Company News

Continuing to Strengthen Our Partnership with Accountants

Will Lopez Head Ambassador, Gusto 

At Gusto, we believe that people are the heart of every business. And by helping people succeed, employers and accounting firms can all grow. We strive to enrich lives by delivering peace of mind, empowering great workplaces, and unlocking personal prosperity. We also strive to help you serve clients with integrity while modernizing your firms and developing professionally.

Yet, it isn’t easy to start and run a successful business. That was true before the pandemic, and over the past two years, it certainly hasn’t gotten any easier. In our partnership, we’ve seen you live this truth daily as you work to serve your clients and your own practices. We, too, have seen this firsthand through the increased volumes of tax notices businesses have received and the increased complexity in serving health benefits throughout COVID.

We want to provide greater visibility into some recent improvements to our platform and service that are meaningful to your day-to-day. For example, we recently launched enhanced email permissions to give you more control over incoming messages, reducing the volume sent to accountants by 21%.

In this post, we’re sharing several key updates: new customer experience leaders who have joined Gusto, and actions we’ve taken to make improvements across tax notices and health benefits.

New Leaders at Gusto

Successfully scaling Gusto’s impact on customers means improving and expanding our capabilities across our products and platform. And that means continuing to add exceptional new leaders in critical areas that will help to do the right jobs in the right ways so we can keep getting better and increase the value we deliver. Here are a few recent additions to Gusto’s leadership team: 

  • Doug Woodard, Head of Customer Experience. Doug spent nearly a decade at CapitalOne, leading Customer Operations at significant scale. His primary focus is to improve the experience for all customers as Gusto continues to grow.
  • Michael Dickinson, Head of Partner Experience. Michael recently joined Gusto after more than 14 years at GoDaddy, empowering best-in-class care to its Partners segments. At Gusto, he is working to improve the experience accounting firms have with customer service, including our partner program’s VIP Care.
  • Lauri Smith, Head of Payroll Operations. Lauri joined Gusto at the beginning of this year to lead our payroll, tax, and compliance operations. The depth of her experience, spending 30 years at ADP, including 13 as a Senior Director for Tax Operations and Compliance Services, will enable Gusto to tackle, at scale, all tax notices, filings, and deposits. Her work is already positively impacting our customers, as outlined in the tax notices below.

Tax notices

These are challenging times for the payroll compliance industry. Compliance automation is the heart and core of what we do and has been a key part of how we built Gusto from Day 1. And while we hear from you that Gusto has made compliance easier, our tax notice backlogs still loom, and we’re working on building new technology to resolve them faster. And even more importantly, we’re focused on creating a system that prevents many tax notices from ever happening in the first place, giving you and your client the peace of mind you deserve.

Here are recent actions and the progress we’ve made so far.

  • Prevention is better: We’re focused on eliminating the biggest causes of tax notices. Gusto is building new technology and strengthening tax agency integrations to better validate customer data when entered incorrectly. Data such as wrong company EINs and SUI rates. Overall, we forecast that these improvements will prevent the vast majority of errors accountants see today.
  • Automation: One of the many initiatives we’ve launched is called AutoSolve. AutoSolve automatically notifies you or your clients when a notice is not attached to support tickets, which currently affects 10% of all tickets submitted. This will free up hundreds of additional Gusto customer service hours which we will use to tackle the most challenging tax cases. Lastly, we’re implementing new methods for indexing and routing notices into the hands of Gusto experts that can fix them quickly.
  • Momentum: During the past few months our total queue of notices has decreased by more than 25% and our systems are preventing a greater share of all notices. And we continue to make investments that prevent many tax notices from happening in the first place. Our priority remains to eliminate pain for you and your clients through payroll and compliance. 

This work around tax notices is already yielding meaningful, tangible results. At the same time, we fully recognize that not all tax notices are being resolved in the timeframes that they should be. And that we must continue making investments that prevent many tax notices from happening in the first place. 

Health Insurance

Many business owners take great pride in providing their people with health insurance benefits. And while we’re excited that more people are using Gusto for its health insurance solution, some of your clients have not always had a good experience. We believe the benefits experience should exceed your standards and ours. Here’s some of the work we’ve been doing to make that happen:

  • Investing in people: Our team members working on health insurance are receiving additional, more simulated training to resolve pressing issues quickly and accurately. We’re also surrounding them with the right leaders to resolve more complex cases faster, making missed enrollments increasingly rare and analyzing changes and feedback to recommend improvements more quickly.
  • Simplifying benefits: Parts of the health insurance industry have progressed in advancing its legacy systems. So, we’re being more selective about the carriers we work with by focusing on modern platforms and building direct APIs between our platforms to streamline our health insurance solution. For smaller carriers, we plan to work with third-party partners that can facilitate the connection. We’ll continue to push benefits and the health industry forward by enhancing more and better automation that increases speed and accuracy.
  • Momentum: We’ve already seen important improvements in execution and accuracy. Currently 99.86% of enrollments are completed on time, but when it comes to people’s lives and livelihoods, it needs to be 100%, and we’re fully dedicated to it. 

The spirit and commitment of serving small and growing businesses brought accountants and Gusto together. Entrepreneurship emerged from the pandemic more resilient. Your work is vital because businesses that partner with accountants have a greater chance of survival. And we know that our partnership is trust-based, and an ongoing conversation. Expect more regular updates, and know we’re resolved to improve things for you and your clients. We welcome your thoughts, and please share any questions you have here

With gratitude,


Debbie Ferguson is GM of Accountants at Gusto. She was previously the head of foundation engineering at Gusto and knows how to build products for small businesses because she’s been a small business owner herself. Debbie has over 20 years of experience in senior leadership positions at Facebook, Google, and Intuit. 

Tomer London is co-founder and Chief Product Officer at Gusto. He has helped build Gusto’s product and service offerings since 2012 –reimagining how modern payroll, benefits, and compliance should operate.     

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.

Will Lopez
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.
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