- Plenty of extra functionalities
- User-friendly interface
- Tax solutions
- Payout customization
- Could have more accounting software integrations
- Healthcare not available in all states
- Not possible to use with international workers
W2s, 1099 forms, 940 forms… so many fun things to think about when you own a company! If you run a business that operates with employees, then you and them probably have very different ideas of what payday means. For them, payday may be one of the best days of the month, while for you, the reality of it may be more of a tedious, stressful, and even chaotic frenzy. Given that we live in a time of convenience and instant solutions, when it comes to payroll woes, the situation is no different – luckily this administrative pain can be alleviated with the aid of a payroll software like Gusto that specializes in helping small to medium-sized businesses in the U.S. Beyond being a payroll solution, Gusto assists with other HR areas like health insurance and retirement management, as well as offering integrations with third-party tools.
With the payroll features available in all 50 states for both permanent employees as well as contractors, Gusto is suitable for the needs of many companies, except for those who have international workers. When it comes to payroll features, Gusto has all of the basic necessities covered. Besides the obligatory employee payout, something we love is what it does for you tax-wise. All of the intimidating forms mentioned above, plus many others, are automatically generated and filed for each employee, which translates into a whole lot of time and aggravation saved that can be spent on other activities.
The tool has a large range of flexibility to meet the needs of a variety of companies. It offers four different payment interval options, the possibility to have multiple payment schedules, and different types of pay rate choices (hourly, salary, multiple pay rates, etc.). For hourly employees, there are useful tools available to help the company stay compliant, allowing you to make sure mandatory breaks are taken, for example.
Payouts are totally paperless and done digitally, via direct deposit, which for most is a positive thing. For those who still like to receive physical, paper evidence, employees will receive printable paystubs (which the employer can customize) via email each time they’re paid. Everyone who’s ever been paid through Gusto will have lifetime access to their accounts (even if they no longer work for the same company) where they can go back to check out past paystubs and tax forms if necessary.
Payouts can be done regularly on four different payment schedules, but based on your team’s needs, these payment schedules could vary from person to person – it’s also possible to pay people on hourly or salary bases. Gusto can be put on ‘auto-pilot’ mode, which will allow all payouts to be calculated and made automatically; you will only have to do any manual work if there is something particular about that period.
One stand-out feature of Gusto is the ‘bonus’ elements paychecks can incorporate. For example, employees can opt for automatic deductions from their paychecks if they want to contribute to charities, and payouts can include additional elements, such as reimbursements and bonuses.
Integrations & Extra Services
The ability to integrate with third-party software is vital for a payroll solution. By default, Gusto has multiple other functionalities built into its software, such as health insurance (however, this is only available in 24 states for the moment), 401(k), workers’ compensation, etc. This is great but it’s taken a step further with its seamless integrations available for over 20 different platforms including several accounting and time tracking tools, business operations systems, expense management software, and more. The only aspect where it may fall a bit short is the number of accounting software it has integrations with; this is arguably the most important type of integration and unless your company uses one of the biggest-name products on the market, you may not find your preferred accounting software on the list of integration options.
An aspect of Gusto that it stands out for is what it brings to the table in terms of onboarding – it goes as far as to send offer letters to recruitees, and allows new hires to enter their personal information regarding tax withholding, etc. as soon as they join, which certainly lightens the load for HR. Additionally, upon configuring an account, it’s possible to set up many extra elements to be managed. For example, the employer has the option to create policies for paid time off, vacation, and sick days, which could either be based off of state regulations or internal preferences. It’s even possible to manage additional perks such as transportation benefits, gym memberships, cell phone reimbursements, and more, making Gusto an impressively comprehensive tool.
Gusto’s pricing structure is pretty straight forward and it offers three different plans. The plans all include a base fee ($39 or $149) plus either a $6 or $12 fee for each employee using the software. If you use the software to manage contractors but there are certain months where you didn’t pay them, you won’t have to pay the extra fee for them during those months.
The middle plan offers a few more features than the cheapest one does, such as employee onboarding, time tracking, and the possibility to create PTO policies, while the premium plan (called ‘Concierge’) provides certified HR support. Generally speaking, the price is about average when stacked up against other comparable options on the market. However, unlike most products of this kind, there is no option to save by signing up for an annual plan – only monthly subscriptions are available. Gusto offers a free 30-day trial, so you can try it out risk-free before committing.
Customer support is available Monday-Friday from 6 a.m. – 5 p.m. Pacific Time. Agents are available via phone, live chat, or email. The chat support is a bit confusing because if the pop-up chat window does not appear (which it doesn’t always), it seems to be impossible to figure out how to access the chat support. When you do have access to it though, the agents are knowledgeable and friendly. If you prefer to solve your problem on your own, the support documentation covers a wide range of topics and is easy to follow, offering step-by-step instructions on how to achieve whatever it is you’re trying to do.
In case you decide to switch to Gusto from another provider, you’ll get a dedicated team member to walk you through the transition process and give you one-on-one support. This is a definite incentive for those who are unhappy with their current provider but are hesitant to switch because of the headache that generally comes with this type of swap.
We have to say that we can’t find anything significant to complain about with Gusto. From the user-friendly interface to the full range of functionalities to the helpful support, the product is well-rounded and a great solution for many organizations. On top of that, the price is totally reasonable, so in terms of the cost-value ratio, what you get for your money is quite good. The couple of minor setbacks, such as the limited number of accounting software integrations or incomplete list of states in which healthcare benefits can be used, are aspects that can (and probably will) be fixed in the future and will likely not be deal-breakers for most prospective users. Besides, the product’s unique and handy features, such as the very customizable payout options, may make up for any shortcomings.
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