Today is Day #12 of a 6 week trip across the USA and Canada. Last week I was in Sarasota, Florida, and had a week working with the payroll team from an international leading business intelligence, academic publishing, knowledge and events business, operating in the Knowledge and Information Economy. They are listed on the London Stock Exchange and a member of the FTSE 100 and have contracted me to help support a system implementation across the USA.
This week I travelled from Sarasota to Orlando, the Marriott World Centre Resort; home of this year’s American Payroll Association Annual Congress where I’ve been invited as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP). I was particularly proud to have been invited to join the International Panel, with other Payroll Professionals from Australia, Canada and South Africa to look at how payroll differs across the world. I also really enjoyed taking a group of conference attendees on a whistle stop tour of UK payroll legislation… It’s amazing how we are all in the same industry yet there are so many variations from country to country. Even looking at our own UK payroll with the separation of Scottish Tax regulations brings an added layer of complexity – but at least we don’t have 50 states, each with their own legislation to contend with here!
I’ve just come out of the Awards Luncheon on the last day of the conference, where the American Payroll Association (APA) recognised many individuals that have volunteered their time and experience to further the payroll industry in many different ways. It’s really encouraging to see so many people willing to give up their valuable time to help educate and train payroll professionals the world over.
I’ll be enjoying a bit of down time once the conference is over tomorrow, before I fly up to Kansas on Sunday evening to start a series of Payroll and HR requirements gathering workshops over the next 3 weeks with our supplier. I think it’s the most exciting part of any payroll project (apart from the successful go-live of course); getting into the detail, working through what the new solution looks like, and planning the different stages of the project and working through the timescales, ensuring all the risks have been mitigated and resources have been secured.
It’s an exciting time, working with new people, learning new legislation and seeing parts of the world I’ve never seen before – even driving on the wrong side of the road has its exciting moments at those massive multiple junctions!
If you’d ever wondered where your career might take you in the future, think of your own opportunities and challenges and take them… I got into payroll back in 1982, working for a Chartered Quantity Surveyors in Central London – never once did I envisage being here in glorious Florida with a full schedule planned for the next 4 weeks – ending in Niagara, Canada, where I’m really looking forward to attending the Canadian Payroll Conference in the middle of June… after that I’ll be coming home – but lots more to achieve before that. Bring on the challenge!