Outsourcing Payroll

Pamela Lachaussie receives APA citation of merit for contributions to the payroll profession

by Michael Custers

Pamela Lachaussie won American Payroll Association’s Citation of Merit. The APA recognized her for contributions to the payroll profession. This important accolade and not easily won.

NGA applauds Pamela’s commitment to educating and raising standards across the payroll community.

She’s been at the cutting edge of payroll services for more than 30 years. And for the last 18 months, Pamela was an NGA Human Resources payroll operations specialist, based in Jacksonville, Florida.

She volunteers with APA’s Strategic Payroll Leadership Task Force Committee.  By doing this, she shares vital experience and best practice advice with more than 21,000 APA members across the U.S.

At NGA, we think the best way to deliver effective payroll services is full immersion in the payroll ecosystem. However, Pamela takes this to the next level.

So to learn more, I asked her about her involvement with the American Payroll Association and her commitment to education in professional payroll services.

How has the APA membership benefited from your professional skills?

NGA supported my efforts to strengthen a relationship with the APA.  The work is mutually beneficial for the payroll community, NGA and for me.

I engage with everyone in the payroll process chain, to share the knowledge acquired in a range of roles. At the same time, I gain absolute insight into the day-to-day challenges affecting payroll teams at functional and managerial levels.

Usually, I combine my own skills with those of my colleagues to pinpoint solutions. Then I feed such insights back to the Strategic Payroll Leadership Task Force Committee (SPLTF). In addition, findings help me to manage the payroll processes I oversee for my own clients.

What have been your APA highlights?

In 2014, while President of the APA’s Jacksonville Chapter, I brought the APA Florida State Conference to Jacksonville. I was grateful for that opportunity. Also it gave my NGA colleagues and other payroll professionals a chance to network. Otherwise they might not have met. This was invaluable.

Building on this, NGA, in partnership with the APA Jacksonville Chapter, has continued to bolster local networking events. These opportunities include study groups, and compliance and awareness meetings. As a result, payroll education reaches a much wider audience than would have previously been possible. And the pass rate, among those attending study groups, increased to 100%.

With this newfound knowledge applied in their organizations, many of these graduates share the outcomes though the APA’s speaker bureau. This continued chain of sharing drives payroll proficiency for the benefit of employers and employees.

What does this recognition mean to you?

Truthfully – it’s almost embarrassing! This comes naturally to me. My master’s degree is in education. And I am very passionate about- increasing professionalism within the payroll field. Also, it means that I am continually moving closer to my personal goal.

While I am delighted to receive this accolade, the work of the APA is very much a team effort.

Subject specialists all volunteer their time to write articles for the APA’s publication, PayTech, and to create the content for webinars. Content aims to give readers a better understanding of how to address the multiple global payroll issues and concerns they might encounter.

My colleague, Mary Lou Sipple regularly contributes articles to PayTech to raise awareness of changes to US payroll legislation or processes.

I am writing an article exploring Puerto Rico’s Christmas Bonus Law.  Furthermore, in a few months, I will be delivering a workshop at the 2016 Fall Forum on Global Payroll Compliance. There are no limits to the scope of payroll subjects the APA community can address.

How long have you been a member of the APA?

I obtained my CPP certification in 2008.

How long have you been a volunteer committee member?

I started volunteering for the Jacksonville Chapter in 2012. Then in 2014, I stepped-up my involvement and applied for a position on the Global Payroll Strategic Planning Task Force.

Why is it so important to educate and share best practices?

There are no margins for error in the payroll process. People must be paid and labor and tax laws complied with. If people aren’t paid correctly, workforce morale falls and with this, productivity. If regulations aren’t met, at the least, there are heavy fines.

The only way to stay current in the highly regulated sector is to be informed. For this reason, education and communication is critical.

In each role I’ve had, standard operating procedures were created, updated and maintained as a priority. These standards and close monitoring, ensure compliance.

How has NGA supported your commitment to the APA?

NGA has supported my commitment by allowing me the time to work with the various APA events, and it has encouraged me to spread my wings to become a national speaker. As a company, it is also very involved in the APA.

Would you recommend others to follow in your footsteps?

Absolutely! It wasn’t my initial objective to be so involved, but I have taken advantage of the opportunities that have opened up for me. My first step was to gain APA certification and to attend workshops.

In 2012, the local chapter lost its study group coordinator. Recognizing the implications if this role wasn’t filled, I stepped forward and have ensured we’ve held at least one study group session each year since.

I was later invited to join the team that prepares the Certification questions in 2013. One should take the chance to stretch their wings whenever the opportunity arises. My mentor told me to recognize my talents, to develop these talents into skills, and then use the skills to reach my goals. It turns out to have been good advice.

What is your next goal?

I’m committed to delivering payroll services excellence. My employer shares this same vision. I volunteer for an industry body that is setting standards for payroll delivery. You could say that I’m in a good place!

Moving forward, I’ll continue to be highly involved with the local study group and as an adjunct professor for Florida State College in Jacksonville. As always, I’ll work closely with APA’s committees to keep current with my own payroll knowledge. Educating others remains my primary goal.