Do you want to assist your clients beyond traditional accounting? 

Offering consulting services to your clients can help them save money and create a positive work environment for their employees. It’s becoming more commonplace for accountants to provide People Advisory services, but did you know that Gusto offers a People Advisory Certification? Earning the People Advisory Certification is a great way to start providing people-based advisory services for your clients.

Gusto, along with our partners at CPA Academy, hosted an excellent webinar all about People Advisory services on August 26, 2020, titled “Introduction to People Advisory Powered by Gusto.” You can watch the full webinar here

The webinar featured an excellent panel discussion that included contributing author and Partner Education Manager at Gusto Jaclyn Anku, founder and CEO of Acuity Kenji Kuramoto, and Fintech Entrepreneur Michael Ly. They offered helpful answers to frequently asked questions regarding People Advisory that will help you decide whether providing consulting services to your clients is right for you. 

In addition to this article, Part Three, be sure to check out Part One and Part Two of this webinar series. Part One covers Gusto’s mission and values, and Part Two introduces Gusto’s People Advisory services. 

In this part, you’ll learn all about the benefits of becoming a People Advisor, how Gusto’s People Advisory certification works, and how you can become a people-centered advisor to your clients–today. 

Why should I become a People Advisor? 

When you become a People Advisor through Gusto, you’ll gain essential knowledge that you can use to help your clients. Have you ever found yourself uncomfortable discussing a topic with a client because it was outside your field of expertise? When you join Gusto’s People Advisory services, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills needed to advise your clients on several different people-based topics: 

“[Accountants] don’t always feel very comfortable going outside of what’s considered our domain of expertise. … What being [a] People Advisor and going through the certification has meant to me is, it just gives that confidence to where I’m no longer going to shy away from those conversations [about HR]. … I can lean into those conversations a bit more, now with confidence.”

Kenji Kuramoto

Becoming a People Advisor enables you to advise your clients on various subjects, including payroll, HR, and 401(k)s. When you offer advisory services, you’re able to help small businesses with more than just accounting, and potentially gain additional revenue streams for your firm.

How can Gusto’s People Advisory services help you assist your clients? 

Gusto’s People Advisory services can help you advise your clients on loan and grant applications and employee relations. 

Kenji observed that when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, accountants were pushed into the position of being advisors for their clients: 

Gusto People Advisory Panel

“Even though we’ve always felt well equipped to do more advisory or more complex work, it was just different because suddenly we felt like we were thrust into this People Advisory. … I don’t think that we ever necessarily thought of ourselves as People Advisors. … And now next thing you know, we’re thrust right in the middle of it with the primary job of saving jobs for individuals, and helping them, their families, and the community.”

Kenji Kuramoto

Small businesses needed assistance with loan applications like the Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) to stay afloat, and they turned to their accountants for help. After the initial stage of loan application assistance, small businesses continued needing guidance from accountants: 

“It feels like PPP was also just this tip of the iceberg. It’s like, ‘Help me get through the motions of applying for this loan. And also while you’re at it, I need a lot of other advice on my team and my people.”

Jaclyn Anku 

The pandemic led to accountants consulting small businesses on various people-based subjects, but it will continue long after COVID-19. To help you become a better advisor for your clients, check out our People Advisory Certification program, where you’ll become an expert at various people-based advisory services like HR, payroll, and benefits

Can People Advisory improve your clients’ profitability? 

When you offer People Advisory services to your clients, you gain a more holistic view of your clients’ work environment, which benefits them when combined  with your traditional accounting skills:

“As accounting professionals, we really have a significant role to play that doesn’t just live on the financial statements, or in a debit, credit, or sitting inside of an accounting system. … I think [we] as accountants can maybe more comfortably step into People Advisory [by] just thinking about where some of the employee metrics can come in different aspects of the financial statements as a way to bring a different lens and a little bit more visibility into what’s happening with an employer’s people.”

Kenji Kuramoto

The well-being of employees plays a crucial role in the success of small businesses. When you become a People Advisor, you’ll be able to advise your clients in both their finances and their work environments, so your clients can be better equipped to retain employees and increase profitability. 

How does Gusto prepare you to become a People Advisor? 

When you join Gusto’s People Advisory program, you’ll gain access to essential tools for helping your clients: 

Gusto People Advisory Panel

“The training that Gusto has provided and the certification [have] really been able to give us a language that we didn’t really have before. … Gusto has introduced concepts for us in language that helped us frame our services in a way that is unique [and] helped us propose it to clients during this pandemic in a different way that we hadn’t been able to, especially around how do we align employee incentives, how do we align employee pay, their growth plans, and aligning that with financials that we’re already comfortable with?”

Michael Ly

Gusto teaches accountants how to advise clients effectively in developing a positive and profitable work environment. With our certification program, you’ll gain the confidence to help your clients in real-world situations. 

“I can tell you by stepping into the People Advisory program and specifically in the certification is that you get that confidence. You go, ‘Wait a minute. I just learned how to do this, and I got certified, and I went to training, and I’ve got lots of resources. [I have] team members at Gusto who I can call on.”

Kenji Kuramoto

Gusto’s People Advisory program provides its partners with practical training to advise their clients with confidence. You also gain access to a full-service network of experts ready to  serve your clients’ unique needs. 

What is the cost of Gusto’s People Advisory Certification, and what does it include?

The certification is 100% free when you join our partner program

“It is absolutely free. We want you to have that knowledge, and confidence, and skillset. We’re just excited for you to take it.”

Jaclyn Anku

When you partner with us, you’ll gain access to our certification program, and you’ll also gain access to Gusto Pro. Gusto Pro features seamless workflows and top-quality software integration. You’ll be able to stay up-to-date with all of your clients with our client dashboard, and you can create consolidated reports instantly for loan and grant applications: 

“You can use bulk actions in bulk reports to download information across your entire client base in just a few clicks. As an example, you can generate a single consolidated report that contains all the necessary client information needed to apply for relief under the Paycheck Protection Program in just a few seconds.”

Jaclyn Anku

When you sign up for Gusto’s People Advisory services, you’ll immediately gain access to essential tools through Gusto Pro that will optimize your firm. 

How can I become a People Advisor today? 

You can start offering your clients advisory services today without signing up for our program, but the best way you can gain the expertise to advise your clients effectively is by partnering with Gusto. 

People Advisory is a journey, and we’re here to support you each step of the way. The best way to get started is by signing up for Gusto’s partner program. And if you’re already a partner, I encourage you and your team to get certified so you can build that foundational knowledge.

Jaclyn Anku

When you partner with Gusto and go through our certification program, you’ll build a strong foundation for becoming a People Advisor for your clients. Once you complete our certification program, you can start using your knowledge in the professional world. 

Regardless of whether you decide to go through our certification before advising clients, you need to transition into this new field of expertise gradually: 

“Start leaning into new types of questions or new types of discovery to really get your confidence up around that area, and see what it leads to. I think that’s a very low-risk way to test the waters without having to commit to building a People Advisory package or charging for it. And then as you start getting the hang of it, you can go deeper.”

Jaclyn Anku

Rather than immediately offering a People Advisory package in a new area, transition into it to build confidence and obtain more real-world knowledge. Once you’ve explored a new area of expertise in a professional environment, you can then start charging clients for it as a separate service. 

Learn more about Gusto’s People Advisory services

We are so appreciative to Jaclyn Anku, Kenji Kuramoto, and Michael Ly for hosting this terrific webinar all about People Advisory! If you want to learn more about People Advisory and how partnering with Gusto will benefit your firm, watch the full webinar here

Offering People Advisory services is an important step forward for your firm. You’ll develop the ability to guide your clients during this unprecedented crisis, and you’ll also gain additional revenue streams by offering services outside of traditional accounting. When you partner with Gusto, you’ll gain crucial tools for providing advisory services, including advisory certification, access to a team of experts, and invaluable software tools for your workflow. If you’re ready to step into the future of accounting, become a Gusto partner here

Gusto Editors Gusto Editors, contributing authors on Gusto, provide actionable tips and expert advice on HR and payroll for successful business management.
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