Gusto for Partners

Introducing People Advisory to Your Firm: Getting the Whole Team Onboard

Jaclyn Anku Partner Education, Gusto  
Introducing People Advisory to your firm - Gusto

Once you’ve sold your clients on the value of People Advisory—paving the way for a $1M a year revenue stream—the hardest work is done. But there is one important thing left to do: spread the word at your firm to get your entire team excited about the opportunity.

People Advisory? Tell Me More.

People Advisory is a consultative service in which accountants pair their financial expertise with people operations to guide clients on building a great place to work. 

By putting people at the heart of your advice, you can help your clients and their teams with advice on payroll, benefits, and people operations that they need now. 

This helps your business in a few key ways. It showcases your firm as an innovative practice, demonstrates exciting areas for growth, and points to new paths for career development. The goal is to create a team that’s all-in and fully engaged, enhancing services provided to clients as well as bolstering employee retention at your firm.

What’s the best way to communicate People Advisory to your team? 

First, start with the ‘Why?’ Explain why you’re launching the services before going into the detail of what they involve. Describe how People Advisory aligns with your firm’s vision and what benefits it will bring for your clients and your firm.

Afterwards, be sure to answer the ‘What’s in it for me?’. Explain how your team stands to gain from People Advisory, in terms of skills-building, long-term career trajectory, and day-to-day experience at work. 

You can communicate this to your team in many different ways, from a presentation at a team meeting to a well-structured memo. Here, we break down how you can structure your communication, no matter what form it takes. 

The most important thing: make sure communication is two-way. Ensure that colleagues can give you feedback, ask questions, and express any concerns. Consider hosting drop-in office hours and meeting with stakeholders across the firm—from sales and business development to other advisory teams. The more people who are excited about People Advisory, the more successful it will be.  

Let’s go through the team communication strategy, piece by piece.  

Executive summary

In a few short sentences, explain what you want your colleagues to remember above all. Something like this:

The Cloud Accounting Team is launching People Advisory services this Fall. People Advisory is a differentiated, value-added service that goes beyond payroll to meet the needs of clients as it relates to supporting their team through payroll, benefits, and people operations. By the end of year one, our team of two will generate an additional $27k in annual recurring revenue (ARR) and $55k in consulting fees.

The People Advisory opportunity

Frame the problem People Advisory is solving (for your clients and your firm) and explain why now is the right time to launch. Address the ‘What’s in it for me’ from your team’s perspective. It could look like this:

Given the recent pandemic and challenging business environment, the Cloud Accounting Team receives daily inbound requests for people operations support above and beyond our payroll service. We are launching People Advisory Packages to meet client demand for these services, create advisory opportunities for our team, and ensure clients recognize the value in the great work we do. 

Competitive landscape

Next, define what type of people operations support your competitors provide, whether they’re in your local area or serve a similar clientele. This will help the team understand how People Advisory helps create a competitive advantage for your firm in an exciting area of growth. For example:

Many cloud accounting firms in Dallas offer financial advisory services. However, very few provide people operations support or People Advisory services. Market research shows that most clients need support growing and nurturing their team. By addressing this gap in the market, our firm can be the leader in People Advisory Services to win new clients, upsell existing clients, and drive ARR for the business.

Solution—People Advisory services

Now that you’ve defined the need for People Advisory services and the favorable competitive landscape for your firm, it’s time to get into specifics. This is your moment to set out what People Advisory services are, which clients they are a good fit for, and how this will drive business growth. 

To differentiate ourselves from other firms and provide people operations advice that our clients need now, we are launching People Advisory Services, consisting of Packages sold on a recurring subscription basis. 

People Advisory Packages cover three tiers of service: Essential, Advanced, and Premium. With these, we can tailor the service to the widest possible range of clients, from those just starting out with their first hire to a growing business of more than 50 employees. 

Goals and impact

Based on your audience, this section gives space to clearly communicate your goals for the new service. It enables you to set expectations and connect the dots between People Advisory and business goals.

x# of clients resulting in an increase of $x ARR

Within our first year of launch, our goals are the following: 

  • Package adoption
    • Essential: X# clients resulting in an increase of $Xk ARR 
    • Advanced: X# clients resulting in an increase of $Xk ARR 
    • Premium: X# clients resulting in an increase of $Xk ARR 
  • Total business impact
    • +$Xk ARR via Packages

The team

Last but not least, introduce those who will take on key roles to launch the new service line: the faces of People Advisory at your firm.

To launch People Advisory services, we are starting with a small but mighty team from the Cloud Accounting Department: 

People Advisory Sponsor: [Name, experience, and new responsibilities]

People Advisory Champion: [Name, experience, and new responsibilities]

Since People Advisory is new to your firm, your team may also be curious to see research, supporting documents, and other background materials. You could provide these in a follow-up email after your presentation or in the final section of your slide presentation.

And with that, your team will have a great intro to your firm’s vision for People Advisory.

The Time Is Now

In a time of heightened awareness around physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing, small business employers need the help of a People Advisor to create a modern workplace that attracts and retains high performing talent. Through reimagining your payroll practice you have the opportunity to meet the needs of clients head-on while also realizing important opportunities for your own team and firm.

Gusto’s People Advisory Accelerator Program provides the training and tools needed for firm leaders to develop People Advisory packages, and to staff, price, and sell them so that you can drive recurring revenue at your firm. In addition to teaching best practices, the program provides 25+ turnkey tools and templates so that you can implement what you’re learning, immediately. You’ll even earn 4 CPE credits in the process. 

People Advisory Certified and Accelerator logos

You and your team can build your foundation on people operations best practices through becoming People Advisor Certified and earn 5 CPE credits. Learning the fundamentals of payroll, benefits, and people operations provides the knowledge and confidence to deliver a consistently high-value service.

By launching your People Advisory practice you’ll join a community of 2,000+ Certified People Advisors who are a part of the positive change the accounting profession and economy needs now.

Jaclyn Anku
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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