Gusto for Partners

How Tina Gregory uses people advisory to help clients access benefits

Jaclyn Anku Partner Education, Gusto  

Meet Tina Gregory, the systems genius behind the success of countless startups

Name: Tina Gregory

Firm: Early Growth Financial Services (EGFS), Gusto Gold Partner  

Firm member role: Systems Manager and Consulting CFO 

Number  of Clients: Over 800 

Tina Gregory is a dynamic force. Her bright blue eyes hint at her clairvoyance, and she can’t seem to get words out fast enough. That’s because she has a lot to say about the topic at hand: ensuring employees’ physical and financial wellness.   

Tina brings her energy, passion, and knowledge of systems, technology, and accounting processes to bear as a Systems Manager and Consulting CFO at Early Growth Financial Services (EGFS). EGFS is a strategic financial accounting and tax advisory firm that focuses on startups at various stages. 

As a Consulting CFO, Tina works closely with founders and entrepreneurs on their finance and business strategy. Tina believes the most essential part of any business strategy centers around its people. This was a lesson she learned early on in her career as a young staff accountant at an aluminum mill. It became clear to her that everyone’s role—from the humblest of factory workers to seasoned executives—was equally important for the factory’s success. 

Those early lessons still guide Tina as she helps startups from around the world. People come first. 

Become a People Advisor and start putting people first.

Using people advisory to help clients develop a holistic benefits offering 

As a people advisor, Tina uses the principles from Gusto’s People Advisory Certification to help clients understand why employer-sponsored benefits matter, what a holistic benefits package can entail, when to roll out an offering, and how to work with Gusto.  

She’s currently working with a fintech company that has experienced tremendous growth over the past three years. As the team has scaled from 2 founders to 15 employees to a team of 30, Tina has used the people advisory lens to guide them as they build a holistic benefits package. 

Start with the why 

When Tina first met her client, she instantly recognized their potential. She started the relationship by learning about their business goals and probed the founders on the talent they’d need to achieve their objectives. After laying the strategic groundwork, Tina explained the critical role a compensation philosophy plays in attracting and retaining talent and, ultimately, the company’s overall success. 

Instead of focusing on the costs and process involved in offering benefits as part of the company’s compensation strategy, she anchored discussions in the “why”: why benefits matter to both employers and employees.  “I use people advisory to help clients understand the importance of the total compensation package to attract and retain the right employees at the right time so the company can meet its financial goals, its growth goals, and its market-reach goals,” Tina said. In addition to attracting talent, Tina emphasizes that benefits help with retention, too. Benefits provide peace of mind and are evidence that an employer has employees’ best interest at heart.  

Define the what and when 

“I always advise my clients to think about benefits as a holistic component of compensation and not as an additional cost.” – Tina Gregory

Tina’s message resonated but her clients wanted more profound advice on how to create a benefits package. They came to Tina with questions like, “What should the package include?” and “What can the company afford to offer?” 

As the outsourced CFO, Tina used her insight into their cash position and forecast to determine what the company could afford in the immediate, near, and future term. As a rule of thumb, Tina ensures that clients always have options as they grow. For clients who are early on in their journey as employers, she recommends no- and low-cost benefits, such as Gusto’s Health Reimbursement offering and Gusto Wallet. As clients grow, they can work with Gusto’s team of licensed benefits advisors to enroll in group health insurance. They can also add other benefits—such as a 401(k) plan or 529 savings plan—right from their Benefits Dashboard. 

Facilitate the how 

Partnering with Gusto has made it easy to present clients with a range of no-cost, low-cost, and premium benefits that offer both affordable and flexible options. Tina found that flexibility has been key to helping her fintech client attract a diverse workforce—which is all the more critical with the rise in telecommuting.  

In addition to helping her clients succeed, partnering with Gusto has helped Tina discover workflow efficiencies that allow her to spend more time advising. When benefits and payroll are managed together, Tina knows that Gusto automatically handles payroll deductions, prepares and files Section 125 documentation, and ensures ongoing benefits administration that keeps clients in compliance with ACA, HIPAA, and ERISA. Tina doesn’t have to worry about coordinating employee open enrollment because she trusts Gusto to send out reminder emails that keep everyone on track. 

What’s more—Tina works with Gusto to help clients claim R&D tax credits in real time. Meaning: the investment she coaches clients to make into employees’ compensation can be partly recouped through this government program, helping clients meet their people goals, business goals, and financial goals in one synchronized motion. 

People advisory impact 

Clients and their employees thrive 

“People advisory enables me to show clients how they can be good stewards of the trust employees invest in them.” – Tina Gregory

Tina shared that watching her client grow from 2 founders to 15 employees to a team of 30 is tangible evidence of the power of investing in a holistic compensation package. As the company has grown in both size and revenue, its benefits package has matured as well. Tina’s client currently offers group health insurance, a 401(k) plan, and plans to offer an employer match. As their people advisor, Tina knows that she’s just scratched the surface and is excited to guide them along the next stage of their growth. 

Relationships with clients go deeper 

Tina knows that guiding her clients on payroll, benefits, and HR through people advisory is not secondary to business goals but rather foundational to its success. By integrating people operations best practices into her advice, Tina conveys her commitment to her clients’ success. As their trust in her grows, clients seek her advice that a traditional accountant simply wouldn’t offer.  

By partnering with Gusto to deliver people advisory services, Tina saves her clients time and money, and offers advice alongside technology to deepen their relationship with their employees. Tina no longer charges for payroll as a service. Instead, she includes people advisory as part of her strategic advising packages, which have catalyzed EGFS’s position as a market-leading strategic service provider.

Updated: October 14, 2020

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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