Lance CPA Group

Gusto Provides New Revenue Stream through Advisory Service Offerings for Lance CPA Group

Lance CPA Group knew they wanted to offer advising services to their clients, but wasn’t sure of the approach. With guidance from Gusto, Lance is now able to offer an added service that has become a new revenue stream for the firm via Gusto’s People Advisory training programs.

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Gusto has enabled
Lance CPA Group to:

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Streamline the payroll processes – set up new clients in minutes

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Set up benefits with ease for both the firm and its clients

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Increase monthly revenue on advisory services by 1,600%

About Lance CPA Group

Where: Chicago, IL
Industry: Accounting
Employees: 20+
Clients: 180+
Joined Gusto: May 2014

Lance CPA Group is the small firm for big dreams. It specializes in fostering a client-first mentality in helping businesses such as breweries, distilleries, and digital agencies manage their finances so they can thrive. The firm is made up of entrepreneurs, just like the clients it serves, giving Lance an inherent understanding of how to best serve its customers.

How Gusto helped Lance CPA Group expand revenue sources

No antiquated payroll features

When Joshua Lance, founder of Lance CPA Group, opened his accounting firm, he wanted a payroll provider that would grow alongside his company. “At a previous job, I used one of the legacy payroll providers and thought to go with them initially because I was familiar with the name. But that was a mistake. Just to get set up with them, I had to fill out a stack of 60+ pages of paperwork. Halfway through, I got so frustrated. A lot of the forms were repetitive and it was a huge waste of time. I just knew there had to be a better way.”

With Gusto, Lance found a company that values offering—and then enhancing— features based on what business owners need. A prime example was the company adding a suite of onboarding tools to help streamline the hiring process. Gusto even created a COVID-19 Resource Center to provide insight on how to safely reopen offices or successfully deploy a hybrid work model. With agile tools like this, Lance was eager to give Gusto a try. 

“With Gusto the set up was much quicker. We can get a complex organization set up in under two hours and I’m able to get new clients set up in a matter of minutes which has been a huge time saver. I know that as I add more clients, we won’t be wasting time with setup paperwork. Gusto has made it so efficient to get clients up and going.” Gusto’s hassle-free setup reflects positively on the company, “Our clients get peace of mind knowing their payroll will be done right, each and every time. It makes us look good in their eyes. It’s truly a win-win.”

Benefits enrollment made easy for both firms and their clients

With Gusto, both accounting firms and their clients can easily enroll in benefits. “We get all of our benefits through Gusto, such as 401k provided by Guideline, health insurance, worker’s compensation, and even financial benefits like Gusto’s Cashout. We exclusively recommend Gusto to our clients. As both users and believers in the product, we’re able to offer expert advice on it which helps us to better service our clients.”

Lance explains that the easy enrollment is a huge plus for clients because it encourages them to offer benefits they may not have otherwise considered. “We have clients who didn’t offer benefits at all until they joined Gusto. There was too much friction and they were not sure they could afford it. With Gusto, it is easy for them to click a button and enroll. With a suite of options, they can offer a no-cost to the employer benefit like Cashout, and then expand into other low cost options when the time is right.”

Growing Lance CPA Group’s revenue + expansion of services

For entrepreneurs and business owners alike, having an accountant in their corner is vital to running a successful business. However, when businesses are on track for growth, they often need consulting that extends beyond normal business operations and bookkeeping. This is why Gusto introduced the People Advisory Certification. With this free Certification, the first of its kind, Lance’s team have learned the fundamentals of how to advise clients across payroll, benefits, and HR. This helps firms grow its clients’ businesses and further adds to the firm’s expansion as well. Meanwhile, Lance’s accountants are able to earn 5 CPE credits.

In addition to the certification, Gusto has also launched People Advisory Accelerator: a hands-on course for firm leaders that teaches them how to build and monetize a People Advisory practice to drive recurring revenue for their firm—and it’s even worth 4 CPE credits. Through Accelerator, Lance built a practice around the team’s new skill set. The program has given the firm the tools, frameworks, and packages to staff, price, and sell People Advisory services.

Lance explains that it has been wanting to offer People Advisory services for a while, but needed help developing the structure of the service. “We had naturally started to think through this on our own, but we weren’t sure how exactly to set it up. When Gusto introduced the People Advisory Accelerator and the certification program, it was a no-brainer to sign up. We’ve now been offering this service to our clients since Spring 2021.” 

Both the Accelerator and Certification gave Lance’s firm the confidence that it wouldn’t have to go it alone. “We loved that there’s a soup to nuts plan in place that tells us exactly what to do. From the specific type of advising services we should offer based on our client roster, to the packages that would make the most sense, to guidance on pricing, we had a clear roadmap to guide our business. It was a huge relief.”

Huge value to clients, big impact to business

Lance further explains that through offering People Advisory, the firm found instant success. Initially, it was concerned that clients wouldn’t go for it. But quickly learned that adding advisory service was not only something its clients needed, but a service they wanted. “We thought it was a good idea, but how do you convince clients it’s a good idea?” says Lance, “The reality is, they want this. They’ve been stumbling around trying to figure it out themselves. Maybe that works when you only have two or three employees. But as you grow to 20 employees, for instance, that stops working really quickly. Having a plan in place that outlines how we can support our clients and lays out what we can take off of their plate, it becomes an instant sell.”

Adding the advisory service resulted in a huge return on investment for Lance CPA Group. Prior to getting People Advisory certified, the firm had made less than 100 dollars in advising clients on people operations. But once certified, Lance CPA Group learned about the true value of this type of business advice, and more importantly, it learned how to adequately price this type of business line. This enabled it to astronomically increase monthly revenue from People Advisory by a whopping 1,600%. “We had a tax-only client who was challenged with payroll. We pitched them a price on our advisory services expecting them to tell us it was too high, but they signed up with no question. They understood the value of the service,” says Lance. “We’ve since followed up with a few more wins, which proved to us that People Advisory could really be a stand-alone service. It’s highly valued as an add-on, alongside our accounting services. This has been a great, new route to revenue for our firm.”

People Advisory could really be a stand alone service. It’s highly valued as an add on, alongside our accounting services. This has been a great, new route to revenue for our firm.
Lance CPA Group

A progressive partnership

As businesses grow, they’re looking for guidance ventures beyond the scope of their everyday business operations. In turn, as accounting firms advance, they’re looking for a partner to progress with them in not only payroll services, but also in line with their client needs. This is the value of both Gusto’s People Advisory Certification and People Advisory Accelerator. Through Gusto’s People Advisory training programs, Lance’s team was able to launch its People Advisory practice. “We’re really excited to offer these advisory services because we knew the need was there. The gap was in execution,” says Lance, “People Advisory has been able to bridge that gap for us, and our clients now find the service invaluable.”

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