Industry Trends

New Report: One-Third of Your Clients Want People Advice

Christine Farrier Head of Channel Marketing at Gusto 
An image that says Businesses want your advice on people and culture. Webinar

The employer-employee relationship is changing and accountants are playing an increasingly important role. 

With 8,000 new pages of legislation, 5,000 new pages of IRS guidance, and the need for countless new benefits from mental health breaks to remote work stipends and four-day workweeks, employers are inundated. They need experts with financial acumen who already know their company to advise on everything from who to hire to how to create a thriving culture. And, they’ll pay for that advice. 

In this article, I’ll share some of the top findings from Gusto’s newest report, The Guidance Gap, and if you want more, watch our webinar below, where Gusto’s Caleb Newquist, and Carla Caldwell, CEO of Caldwell Consulting & Training, walk you through it. 

31% of employers want their accountant’s people operations advice

It’s among their top asks — second only to help with finance and accounting. Other independent research also confirms this relationship. According to the American Institute of CPAs, accounting firms that offer advisory services are in high demand and can increase their revenue by 50%

A 2021 study by the financial data security company Digits also found that 72% of business owners see their accountant or finance team as a key strategic partner, and 88% use their accountant to support key strategic planning.

41% of employers would pay their accountant for people advice

Data from this survey confirms that people advice is something employers are willing to pay for. This appears to overturn a long-held assumption among accounting professionals that employers might see this as a “nice to have but not necessary” offering. Amidst the “big quit,” “great resignation,” or whatever term you prefer, employers will take the help.

Within that broad category, employers say they’d be willing to pay for advice on payroll, onboarding, company culture, team morale, and remote/hybrid management, in that order.

32% say their accountant could charge them 10% more for culture advice

Culture is an especially hot topic today. Employers are expected to offer much more than a paycheck, and this presents an opportunity for accounting firms to move upmarket. 

Fifty percent of companies with 26 or more employees were willing to pay more for advice, in contrast with 42% of smaller companies. This suggests that as companies grow in size, and people operations grow more complex, people advice becomes a more pronounced need.

Train your accountants to offer people advice

Your clients need more than an accountant. They need a People Advisor. And Gusto has released a training and certification program to help. Train your team as People Advisors and you can position them to open a new stream of revenue that makes you even more valuable—and helps you unlock that extra 10% of spend. 

Want more data? Want to know the difference between people operations and HR? Attend the webinar with Caleb and Carla. 

Christine Farrier
Christine Farrier I lead Gusto's channel marketing and communications efforts focused on audiences like accountants and ecosystem partners. I'm an NYC-based urban explorer whose social media handle ought to be "boring but exceedingly relevant." Connect with me on LinkedIn


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