How Gusto Processes Billions Of Dollars In Annual Payroll

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Gusto
Gusto is delightful, modern payroll. Our comprehensive payroll service enables businesses to get set up and run payroll in minutes, from any web enabled device. All government payroll taxes and reporting are taken care of automatically and paperlessly. We've processed millions of dollars in payroll and our customers span a wide variety of businesses, from flower shops to technology start-ups. We would be delighted to provide you modern payroll.
Background

ZenPayroll is on a mission to help small business owners succeed by providing a simple and intuitive way to pay and appreciate their employees. We automate the complexities of tax payments and form filings and let small business owners focus on running their business. We currently service over 10,000 companies across the country and we are processing billions of dollars in annual payroll.

I joined ZenPayroll almost three years ago as the first engineering hire, and I currently lead the engineering team that keeps our clients compliant and builds tools to make sure our customer care team can do their job efficiently. Before joining ZenPayroll, I spent a year working with Pivotal labs doing Ruby on Rails consulting. Prior to that I was in a completely different industry and worked at a nuclear power plant after finishing my degree in electrical engineering.

Architecture

Our basic stack is Ruby on Rails and MySQL. We originally chose Rails because of the speed at which we could get our app up and running, and it is still working out great for us. We also use AWS services extensively in combination with Chef, having recently migrated to AWS from Rackspace. On the front end, most of our site is using Backbone, but we’ve been moving more and more to ReactJS.

Background processing is an integral piece to our system, and we have built a robust out-of-band infrastructure using Sidekiq Pro. A lot is happening behind the scenes and running payroll is just the beginning of the process. Throughout the day, payrolls are created, contractors are paid, bank accounts are verified via test transactions, and reversals are processed. It’s critical to our system to ensure all these actions are properly accounted for. Every time one of these actions is taken, we create bank transactions (via ACH) that tell our bank where money should be moved.

Timing is critical when paying employees, so we adhere to a strict schedule when communicating with our bank. At periodic intervals throughout the day, we batch these transactions by type, and consolidate them into files that the bank can process. Before our evening deadline, we upload all files created throughout the day to the bank so employees will be paid out the following day. The last part of the daily process requires us to confirm acknowledgement files provided from the bank and reconcile any discrepancies.

Most of the time, that is all we need to make sure our customers are properly taken care of, but occasionally bank transactions fail due to incorrect bank numbers or insufficient funds. If a transaction is unsuccessful, our bank sends us a response for the transaction and an associated error code, usually 2-3 days later. Every morning we download those files, stop any pending payments, and contact the administrator of the account to resolve the issue.

Sidekiq has been a great tool for us to robustly support our customers by allowing us to gracefully handle errors and highly parallelize our processing to scale with us as we grow.

Upcoming Architecture Changes

ZenPayroll is at a really exciting point right now, because the company and our customer base is growing so rapidly. In order to accommodate this growing user base as well as our expanding product vision, we’re currently in the process of architecting a system that can scale robustly. People depend on us for their livelihood, and we take that trust very seriously.

At a high level, we’re moving towards a service-oriented architecture (SOA). Currently our fraud and balance tracking systems are separated out into services, and we’ll be building out additional services in the coming months. More specifically, we’re in the middle of defining how these services will communicate with each other. We evaluated a handful of message-queuing systems and ultimately selected AWS’s SQS/SNS service. We’ve also been experimenting with Grape and have had a lot of success so far using it for our internal APIs. Grape makes it easy to implement our internal APIs, and we’re writing a gem, dubbed GrapeEater, that will make it easy to communicate with Grape APIs. GrapeEater consumes a Grape API and programmatically generates and maintains a client gem for that API. On startup, the client gem dynamically generates a request method for each endpoint from JSON swagger documentation generated for the Grape API. We hope to open source GrapeEater very soon!

So far, all of our services have also been in Rails, which allows developers to move around code bases easily. We haven’t yet found a good use case to use something else - but that could always change.

On the frontend, we’re transitioning to using ReactJS more heavily. Our original customer dashboard is a thick Backbone app that consumes our Rails API. Our Backbone paradigm has been effective over the past two years, but as we have added more and more features, we have found that our views have started to become a little unmanageable. While Backbone has provided us with great data management and API interaction, we found that we need a more powerful tool for creating UI.

We're adopting ReactJS due to its declarative nature of creating user experiences, high performance, and ease of integration with our existing Backbone models and collections. We use Reflux to bolster our frontend architecture, as well as ImmutableJS to more easily reason about our data structures. Our new React paradigm has been a breath of new life into both our frontend development patterns and UI.

Scaling Challenges

One of the most intensive times for payroll is during the end of the quarter (and especially the end of the year!). We’re doing extensive number crunching to make sure everyone’s taxes are correct and paid when they should. We also generate tens of thousands of form PDFs (using Prawn) to file on behalf of our clients and their employees and contractors.

This is where we’ve really been able to reap the benefits of Sidekiq. We’ve moved from a collection of rake tasks to aggressively parallelizing these jobs with hundreds of sidekiq workers. Our end-of-quarter reconciliation process used to take a few hours (with a fraction of the companies). Now we can process in a matter of minutes!

Engineering Team

Currently we’re at 20 engineers, split across 5 teams - with focuses on security, fraud, state expansion, compliance tools, and product features. We believe that small, focused, autonomous teams are the most effective. At the same time, ZenPayroll has an incredibly collaborative culture, and there are many cross-team opportunities. Most of our team is comfortable working through the whole stack, and if they’re not, we’re helping them learn.

We recently announced our Series B and #1 Best Place to work in the Bay Area (for 50-99 employees), and we’re growing fast! We’re hiring for pretty much all positions currently, and in particular are looking for strong engineers who are passionate about our mission to support small businesses. We’d love to hear from you!

Gusto
Gusto is delightful, modern payroll. Our comprehensive payroll service enables businesses to get set up and run payroll in minutes, from any web enabled device. All government payroll taxes and reporting are taken care of automatically and paperlessly. We've processed millions of dollars in payroll and our customers span a wide variety of businesses, from flower shops to technology start-ups. We would be delighted to provide you modern payroll.
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Open jobs at Gusto
Software Engineer, Product
San Francisco, CA; Denver, CO; New York, NY; ; - Ontario; - British Columbia;

We're looking for talented Software Engineers to come help us build our People Platform - an all-in-one product that helps small businesses take care of their teams.

About Gusto

Gusto is a modern, online people platform that helps small businesses take care of their teams. On top of full-service payroll, Gusto offers health insurance, 401(k)s, expert HR, and team management tools. Today, Gusto offices in Denver, San Francisco, and New York serve more than 200,000 businesses nationwide.

Our mission is to create a world where work empowers a better life, and it starts right here at Gusto. That’s why we’re committed to building a collaborative and inclusive workplace, both physically and virtually. Learn more about our Total Rewards philosophy

About the Role

We’re hiring engineers to join these teams and work on customer-facing products, developing features and iterating across our platform to help define the customer journey at Gusto.  Our main goal in these teams is to keep our customers happy and to deliver a consistently great experience across all of our products.

We’re looking for talented and motivated engineers with 4+ years of experience. Our engineers own projects from end-to-end by influencing initial feature specs, building backend APIs, writing frontend code, and overseeing ongoing improvements for deployed features. If you’re interested in building elegant software with far-reaching effects in our modern economy, join us!

Here’s what you’ll do day to day:

  • Own what you build as you architect, test, and refine Gusto’s product suite
  • Tackle a wide variety of technical problems throughout the stack and contribute daily to all parts of our product code base
  • Collaborate with our product management and design teams to understand customer pain points, come up with solutions, and then prototype, iterate, and launch daily
  • Build a product that our customers genuinely love. Don't just take our word for it - check out what some customers have to say.

Here’s what we’re looking for:

  • 4+ years of technical experience
  • Passionate about creating memorable experiences for customers
  • Interest in complex product development problems -- we use Rails & React, but you don’t have to know them
  • Appreciation for a collaborative, test-driven environment
  • Experience turning wireframes and mockups into elegantly executed code
  • Well-structured, easily maintainable, well-documented code that balances beauty and pragmatism

Learn more about the team:

Our cash compensation amount for this role is targeted at $110,000-$216,000 in Denver & most remote locations, and $140,000-$256,000 for San Francisco & New York. Final offer amounts are determined by multiple factors including candidate experience and expertise and may vary from the amounts listed above.

Our customers come from all walks of life and so do we. We hire great people from a wide variety of backgrounds, not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it makes our company stronger. If you share our values and our enthusiasm for small businesses, you will find a home at Gusto.

Gusto is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate in hiring or any employment decision based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), marital status, ancestry, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran status, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or other applicable legally protected characteristic. Gusto considers qualified applicants with criminal histories, consistent with applicable federal, state and local law. Gusto is also committed to providing reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application procedures. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, you may contact us at accommodations@gusto.com.

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Software Engineer, Android
Denver, CO; New York City, NY; San Francisco, CA,

We’re looking for talented and motivated Android engineers with 3+ years of experience to help us on our mission of improving the financial journey of employees paid through Gusto's payroll.

About Gusto

Gusto is a modern, online people platform that helps small businesses take care of their teams. On top of full-service payroll, Gusto offers health insurance, 401(k)s, expert HR, and team management tools. Today, Gusto offices in Denver, San Francisco, and New York serve more than 200,000 businesses nationwide.

Our mission is to create a world where work empowers a better life, and it starts right here at Gusto. That’s why we’re committed to building a collaborative and inclusive workplace, both physically and virtually. Learn more about our Total Rewards philosophy

About the Role

Our engineers are part of every step of the product lifecycle by participating in user research, influencing requirements and specifications, building backend APIs, crafting user flows, and continuously improving our features. If you’re interested in building elegant solutions to reimagine the paycheck in today’s modern economy, join us!

Here's what you'll do day-to-day:

  • Architect, build, test, and refine Gusto’s native Android app
  • Collaborate with our product management and design teams to understand customer pain points, come up with solutions, and then prototype, iterate, and launch
  • Collaborate with our marketing, legal and security teams to bring world-class experiences to our customers hands
  • Build a product that our customers genuinely love. Don't just take our word for it - check out what some customers have to say.

Here’s what we’re looking for:

  • At least 3 years of Android software engineering experience
  • Strong communication and cross-functional partnership skills
  • Deep experience with Android testing frameworks and best practices
  • Self-driven mindset, and the ability to work on green field projects
  • Experience building and scaling early versions of apps
  • Strong critical thinking skills, and a keen attention to detail
  • Willingness to learn, and mentor others

Bonus Points:

  • Ability to deliver high-quality code across a diverse tech stack
  • Experience with Android tools (CI/CD, build and release systems)
  • Strong knowledge of Kotlin and/or GraphQL
  • Comfortable dealing with ambiguity, setting milestones and deliverables for the team

Learn more about the team:

Our cash compensation amount for this role is targeted at $110,000-$216,000  in Denver & most remote locations, and $140,000-$256,000 for San Francisco & New York. Final offer amounts are determined by multiple factors including candidate experience and expertise and may vary from the amounts listed above.

Our customers come from all walks of life and so do we. We hire great people from a wide variety of backgrounds, not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it makes our company stronger. If you share our values and our enthusiasm for small businesses, you will find a home at Gusto. 

Gusto is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate in hiring or any employment decision based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), marital status, ancestry, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran status, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or other applicable legally protected characteristic. Gusto considers qualified applicants with criminal histories, consistent with applicable federal, state and local law. Gusto is also committed to providing reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application procedures. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, you may contact us at accommodations@gusto.com. 

 

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Software Engineer, iOS
Denver, CO; New York City, NY; San Francisco, CA,

We’re looking for talented and motivated iOS engineers with 3+ years of experience to help us on our mission of improving the financial journey of employees paid through Gusto's payroll.

About Gusto

Gusto is a modern, online people platform that helps small businesses take care of their teams. On top of full-service payroll, Gusto offers health insurance, 401(k)s, expert HR, and team management tools. Today, Gusto offices in Denver, San Francisco, and New York serve more than 200,000 businesses nationwide.

Our mission is to create a world where work empowers a better life, and it starts right here at Gusto. That’s why we’re committed to building a collaborative and inclusive workplace, both physically and virtually. Learn more about our Total Rewards philosophy

About the Role

Our engineers are part of every step of the product lifecycle by participating in user research, influencing requirements and specifications, building backend APIs, crafting user flows, and continuously improving our features. If you’re interested in building elegant solutions to reimagine the paycheck in today’s modern economy, join us!

Here's what you'll do day-to-day:

  • Architect, build, test, and refine Gusto’s native iOS app
  • Collaborate with our product management and design teams to understand customer pain points, come up with solutions, and then prototype, iterate, and launch
  • Collaborate with our marketing, legal and security teams to bring world-class experiences to our customers hands
  • Build a product that our customers genuinely love. Don't just take our word for it - check out what some customers have to say.

Here’s what we’re looking for:

  • At least 3 years of iOS software engineering experience
  • Strong communication and cross-functional partnership skills
  • Deep experience with iOS testing frameworks and best practices
  • Self-driven mindset, and the ability to work on green field projects
  • Experience building and scaling early versions of apps
  • Strong critical thinking skills, and a keen attention to detail
  • Willingness to learn, and mentor others

Bonus Points:

  • Ability to deliver high-quality code across a diverse tech stack
  • Deep experience with iOS tools (CI/CD, build and release systems)
  • Strong knowledge of Swift and GraphQL
  • Comfortable dealing with ambiguity, setting milestones and deliverables for the team

Learn more about the team:

Our cash compensation amount for this role is targeted at $136,000-$216,000  in Denver & most remote locations, and $170,000-$256,000 for San Francisco & New York. Final offer amounts are determined by multiple factors including candidate experience and expertise and may vary from the amounts listed above.

Our customers come from all walks of life and so do we. We hire great people from a wide variety of backgrounds, not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it makes our company stronger. If you share our values and our enthusiasm for small businesses, you will find a home at Gusto. 

Gusto is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate in hiring or any employment decision based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), marital status, ancestry, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran status, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or other applicable legally protected characteristic. Gusto considers qualified applicants with criminal histories, consistent with applicable federal, state and local law. Gusto is also committed to providing reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application procedures. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, you may contact us at accommodations@gusto.com. 

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Product Infrastructure Engineer (Rails)
San Francisco, CA; Denver, CO; New York, NY;

Gusto’s Foundation software engineering teams ensure that our Product teams can focus on building impactful products that quickly meet our customers' needs now, and that their path to doing so in the future is clear. The Product Infrastructure team is part of Foundation. We work deep in the guts of our large systems, Backend-Rails and Frontend-React architectures, and core to our asynchronous application processing, background jobs and events. If this sounds like you or if this is of interest to you then join us!

About Gusto

Gusto is a modern, online people platform that helps small businesses take care of their teams. On top of full-service payroll, Gusto offers health insurance, 401(k)s, expert HR, and team management tools. Today, Gusto offices in Denver, San Francisco, and New York serve more than 100,000 businesses nationwide.

Our mission is to create a world where work empowers a better life, and it starts right here at Gusto. That’s why we’re committed to building a collaborative and inclusive workplace, both physically and virtually. Learn more about our Total Rewards philosophy.

As part of the product infrastructure engineering team you will be maintaining the smooth operations of some of the most important parts of the software that directly serve Gusto’s customers. This spans from keeping them up-to-date and making them more performant, to creating new abstractions that make product engineers more productive.

Here’s what you’ll do day-to-day:

  • Seek out problems and inefficiencies in our tooling, APIs, and feedback mechanisms available to product engineers today
  • Ideate solutions, and then pitch, plan, measure, and implement them in an iterative fashion
  • Maintain close connection with our product engineering colleagues to see the next change around the corner
  • Create leverage for all of product engineering through your work on services, abstractions, and architecture

Here’s what we're looking for:

  • 2-5 years of experience with software development and architecture
  • Experience and/or interest in building tooling that makes your engineering colleagues successful
  • Experience and/or interest in Ruby, Rails, architecture, developer tooling, asynchronous processing, and agile and lean software development
  • Great communicator: We regularly make changes to how product engineers work, and must be able to effectively plan, document, consult, and collaborate with them. The ability to use anecdotes and data to illustrate the impact of your work.

Our cash compensation amount for this role is targeted at $136,000/yr to $187,000/yr in Denver & most remote locations, and $170,000/yr to $234,000/yr for San Francisco & New York. Final offer amounts are determined by multiple factors including candidate experience and expertise and may vary from the amounts listed above.

Our customers come from all walks of life and so do we. We hire great people from a wide variety of backgrounds, not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it makes our company stronger. If you share our values and our enthusiasm for small businesses, you will find a home at Gusto. 

Gusto is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate in hiring or any employment decision based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), marital status, ancestry, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran status, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or other applicable legally protected characteristic. Gusto considers qualified applicants with criminal histories, consistent with applicable federal, state and local law. Gusto is also committed to providing reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application procedures. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, you may contact us at accommodations@gusto.com. 

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