Original webinar date: October 21, 2021
This article is part of a series where we share the top insights from Gusto Next—the premiere conference for accounting professionals. Read the entire series and watch Gusto Next 2021.
Keeping up with your client’s payroll and benefits packages can be challenging if you update employee numbers and create package offers manually. Thankfully, Ignition has partnered with Gusto to solve that problem by automating the process for you. Ryan Embree, the Head of Partnerships for Ignition of America, addressed CPA-to-client interactions and the right way to bill clients for the services you provide. For those who don’t know, Ignition is the world’s first client engagement and commerce platform built for professionals in the world of accounting and bookkeeping.
If you want to learn more about the future of accounting and how to boost your accounting firm’s performance, be sure to take a look at all of the articles in the Gusto Next article series. For a high-level look at the Gusto Next 2021 convention, you can read the overview article on our partner blog.
The greatest challenge facing the accounting industry today
The past two years changed the way society runs on a grand scale. Remote work, Zoom meetings, and virtual client interactions have replaced the typical office setting. The accounting world had to rapidly shift with these changes by finding the right resources to transition an industry that relied heavily on person-to-person meetings and interpersonal interactions onto the web.
“From what I can see today, the biggest challenge facing our industry is the challenge of rapid change. Even though the pandemic forced us to move our businesses online and serve clients digitally together, we still have more work to do. That involves moving the industry to complete the transition into a fully digital and scalable level.”– Ryan Embree
Rather than scheduling times for clients to bring their financial information to the office, CPAs and bookkeepers had to discover new ways to work with clients and be flexible. Even though digital client billing options and bookkeeping programs existed, integrating those resources into a fully digital system remained challenging for the industry.
“We were in the midst of watching a significant digital transformation of both small businesses and accounting firms—the transition from in-person [meetings] to Zoom, from checks to online payments, and from meetups at the local pub to my least favorite, ‘online happy hours.’”– Ryan Embree
However, this challenge also opened growth opportunities, and Ignition and Gusto have opened the door to make a digital transformation easier for accounting firms. Their partnership gives accounting firms the possibility to effectively advise their clients while transitioning toward a fully digital platform:
“With challenge comes opportunity, and not only are we [at Ignition] coming alongside our accounting and bookkeeping firm customers during the digital transformation but with the industry as a whole. That’s why we’re excited to partner with a company that’s on the same mission as us: Gusto. We’ve joined forces to transform the way the accounting profession does business with their clients.”– Ryan Embree
Choosing a partner to ease the digital transition and improve client interactions through people-focused advising practices help your firm overcome the rapid change to an all-digital platform. Additionally, you gain the resources you need to grow your business through reimagined payroll and online billing templates with Gusto and Ignition.
Transform client billing with Ignition and Gusto integrations
Making a transition from traditional accounting strategies to online client advising not only enables your firm to help clients right away, but it also prepares you for the future. As technology continues to advance, the need for providing virtual accounting services will remain. Working with companies specializing in people advising is a must for adequate client interactions moving forward.
“Our collective goal is to help you future-proof your firms by reimagining payroll, unlocking a new advisory service through people advisory, and to establish recurring revenue streams to enable your growth.”– Ryan Embree
One significant way the Ignition and Gusto partnership can change how your firm works is by providing proposal templates for offering Gusto’s people advisory services to clients. Rather than breaking down each service option for clients, Ignition helps you automate the packages you offer customers and tailor your services to their needs. The templating system makes it possible for your firm to simplify your offerings and increase the value of the services you provide to your customers.
“We now offer a people advisory proposal template when you connect Ignition and Gusto. We’ll provide you with a best practice template that outlines recommended services and pricing—allowing you to offer everything from full-service payroll compliance to advisory on complex people operations with Gusto. This is key for you to quickly and easily deliver people advisory proposals to your clients.”– Ryan Embree
In addition to simplifying your Gusto packages for clients, pairing Ignition and Gusto makes it possible to automate the billing process for Gusto services. In the past, your firm needed to adjust billing for variance and headcount changes manually. Now you can automate your clients’ variable Gusto subscription fees with smart billing.
“Smart billing for Gusto will automatically calculate your client’s variable Gusto subscription fee, so you no longer have to worry about managing variable costs or changes in headcount. Whether your client has seasonal employees or employees frequently joining or leaving the business, [Ignition] will automatically sync with Gusto in real time to pull across that employee count when you’re ready to bill for services.”– Ryan Embree
Syncing your Ignition and Gusto accounts makes offering payroll, people advisory services, and billing a simplified and streamlined process for your accounting firm. These invaluable resources automate package creation and billing, so your firm no longer needs to worry about keeping up with the number of employees at your clients’ businesses or recreating Gusto package options for customers.
How Ignition’s client billing and engagement letter template process works
Connecting your Gusto and Ignition platforms is a simple process that will change how your firm bills clients for your Gusto services. The process begins by logging into your Ignition account and syncing with Gusto. When the connection happens, your client list from Gusto will automatically compile within the Ignition platform.
“Start by going into your apps tab. You’ll see Gusto as a connected app. Once you connect with Gusto, you can see that you pull clients from Gusto and unlock the people advisory packages proposal template. [From there], you can send off proposals to clients.”– Ryan Embree
The engagement letter templates allow your firm to send people advisory package proposals to clients quickly. These templates inform your customers about the packages Gusto offers their businesses with different payroll and HR benefits options.
“[After connecting to Gusto], you will select one of your Gusto clients. In the next step—along the right side [of the screen]—you’ll see the people advisory packages proposal template. Once you select a template and go into the services tab, you’ll see three service tiers for payroll benefits in the HR section. These come with service descriptions, billing types, and prices (which can be easily changed on the fly). Once you set up the template, you can send a full proposal engagement letter in a matter of minutes.”– Ryan Embree
After receiving the proposal engagement letter, your customer can select the package they want for their business. The Ignition software then automates the entire billing process for your firm:
“[Your client] will select one of the three tiers of service [outlined in the engagement letter]. From there, they will see a full break out of the services and billing types. Then they can enter payment information. Ignition will automatically collect the payments from your client, so you get paid on time every time.”– Ryan Embree
The Ignition engagement letter templates allow clients to digitally sign the proposal in addition to handling payments from clients. When the client signs the letter, Ignition automatically starts the payment process for the services the client agreed upon.
“Once the client signs and accepts, we’ll collect any upfront payments, create an invoice in your accounting system, and mark that as paid. We’ll then kick off a job into your practice management solution for people advisory. Then moving forward, we’ll automatically pull the amount for services billed on client accounts from Gusto in real time.”– Ryan Embree
The syncing of your Ignition and Gusto accounts makes it possible for you to automate, simplify, and improve the people advisory package billing process for your clients. The result is a more streamlined billing system that is easy on customers and keeps you from missing out on payment collection.
Learn more about the client billing process with Ignition integrations
Making the transition to web-connected software doesn’t need to be a challenge for your accounting firm. Working with Gusto and partnered services like Ignition can simplify the way you handle payroll, HR, and billing for clients—without the need for face-to-face interactions or sending payments through the mail.
If you’re curious about the future of accounting, watch the entire Gusto Next 2021 presentation here. Additionally, the Gusto Next 2021 wrap article is a convenient guide for everything we covered in this year’s convention. You can also join our waitlist to be notified about next year’s Gusto Next, where we’ll offer more solutions for simplifying and improving your firm’s client interactions.