Outsourcing Payroll

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

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by Michael Custers

The American Payroll Association has awarded Pamela Lachaussie, an NGA Human Resources payroll operations specialist based in Jacksonville, Florida, with its Citation of Merit, awarded for her “contributions to the payroll profession.” This is a major accolade and one not easily won.

NGA is incredibly proud of Pamela, and this citation is well-deserved recognition of her commitment to educating and raising standards across the payroll community.

Pamela, who has been at the cutting edge of payroll services for more than 30 years, volunteers her time to the APA’s Strategic Payroll Leadership Task Force Committee. In doing this, she shares vital experience and best practice advice to more than 21,000 APA members across the U.S.

At NGA, we’re firm believers that the only way to deliver effective payroll services is to be fully immersed in the payroll ecosystem, and Pamela has taken this to the next level.

I asked Pamela, who joined NGA 18 months ago, about her involvement with the American Payroll Association and what drives her incredible commitment to education in professional payroll services.

How has the APA membership benefited from your professional skills?

I actually believe that the relationship NGA has enabled me to build with the APA is mutually beneficial for the payroll community, NGA and for me.

By engaging with everyone in the payroll process chain, I can share the knowledge I have acquired in a range of roles while gaining 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 find solutions, not only to feed back to the Strategic Payroll Leadership Task Force Committee (SPLTF), but also to use personally in the management of 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 had the chance to bring the APA Florida State Conference to Jacksonville. For my NGA colleagues, this opened up networking opportunities with payroll professional they otherwise wouldn’t have met. This was hugely valuable.

Building on from this, NGA, in partnership with the APA Jacksonville Chapter, has continued to bolster local networking events, study groups, and compliance and awareness meetings, taking payroll education to a much wider audience than would have previously been possible. The pass rate of those attending these study groups is now an incredible 100%.

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

What does this recognition mean to you?

Truthfully – it’s almost embarrassing! I am getting recognized for something that comes naturally (my master’s degree is in education) and for something I am very passionate about (increasing professionalism within the payroll field). It also 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, all with the objective of providing payroll providers with insight, and an 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 working on an article looking at Puerto Rico’s Christmas Bonus Law and in a few months, I will be delivering a workshop at the 2016 Fall Forum on Global Payroll Compliance. There are no barriers 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. 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 remain current in the highly regulated sector is to be informed, to keep educating and to share knowledge.

In each role I’ve had, standard operating procedures have been created, updated and maintained as a priority. With standards and best practices in place and monitored, compliance is almost guaranteed.

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. I believe you should take the chance to stretch your 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 am committed to delivering payroll services excellence. I work for an employer that 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 will continue to be highly involved with the local study group and as an adjunct professor for Florida State College in Jacksonville, working closely with APA’s committees to keep current with my own payroll knowledge so I can continue to educate others.