Five Key Takeaways From the 2018 APA Congress

Last week, payroll experts from all over the world came together in Maryland for the the American Payroll Association’s 36th Annual Congress. With five full days of excellent knowledge, advice, and insight, it’s difficult to condense the experience into one post – but I did leave with 5 important takeaways:

1. Change is in the air

The vast majority of keynotes and workshops were centered around the extensive change affecting our industry. Whether it was Josh Bersin describing all the ways AI and predictive analytics tech are transforming the the future of work, Tim Kelsey talking about the impact of Brexit on global payroll organizations, or our own CEO Raj Narayanaswamy explaining how Time & Attendance isn’t just about punch in / punch out anymore – it came through loud and clear that our industry and our jobs are changing faster than ever.

2. These changes introduce more complexity into management

These changes mean payroll managers and organizations are facing increasing complexity. In response to this complexity, payroll organizations are rolling out multiple disparate solutions from different vendors just to manage global payroll. The APA Congress itself acknowledged this trend by dedicating an entire workshop to managing vendor partnerships worldwide. Could it be global payroll is becoming a vendor management problem?

3. AI & Predictive Analytics are here to stay

Fortunately, it seems like AI and Predictive Analytics technologies are arriving just in time to help manage this complexity. The sheer number of vendors discussing chatbots, facial recognition, and automating business processes using AI and predictive analytics were almost too many to count. Without a doubt, these technologies are quickly becoming an integral component of the industry. While the potential of these solutions is great, I would caution early adopters to take a platform approach. Many of the solutions I saw were simplistic point solutions, and it was unclear how they would integrate with existing payroll systems and infrastructure. In order to get the most out of this technology and properly train AI models, you need a platform that captures and allows you to track all time in your organization.

4. Culture and Technology must work in tandem

AI & Predictive analytics are not a silver bullet. The culture of your organization must adapt to meet the challenges of the day as well. In fact, Michelle Ganzer and Tricia Richardson held a workshop on how to develop your internal controls and frameworks. With the advent of new technologies and increasingly complex global payroll organizations, your internal frameworks and controls will need to change to keep up. Focus on them and your culture to stay ahead of all this complexity.

5. Growth Opportunities Will Increase

Ultimately, all this change means there will be plenty of growth opportunities for prepared individuals. Remember to stay current with new technologies, global trends, and your training / certifications.  Find and develop mentors who can help you manage and develop your career. At the end of the day, remember payroll is ultimately a people business! So take care of your relationships, network and most importantly take care of your career and yourself. Finally, remember that the journey is just as important as the destination, so “Have Fun”!

 

A big thanks to the American Payroll Association for a fantastic week, and allowing us to throw a great party in honor of the industry. See you there next year!

Vivek Gopalpuria
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Vivek Gopalpuria
Vivek is the Associate Director of Product Marketing at Replicon. Replicon provides award-winning products that make it easy to manage your workforce. With complete solution sets for client billing, project costing, and time and attendance management, Replicon enables the capture, administration, and optimization of your most underutilized and important asset: time.
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