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Gusto Next – The Future of Accounting

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Gusto Next is the conference for accountants. On July 30th, 2021, the Gusto team took to Zoom to discuss the future of the accounting industry and to unveil tools that are revolutionizing accounting work.

This advice is based on Gusto Next 2021. Join us for 2022!

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If you prefer to watch the video, click here! Or read on to learn more about the future of accounting with Gusto.

Our keynote speaker of this event was the incredible Lexi Reese. Formerly as the VP of Google Global Sales and Strategy, Lexi Reese continues her incredible leadership and advocacy for small businesses and accounting professionals here at Gusto. As Gusto’s Chief Operating Officer, she leads the company’s business teams, including Marketing, Sales, Customer Experience, and Business Operations. 

Needless to say, the Gusto team couldn’t be more fortunate to work alongside Lexi day-in and day-out. We were thrilled to have her as the keynote speaker for this Gusto Next event. In this article, you’ll hear from her directly about the future of accounting with Gusto, and how we’re revolutionizing the discipline by focusing on a core element — people. 

Today, you’ll hear about how your practice can use Gusto’s People Platform as a springboard to transform payroll services into a more meaningful experience — an experience that is completely new and desperately needed in the accounting profession and small business life. Even amid COVID-19, Gusto is committed to making the future of accounting a bright one. Keep reading to learn how.

At Gusto, work empowers a better life

Gusto’s mission is to create a world where work empowers a better life. And what does that mean exactly? It means that we’re dedicated to making work meaningful for everyone, everywhere. 

For most people, work takes up a large part of their lives and most of their day. So, why not provide the best possible working environment for those people? We help businesses onboard, pay, insure, and take care of their hard-working teams. 

Payroll is the entry point because it is the foundation of the economy, and it centers business operations around people.

Lexi Reese, Gusto COO

Gusto is a people-platform, meaning that we focus on the most important aspect of any business — the people. We love serving small businesses, their employees, and the family members whom those employees support with their income, insurance, retirement, and college saving plans. 

One of the most important ways we serve our clients is through you — our wonderful accounting partners. We are so deeply grateful for all the work you do, and we’re honored to be partnering with you, serving small businesses across the nation. Today, we’re excited to share with you the new tools and programs you can use to grow your clients’ businesses and your own firms by expanding your services. 

Here at Gusto, we see a huge opportunity for service expansion among accountants — People Advisory. Your clients already see you as financial advisors, but what if you could do more? 

New Gusto product features responding to COVID-19

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the economy. More than 100,000 small businesses have had no choice but to close their doors since the pandemic started. And even more shocking — that number could reach 1,000,000 in 2021. 

“That’s nearly 17% of all businesses with less than 100 employees in the U.S., gone. Gone. Now, you know better than anyone how drastic and far-reaching the consequences of those closures will be [and] have been. And the consequences are even [direr] for Black and Latinx businesses who have been historically and systemically underserved. At Gusto, we wake up every day determined to bend this curve for small businesses because we believe the health and the security of our nation depend on it.”

Lexi Reese, Gusto COO
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During our Gusto Live event, accounting partner Nayo Carter-Gray shared how COVID-19 has completely changed the way she does business. Several clients have come to her and sought her advice about changing business models. How are small businesses supposed to provide for their employees when their own business revenue has severely plummeted (or demolished altogether)?

Not only are small businesses struggling to give out paychecks, but they’re also faced with the decision of dropping health insurance for their employees — in a global pandemic. So far, 5.4 million people (and this number is projected to increase) have been stripped of health insurance during the pandemic. Others have been laid off completely. Nayo has felt first-hand the stress of her clients and is doing everything to help them stay afloat and provide for their employees.

[Before COVID-19,] I was used to only looking at the ‘numbers’ and not advising on the people side of the equation.

Nayo Carter-Gray 

Like Nayo, we believe that employees aren’t numbers on a spreadsheet. They’re living, breathing humans who have to provide for their personal wellbeing, as well as the wellbeing of their families. Case in point — our COO, Lexi Reese, just had a family health-scare, and if she hadn’t had health insurance, the financial consequences could have been devastating: 

“I just had a health scare with my husband over the last couple of weeks. He went into the hospital three times, [and] we had six different diagnostic tests. Had we not had health insurance, the expenses of all of this would’ve crushed us as a two-income family.”

Lexi Reese, Gusto COO
A woman siting and working at a table with a standing beside her supporting her while both wearing masks

As a small business owner, what choice would you make in this situation? Do you not take care of your loved ones, or do you go into financial distress and ruin? How can you continue to provide health insurance during this global pandemic while staying in business? And as an accountant, how do you advise your clients in these situations? 

Many of you accountants have been taking on clients’ stress as your own. You’ve been working longer hours and canceled time-off. You may be even losing sleep from stress, and you haven’t been able to rest your mind since all of this started. Right now, the future of accounting may seem pretty bleak.

But don’t lose hope. Here at Gusto, we want to create a brighter future for accountants and the small businesses that they serve. We’re offering new products and services, ones that will not only assist accountants and their clients during COVID-19 but will also assist them in whatever lies ahead. 

Over the past few months at Gusto, we have launched more than 40 new product features, from supporting new emergency paid-leave laws to accessing federal tax credits to establishing a dedicated small business COVID-19 resource hub. We’ve created partnerships with leading fintech companies and CDFIs, as well as the major banks, to deliver more than $2.3 billion in payroll protection plan aid to our small business customers. And we’ve lobbied at every level to fix systemic issues in how small businesses receive aid and are supported.

At Gusto, we are committed to delivering peace of mind, resilience, and new revenue opportunities for our accounting partners so that together we can serve the small business community. 

The Future of accounting for small businesses

During unprecedented times such as these, small businesses need more help, expertise, and guidance than ever before. This is where you — our accountant partners — come in. 

Small businesses who work with accountants grow their net profit by 23%. Given how razor-thin margins small businesses are operating on, 23% is life-changing.

Lexi Reese, Gusto COO

As accountants, you have a major impact on a small business’s wellbeing. While the government provided assistance via the Payroll Protection Plan, EIDL, and the CARES Act, keeping small businesses open during COVID-19, these programs have just been bandages to a much larger problem. Small businesses need guidance on how to both survive and thrive while taking care of their employees along the way. This is where you come in. 

Even before COVID-19, there was a need for accountants to advise their clients on more than finances. The pandemic has simply magnified that need, giving accountants an enormous opportunity to make positive change. Here at Gusto, we believe that every accountant should also be a holistic business advisor. 

I was blown away by this stat — 72% of small businesses have switched accountants because they failed to give proactive advice. Now, it’s hard to switch accountants, so proactive advice on the thing that people need the most help on — their teams right now — is critical. This is inclusive of a people strategy that’s now become a core expectation and is here to stay. And through providing people advice and business recovery services, a new area for revenue growth has been brought into sharp relief.

Lexi Reese, Gusto COO

While recent data shows that HR advisory services make up only 5% of accountant revenue, many of your peers have embraced the role and said that it’s the difference between being proactive and being reactive. By being proactive, accountants can keep their clients from calling them in a panic. They can solve problems before they arise, and their clients can focus more on their business and employee wellbeing. 

Many of you have already been playing this expanded role as your client’s advisor — you’ve been leveraging all the capabilities the cloud and other technologies have to offer. By making your firm more efficient and productive, you spend far less time producing the same or higher volume of work and deliver higher-value services more accurately.

Unfortunately, the tools and training to do such advisory have not existed for a long time — until now. We’re proud to have launched the People Advisory Program, powered by Gusto. 

Introducing Gusto’s People Advisory Certification course

This platform is truly the first of its kind, using payroll as an avenue to deepen advisory services. By enrolling in the People Advisory Certification course, you will receive the tools you need to bring payroll, benefits, and people operations into your day-to-day advice for your clients. 

After becoming certified, you will become a full business advisor, using your talent to make the best possible choices for your clients regarding payroll, benefits, and budgets. These conversations will not only foster greater trust between you and your clients, but they’ll also prove that you care about the most important part of any business — the people.

Interested in learning more? Watch the full Gusto Next or check out this article featuring Gusto’s COO Lexi Reese and Partner Education Manager Jaclyn Anku to learn more about the specifics of the program. 

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