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2016 Review of Gusto Payroll

Formerly known as Zen Payroll, the company changed its name to Gusto in September 2015, adding HR, benefit, and workers compensation administration capability as well. Along with offering these additional features, Gusto has also added several payroll ...

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Best Fit: Gusto is well suited for small to mid-sized businesses up to 150 employees. The product also offers volume discounts and other benefits to accountants that utilize the product.

Product Strengths:

  • Anywhere, anytime access
  • Easily navigated user interface
  • Good solution for both small businesses and accountants
  • Product offers employee and client portals

Potential Limitations:

  • Product offers limited import/export functionality

Formerly known as Zen Payroll, the company changed its name to Gusto in September 2015, adding HR, benefit, and workers compensation administration capability as well. Along with offering these additional features, Gusto has also added several payroll enhancements to its core payroll product.

From the 2016 Review of Professional Payroll Systems.

Basic System Functions: 4.75 Stars

Gusto is a completely web-based payroll and HR solution that can be easily accessed from desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. All system applications are easily accessible via the built in dashboard. The client dashboard features options to access a variety of system functions, including Employees, Contractors, Reports, and Company Details. Users can also access the Run Payroll, Time Off and Benefits options directly from the Dashboard. Accountants using the system will have an Accountants Dashboard, which offers access to the Gusto Partner Program, Billing, and Help functions. Accountants can easily access all clients through the dashboard, and once a client is chosen, the regular client dashboard will be available for navigation. Accountants will also be provided with the current status of each client through the dashboard feature, with notification provided if a client still needs to be setup.

Along with the name change, Gusto has also added some key features, including the ability to use multiple pay rates when setting up employees, along with the ability to set up two different pay types for different jobs. The new Calendar feature provides users with payroll and benefits reminders. Also new is the ability for employees to request PTO using the included employee/client portal that is available in the product.

Also new is the ability to review payroll prior to processing, so users can make any changes or adjustments prior to submitting payroll for processing. If any employees are paid by check, administrators will also be provided with a popup reminder to process the check. An Auto-Pilot feature allows users to quickly run payroll for salaried employees that do not have any adjustments. Payroll can also be completed directly from the dashboard, with users entering pay information on the easily navigated pay screen, with the ability to adjust hours and deductions when necessary.

A full-service product, Gusto handles all tax compliance requirements, and supports up to six bank accounts per employee. Direct deposit is supported as well, and clients or accountants can provide employees with access to the system where they can easily enter their own information including direct deposit information. Employees are invited by email to add their own personal information and can even fill out W-4 forms online. The product supports all 50 states, and vacation and sick time tracking is now compliant with all state requirements.

Reporting & Monitoring: 4.5 Stars

Gusto supports all local, state, and federal tax compliance, with all required taxers automatically calculated and reports submitted electronically to the correct agency. The included calendar displays due dates for all taxes to ensure compliance, and the system supports both W-4 and I-9 processing as well for all new employees, and a wide variety of payroll reports such as Payroll History, Bank Transactions, Contractor Payments, and Tax Payments are available in the product. Payroll reports can also be run by department if desired. All Gusto reports are automatically saved as a PDF file.

Integration/Import/Export: 4.5 Stars

Gusto Payroll offers excellent integration with numerous third-party applications including QuickBooks, Freshbooks, Xero, and QuickBooks Online. The product also integrates with various time tracking software applications including TSheets, Deputy, When I Work, Nimble Schedule, Boomr Mobile Time Tracking, and Time Tracker. Gusto also integrates with Guideline for 401(k) integration, Receipt Bank for easy processing of employee reimbursements, and Capital One Spark Business, designed for small business owners.

Help/Support: 4.75 Stars

Gusto offers easy online setup of their product, with a variety of help options available. The Online Help Center offers access to articles, videos, and product guides, and is categorized by user role; New Customer, Administrators, Employees and Contractors, and Accountants. There is also an online knowledgebase available as well. Product support is available via instant message and email, and users can contact their toll free support number for assistance if needed. As an online product, all enhancements and updates are handled by Gusto.

Client Self-Service Features: 5 Stars

Employee and Client portals are available in Gusto at no additional cost, with firms assigning access to their clients, who in turn, can assign access to their employees. Along with access to payroll information such as direct deposit information, pay stubs and tax and benefit information, employees can also access the benefits portion of the product to see plans available and obtain a description of those plans.

Advanced Features: 5 Stars

The addition of HR, Health Benefit Administration, 401(k) Plan administration and Workers Compensation management has raised Gusto to another level. Not only can benefit plans be easily administered by companies, but employees can have complete access to benefit packages offered, along with the ability to quickly and easily sign up for the appropriate benefits offered. A partnership with Guideline allows users to easily integrate 401(k) benefits directly with payroll records, automating deduction amounts. HR functionality tracks employee information, along with job and pay rate, time off, benefits, and allows users to attach relevant documents such as performance reviews directly to the employee file. Users can also add notes to a paycheck, with access to the notes only available to payroll administrators.

Summary & Pricing

Gusto Payroll is well-suited for small to mid-sized businesses as well as accountants offering payroll and HR services to their clients. Accountants using Gusto will have access to a dedicated Gusto Partner Advisor, and will receive one year of free payroll for their firm. By adding five new clients every year, firms can receive free payroll for their firm for life.

Base pricing for Gusto Payroll is $39.00 per month, along with $6.00 per person per month. Accountant pricing varies, with volume discounts given based on number of clients. Pricing includes all payroll functionality, employee and client portals, HR, Health and Benefits Administration, 401(k) administration and Workers Compensation management.  

2016 Overall Rating: 4.75 Stars