Do you want to know how to pitch Gusto benefits to your clients? Traditionally, the cost of benefits has been out of reach for most employers, leading to a number of negative consequences such as employee dissatisfaction and high turnover rates. When you show your clients that Gusto’s payroll and benefits, specialist support, and competitive benefits bring value to their companies, you’ll help shape a positive future for businesses and their employees.
Gusto is your partner in accounting and advisory. We’re excited to partner once again with CPA Academy to bring you the information you need to succeed. The webinar, “Advise Clients on Benefits With a Simple Framework,” featured two incredibly knowledgeable accountants from Gusto’s team: Jaclyn Anku and Caleb Newquist. The duo talked about the cost of benefits, Gusto’s low-cost and premium benefits, and how benefits administration software makes life easier.
Jaclyn Anku is the Partner Education Manager at Gusto and is an expert in financial literacy for small businesses. She previously worked as an SMB consultant. Caleb Newquist is the Editor-at-Large at Gusto and combines his accounting background and content expertise to educate and assist accountants.
The barriers to providing benefits
Advisors who do a great job selling the perks of providing employee benefits—such as employee retention, more satisfied customers, and a more dedicated staff—still come up against significant barriers. You may explain to your clients the ins and outs of how offering benefits will impact them in positive ways, but if clients don’t think they can afford it, you’ll be wasting your time. That’s why your job is to not only explain why they should provide benefits but how it is financially possible to provide them.
Before you can make the pitch, however, you should know exactly what they’re up against. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that the annual cost of an employer-sponsored plan was $20,576 in 2019. Of that $20,576, employees paid an average of $6,000 toward their premium. Employers were responsible for the remaining $14,576, which lines up with the Affordable Care Act’s 70% premium contribution requirement.
If a business has anywhere from five to twenty employees, that adds up to a lot of money. It’s no wonder most businesses don’t think they can afford insurance. As an advisor, your job is to show them it is possible, and it’s a matter of scaling.
“This is where you come in. Maybe [premium benefits] are out of financial reach, and that’s okay. They can grow into it when they’re ready and when it’s fiscally responsible for them to do so, but it doesn’t mean that they can’t offer benefits. You can introduce this concept of low-cost benefits.”– Jaclyn Anku
As an advisor, you get to be in the role of helping more businesses tackle the previously insurmountable challenge of providing the benefits their staff needs. You have a great opportunity to bring value to your clients and their entire teams.
How Gusto can surpass cost barriers
Part of the job of an advisor is to educate clients about the options they may not even know about. Gusto offers a few different options for those who can offer very little or even nothing at all.
- Health reimbursement (known as QSEHRA)
- 401k plans
- 529 plans
These low-cost, high-impact offerings allow for greater flexibility than other plans. Employers pay a modest monthly fee and then choose how much they want to contribute beyond that. When presenting this option, remember that low-cost doesn’t mean low-value. It’s common for people to assume that when something isn’t expensive, there must be something wrong with it. You’re offering more than just basic benefits by offering this plan—you’re creating a sense of trust and well-being between you and your staff.
“The value of benefits is multi-dimensional. [It’s] so much more than just what shows up on the pay stub. It’s that feeling that, as an employee, my employer cares. They care enough to provide a 401k plan, [and] they care enough to provide a QSEHRA. That’s so human to want to know that … [your employer] cares enough about you and your family to invest in your health and well-being.”– Jaclyn Anku
That’s right—there is such a thing as no-cost benefits. Employers pay nothing. There are no set-up or administration fees, and there’s no contribution required. With this plan, employees can get a paycheck in advance, a savings account, and a paycheck splitter that can automatically store savings without your team members needing to think about it.
“Each of these benefits helps employees to access, manage, and save their paycheck so that they can have an immediate increase in financial stability and security. This really ties back to those values … of building personal prosperity.”– Jaclyn Anku
Financial security is critical to people’s welfare, yet with so many Americans living paycheck to paycheck, it’s often out of reach. This simple benefit of having access to emergency funds via an early paycheck, coupled with easy ways to build savings, is powerful. People can breathe more easily knowing that they can get support in an emergency, and they will be grateful that their employers understand how important this is.
“You really paint [a] picture for your clients … first by starting with why benefits matter, and then [you can explain] that there’s so much more than group health insurance. There are premium, low-cost, [and] no-cost benefits, and they can pick and choose which ones they will use to create this holistic benefits package that they can grow into over time.”– Jaclyn Anku
When pitching benefits, remember to continuously touch on the value benefits bring at every stage of the conversation. In the conversation, you’re hooking them with why benefits are essential. You’ll then explain what the benefits options are. Next, you’ll discuss options for when they can roll out the benefits they chose. Finally, you’ll get into the how, which is the realm of licensed benefits advisors at Gusto.
When you get to the why, really emphasize to them that Gusto is committed to helping even the most cash-strapped companies take care of their teams. In doing so, you’ll help them gain confidence in Gusto and spread Gusto’s core value as a “people-first” company.
Clients who can afford premium benefits, or may be able to afford them in the future, can look forward to offering a number of great solutions.
- Small group health insurance
- Life and disability insurance
- Flexible spending accounts
- Health savings account
- Commuter benefits
For the premium packages, Gusto offers everything the top of the market offers and more. Gusto’s commitment to being a people platform that values employees’ well-being as much as wealth has never been more on display than in the premium offerings.
Why work with Gusto
Caleb shared the story of a friend who was happy with his payroll provider, but really wanted to offer benefits. He asked if he’d be able to get benefits through Gusto and keep his payroll provider. When he found out this wasn’t possible, he was disappointed, but Caleb shared with him just how much it pays to integrate payroll and benefits. In the end, he migrated to Gusto.
“He [was] between a rock and a hard place, and what I just told him is, ‘If you want to provide some kind of benefits [and have a payroll provider], usually having these things work together is the best way to go.’ I hooked him up with somebody at Gusto to talk through a situation.”– Caleb Newquist
Gusto has you covered at every stage in your advisory as a licensed benefits broker. The only requirement is that clients must also use Gusto payroll to receive benefits. There are a number of great reasons to do this. Convincing your client to switch to Gusto will be easy if you hit on a few important points.
“It is way more time-efficient … when Gusto automatically handles payroll deductions for medical, dental, and vision insurance. It automatically handles deductions, so employee contributions can also be taken out automatically for tax-advantaged accounts like HSAs. You don’t have to reconcile two things, [and] you don’t have to go into their payroll product on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. It’s just done.”– Jaclyn Anku
Furthermore, integration makes administering benefits easier and more streamlined. When clients manage payroll via the people platform, they can turn to Gusto’s year-round support. This will help with the nitty-gritty details about benefits that are too complex to tackle on your own.
Benefits packages are also much easier to manage when synced with payroll because you can enroll new employees and make any changes to coverage directly from a single place. This prevents anything from slipping through the cracks and saves clients time and energy.
Finally, using an integrated platform like Gusto means you’ll get specialist support at every stage along the way, so there’s a dedicated care team available every day of the year for you, your clients, and their employees. This eliminates stress, confusion, and complex decision-making.
Learn more about why people advisory is the “new normal”
The cost of benefits for most employers has been out of reach historically. Most of your clients probably assume the cost of benefits is unobtainable. As an advisor and partner with Gusto, you can help drive the trend toward normalizing cost-effective employee benefits. Present Gusto’s low-cost and no-cost options and emphasize how the integration of payroll and benefits will make life easier for your clients.
Gusto’s mission is to create a world that empowers a better life. Our goal is to help you bring more value to your clients and their companies as an advisor. If you haven’t already, check out our other articles based on the same webinar: “Why People Advisory Is the ‘New Normal’” and “How to Frame Employee Benefits for Your Clients.” You can also watch the entire webinar here.
Becoming a Gusto Partner can make your life easier. Get payroll and HR support for your team and our new advisory revenue stream for your practice through our people advisory platform. As a Gusto partner, you’ll also get tools to help you expand your accounting practice and offer your clients new insights, plus a free payroll subscription for your own accounting firm. Sign up today!