Gusto Payroll Review: Should You Use It?

Gusto Payroll Review: Should You Use It?

Managing all the payroll particulars for a company can be very taxing, especially if you need to run payroll for a diverse or large workforce. Small business owners are the most affected by this since they struggle to scale companies while juggling workers compensation, tax filing, etc. With all the documents and paperwork to take care of, manually running payroll can cause issues for many, if not all, HR managers. This is where Gusto payroll comes in.

Payroll services and software such as Gusto streamline processes a lot. Human resource services such as Gusto Payroll ensure that HR tasks such as payroll processing run automatically.

However, is Gusto payroll the best choice for your company?

Here's a full review to help you find out.

What is Gusto Payroll?

Gusto is a cloud-based HR software services company that provides payroll benefits for US companies. Founded in 2012, the company operated under the name of ZenPayroll. Gusto has served over 100,000 firms and provides HR services to a variety of businesses. At the moment, it only serves US companies, since all of its tax compliance features are in line with US tax laws and regulations. In addition, the company offers compliance services for state laws via its tax management feature, which again is only applicable in the US. 

The company initially started out as a simple payroll service management provider but has since expanded to offer services such as end-to-end payroll processing, extended support for benefits management, and employee onboarding help. It also centralizes all employee data to one database, which basically works as an effective record-keeping feature.

Top Features of Gusto Payroll

Compared to other payroll services and HR offerings, Gusto is still pretty new. It offers a more streamlined HR management approach through its HR tools. There are several full-service payroll features that assist companies in managing their payroll runs, making HR practices easier. 

Here are some of the more prominent features that Gusto offers. 

Payroll Automation

The payroll autopilot feature lets you automate payroll processing, which generates payrolls after taking in new employee details, deduction information, and the overall pay rate. This is a good feature if your employee benefits and rewards/deductions don’t change much.

The feature also provides a direct deposit function, and, via time tracking, payroll delivery for employees on hourly rates. The self-service software access function lets employees maintain their own attendance. This also lets them count their own time off and PTOs. In terms of attendance, this feature saves a lot of time and effort for HRs.

Payroll Tax Regulatory Compliance

This feature takes over the tax compliance responsibilities for companies. Gusto takes into account the payroll taxes and files the required payroll tax and compliance form for state and federal agencies, throughout the payroll period. The payments are automated and the software also generates tax reports for payments in real-time.

With Gusto, you can support claims for R&D Tax Credit and SR&ED Tax Credit. This makes Gusto an accounting software that can also take care of payday responsibilities, all while keeping you in the clear with legal demands.

Wage Garnishment

If your employees have existing loans, this feature can help garnish their wages. Wage garnishments are quite the administrative hassles for companies, especially if you aren’t backed by payroll software. The rules and requirements for garnishment are very stringent, which is why they’re harder to manage.

Gusto’s Garnishment feature automatically takes the garnishment amount from the employee’s pay and transfers it to the relevant lending authority.

Note: This service is for every state except North Carolina.

Tax and Compliance Forms

The tax form preparation generates W-2 and 1099 forms and sends their digital copies to employees and contractors. It also sends yearly reports of wages, combined with withheld taxes. Payroll taxes can make the start and end of each year a difficult time for HRs, which is when this feature helps a lot.

Gusto is among the very few payroll companies that provide this feature. Other payroll services deduct the tax amount from the overall salary, whereas Gusto prepares complete tax forms that can be stored with the rest of the employee records.

Employee Benefits Management

This feature manages and maintains a record of employee benefits, alongside payroll processing. It can manage 401k retirement plans, life and disability insurance, 529 college savings plans, commuter benefits, health benefits, and compensation management, all on a single platform. Gusto also provides free medical, dental, and vision insurance administration.

Diverse Employee Payments

With more and more employees preferring remote and part-time work, companies can get stuck managing each worker’s payroll individually. With Gusto’s payment delivery/deposit feature, you can simply enter an employee’s timing and performance specifics at the start, and the software will handle payments by itself. The software makes payments as soon as it is due, according to a pre-set schedule.

You can also make employee payments while including perks such as spending accounts, commuter benefits, as well as, health benefits.

Third-Party Software Integration

Gusto’s HR software can integrate seamlessly with various other accounting, time-tracking, point-of-sale, and expense management software.

Here are the software systems that you can install alongside Gusto:

  • Receipt Bank (expense management system) 
  • Expensify (expense management system)  
  • Accelo (business operations software)
  • HubStaff (business operations software)
  • QuickBooks by Intuit (accounting software)
  • FreshBooks (accounting software)
  • SpotOn (point of sale software)
  • Clover (point of sale software)
  • When I Work (time-tracking software)
  • Homebase (time-tracking software)

In addition to these, you can operate Gusto in tandem with any software that supports one or more of the service features that Gusto offers. However, some software offers service features that are very similar to what Gusto offers, so it's up to you to decide which of Gusto's services you want to adopt. 

Reporting and Onboarding

The hiring and onboarding process has to be unique to the company’s nature and employee requirements. Gusto takes into account all of the company’s unique employee requirements for their employee onboarding and takes over the task from the HR team. You can also automate communication with your employees during the onboarding period.

The onboarding period is also a good time to start getting employee details for the software to manage. The software also collects this information, making new hire reporting easy for every oncoming candidate.

Gusto Payroll Pros and Cons

Here is why you should or shouldn’t use Gusto Payroll:


  • Ease of use, via a simple interface.
  • Very transparent pricing for all packages.
  • Covers all types of employees.
  • Excellent customer and product support.


  • No/Minimal customer support on weekends.
  • No employee performance management features.
  • Very limited support for health insurance benefits.

Should You Use Gusto Payroll?

For most companies operating today, the verdict is yes.

Overall, Gusto Payroll is a good software for a new, modern company with a unique workforce. A small business, such as an SaaS company, fits very well into that category. Small business owners are especially at an advantage with software like Gusto in their HR framework.

The platform, however, does lack some features that could be required for larger corporations. They have a lot more employee shifts, a bigger employee benefits list, and could require a lot more support at odd times (which the software doesn’t provide). This makes it not very feasible for larger companies.

Ultimately though, Gusto Payroll software is for an SME that’s looking to scale. Hopefully, Gusto’s service offerings and support network will become more diverse as the company expands and provides software support to more firms.

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