving advisory services related to people operations into their practice. In addition to introducing People Advisory, Gusto is also unveiling its new People Advisor Certification program, which provides accounting firm staff members the ability to build new skills to deliver much needed support to small businesses across America.

Small businesses are facing near-impossible dilemmas. Many have been forced to figure out how to implement wage cuts and layoffs, while simultaneously coming up with a plan to reopen that ensures employee and customer safety. Others are trying to find ways to provide benefits to their teams–who are hurting financially, and stressed about their family’s health–without breaking the bank. Businesses everywhere are looking to accountants for answers and support.

We’re introducing People Advisory powered by Gusto to help accountants easily combine their deep financial expertise with insights from Gusto’s platform to help clients achieve the impossible. Empowering accountants and bookkeepers to expand beyond conventional payroll offerings to providing counsel on key business and people-focused decisions is vital to small business survival and recovery. The firms who exit the pandemic and recession most successfully will be those focused, right now, on guiding clients (and their teams) with business advisory services.

People Advisory and Certification Programs

People Advisory is an entirely new category of accounting service. Gusto’s People Advisory and Certification program equip accountants with insights and advisory frameworks on payroll, benefits, and people operations best practices. Accountants are able to leverage financial and regulatory expertise to advise clients in staying resilient and building enduring businesses. 

People Advisory is essential for accounting practitioners ready to embrace the opportunity to transform payroll services into more meaningful, and monetizable consultation. By adopting People Advisory and becoming People Advisor Certified, accountants and bookkeepers can now: 

  • Build domain expertise on payroll, benefits, and HR so they feel confident that their clients and their employees are protected.
  • Become an expert on Gusto’s people platform and discover workflow efficiencies for their  clients and their firms.  
  • Learn people advisory frameworks that they can use to guide clients on building places to work that retain employees, reducing time and resources spent on training and recruiting.
  • Add client advisory services (CAS) revenue streams to strengthen their firm’s business model.

A recent study found that, “strategic advisor services presents the biggest revenue opportunity–providing the ability to increase monthly client revenue by up to 50%.” People Advisory, available to all Gusto Partners, unlocks that opportunity today. 

Unlike other certification programs, People Advisory Certification offers more than just product training–it teaches you and your staff to combine financial expertise with Gusto’s data-driven people platform to provide proactive, mission-critical business advice. 

As a Gusto Partner, you can use your People Advisor Certified badge to signal to clients and potential clients that your expertise extends beyond your financial knowledge into people operations. This program and its badge are the first of its kind for accountants from any payroll or HR provider and will help accountants and bookkeepers stand apart from the crowd. 

People Advisory Playbook and Resource Hub

Our new People Advisory Playbook, exclusive to Certified Gusto Partners, is an in-depth guide on advising clients with people-focused services. This 60-page digital book equips your firm with step-by-step guides to put theory into practice and start offering People Advisory to the right clients at the right times. It explains selling approaches, pricing methods, and other technical considerations to maximize workflows and revenue of people advisory services.

Available on August 10th, the Advisory Hub will be the one-stop-shop for resources that help Gusto partners continue to grow their people advisory skills beyond the initial certification. It hosts playbooks, toolkits, blogs, and podcasts to guide Gusto Partners as they transition to offering advisory services in addition to more traditional compliance-centric services. The Advisory Hub also provides a co-marketing toolkit to help you better market your firm and its new service offering to clients. 

Building True, Lasting Partnerships

The accounting profession continues to change quickly. Some software vendors believe they can replace accountants. At Gusto, we believe no software is capable of replacing the tailored expertise and personal relationships accountants provide to their clients. We’re committed to building services and technology that help accountants strengthen and expand their value to clients as trusted advisors. The strength of the American economy depends on it. 

Will Lopez Will Lopez is Gusto's Head Ambassador to accountant partners and customers. Previously, he empowered accountants as Head of Community & Education. He has dedicated his career to supporting accounting professionals and small businesses with more than 20 years of public- and private-sector experience, including founding and building a modern, cloud-based accounting firm.
Back to top