We started hosting the Gusto Partner Advisory Council (GPAC) Summit in 2020 with the intention of fostering a culture of growth,  trust, and collaboration with the accounting professionals at the core of our business. We are committed  to building strong partnerships by reaching out and listening to the community we serve. And the results? They’ve been nothing short of magic. But what is GPAC, exactly?

GPAC is a group of leaders from across the accounting profession who share their professional expertise, insights, and feedback with Gusto’s leadership team.  

Every year, GPAC convenes for a summit, which consists of workshops, classes, and relationship-building sessions. The program offers a chance for our high-level partners to connect, network, ideate, and share—and gives us at Gusto a unique opportunity to strengthen our product roadmap and connect with the people who rely on our products.  

I felt the Gusto team was listening and we saw how they worked together to accomplish goals. The same goes for my GPAC partners. They are great minds and I am so privileged to meet and collaborate with them.

Marjorie Diephouse, Marlandale 

GPAC has inspired  a range of improvements, from game-changing big ideas like People Advisory to small-yet-important things like a better email preference center and customized withholdings.  

The invaluable input we get from GPAC ensures we are building both for and with our community—and this means building customer-centric products that solve tangible pain points.  

What were the big takeaways from this year’s summit? 

Throughout this year’s summit, senior leaders from across Gusto led interactive workshops receiving input from our partners on our product and program roadmaps. We got feedback on the features you’re looking for, specific insights into complex issues like handling benefits and R&D tax credits, dug into pain points you’ve been feeling in customer support, and learned how to better build—and stay true to—Gusto’s brand.

Super user permissions

The #1 takeaway this year was that we need to empower our partners with “super user” permissions. Our partners want to elevate how they serve their clients by offering them strategic, forward-looking business advice. Since they use Gusto for many clients, frustrations or manual tasks within the platform have a multiplier effect. Resolving issues instead of taking on high value advisory services slows them down. The super user permissions would provide partners with more control functionalities, which translates to faster resolution of issues and improved efficiency all around. 

Ideas included specific actions and custom workflows such as making one-time overrides on certain client payrolls. All-in-all, this would save time for their firms and better enable them to be the front-line service providers for their clients. To help streamline workflows even further, they’re also looking for improved customer support processes and extended hours for help. 

Industry-specific offerings

All of our partners agree, “Offering payroll isn’t about the sexy things. It’s about getting all the irritating things right.” As it is, they are spending a lot of time OFF the platform with compliance actions then coming back to Gusto. As we scale, they’d like us to develop specializations for different industry verticals including construction, healthcare, and restaurants. In addition to the added functionality, they want to be informed and involved as Gusto continues to develop its product offerings for those industries—especially those with complex compliance obligations.  

Expanded advisory guidance

Since accountants are expected to guide clients around tax implications and cost forecasts for benefits, they would like Gusto to give them insights into which clients would be a good fit for benefits, along with more financial reports and benchmarking to help inform decision-making. Benefits are a key component of People Advisory, and our accountants need more support from Gusto.

We heard the same messaging when it comes to R&D tax credits. They are looking for Gusto to provide information, support, and status updates. They want us to help educate them to better understand which clients are likely to qualify and why, but they want to be the one to let clients know they may be eligible for a big tax break. After all, they are the accountants! 

I heard from so many GPAC members just how amazing and valuable the experience was. The insights and ideas will be instrumental in helping shape a future program that is a better fit for partners and clients.

Leah Brite, Head of Integrated Marketing

The themes are easy to see: we’ve trained our partners on becoming People Advisors, now they’re looking for more robust support from within Gusto’s platform to help them be the best People Advisors they can be. We hear you, loud and clear.

Staying true to who we are 

These sessions were so helpful and insightful, and there is no better way to understand where we can improve and how we can take our product to the next level than in-depth feedback from customers and partners. Of course, my favorite part about GPAC isn’t all the incredible things we learn about our accountant partners and how to best serve their needs in the coming year. It’s all the connections we get to make that could never be replaced by a Zoom call or emails. 

A group of people poses together at GPAC.

This year, we all participated in a storytelling course led by the incredible Elliott Morin that culminated in everyone creating a 1-minute video asset to capture their origin stories. It was wonderful to see our partners opening up, taking risks, and learning more about themselves and the power of their unique stories. On top of that, we got to do an improv class at a local theater, followed by a fun night of karaoke. We wrapped the Summit with Gusto Academy Awards and a delightful dinner hosted at our Denver HQ. There was laughter, connection, and collaboration every step of the way. 

A person sits in front of a camera.

While Gusto has grown over the past few years, remaining people-centric is at the core of who we are. It’s not just a slogan, but the way we do business. In fact, keeping our heart and human-centered focus was another big takeaway from the summit. Our accountant partners will always be at the center of our business. And the annual GPAC Summit is a core piece of how we build and maintain that community, deepen those relationships, and listen when it matters most.   

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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