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CX Recap21

Congress Xstream Makes an Impact for Global Payroll Pros

By Frank J. Mendelson

Global payroll was one of the hot topics of discussion at the APA and GPMI’s Congress Xstream—An Online Conference & Expo, which was held May 18-21.

The event provided global payroll professionals an opportunity to meet and engage with international colleagues and payroll service providers that provide compliance, implementation support, and employment verification. Global presenters included practitioners and vendors who gave their insights to help attendees keep their organizations competitive during challenging times and to introduce essential new tools and approaches in the payroll profession.
The global portion of Congress Xstream provided high-level information on the global payroll industry. Payroll practitioners—entry level and experienced— are witnessing first-hand the increasing globalization of the world’s workforce and the role that global payroll plays in corporate strategy and decision making.

Even as attendees expressed the desire to see each other again in person in 2022, there were active exchanges among global members in the Expo, networking lounges, and during real-time chats throughout the workshops. Global professionals, perhaps more than other sectors, have long been familiar with the advantages and needs of virtual communication. This is especially significant where time zones and virtual meetings are an everyday consideration. The global workshops at this year’s Congress Xstream were an active forum of education, information, and featured the presentation of the prestigious Global Vison Award.

“The need for global payroll industry leaders is crucial to the success of many,” said Dan Maddux, Executive Director of APA and President of GPMI.

Maddux introduced this year’s Global Vision Award recipient Sharon Tayfield, MCIPP, Director of Global Payroll Services and Global Outsourcing for BDO U.K. LLP. Tayfield was announced as the winner during the Congress Xstream Awards General Session.

Tayfield is an award-winning payroll industry expert with technical knowledge and expertise in global compliance and legislation, particularly regarding Africa. Her career spans more than 25 years in outsourcing and services. Tayfield is an original contributing member of Global Payroll’s editorial board of advisors (see separate article “Tayfield Accepts GPMI’s Global Vision Award”). 

Global workshops throughout Congress Xstream featured timely information and provided meaningful information impacting the global payroll professional practice. This allows attendees to take away strategic lessons applicable to wherever they work.

For example, George Mavrantzas, Vice President of Strategy and Thought Leadership at Wisely by ADP, moderated a panel relevant to payroll professionals and their customers around the world: “Beyond Pay: Embracing the Economy of Change.” During the panel, he discussed the pandemic-inflicted digital transformation impacting commerce and global payroll operations and highlighted the prospective benefits of change.

“Embracing the economy of change challenges employers to provide flexible payment options, financial wellness tools, and continued innovation to their diverse workforce populations,” Mavrantzas said.


Global Workshop Highlights

There were plenty of memorable panel discussions and workshops that took place at Congress Xstream this year. Some highlights include:

  • Industry expert Max van der Klis-Busink, RPP, presented “A Global Payrollercoaster in the Big Leagues” that was popular among attendees.
  • The workshop “Can You Afford the Global Compliance Risk?” was moderated by GPMI’s Director of Strategic Initiatives Scott Wilson, CAE, PMP, and included seasoned practitioners. The workshop afforded a lot of engagement and inclusion.
  • The workshopDanger Ahead: Navigating the Perils of Global Employment,” was timely given the global paradox where jobs still remain unfilled and companies are experiencing difficulty hiring workers to capitalize on the newly insurgent consumer demand.
  • Catherine Honey, Vice President of Strategic Partner Relations at Safeguard Global (U.S.), highlighted the direction that U.S. companies are continuing to go—no secret here, it’s global.

    “Going global is no longer an option for small to medium sized businesses—it’s an imperative,” said Karin Visnic, Head of NA/USForex.

  • Felicia Cheek, Product Strategy Director at Oracle, discussed the need to “Enhance the Payroll Experience in a Global Environment” in her panel discussion. Indicative of the direction the profession that global payroll has taken, Cheek said that it’s all about strategy, speaking the language of business, and setting a course that achieves its vision, while guiding the decision-making process for exceptional results.
  • The depth and breadth of global payroll was explored in “Global Payroll Complexity Revealed.” The panel discussed the nature of complexity by examining guiding principles and identifying the 10 top country complexity Indictors.
  • In “Raising the Game! Rethinking Your Overall Business Impact as a Payroll Professional,” the global profession was examined by Ruairi Kelleher, Chief Executive Officer at Immedis (Ireland) and Mark Graham, Chief Commercial Officer at Immedis (Ireland), two panelists who have shared their insights on global executive panels in past years.
  • Kathleen Soderman, Managing Director, KPMG (U.S.) presented on a topic that has, and will continue, to receive unprecedented scrutiny—"Effectively Capturing and Reconciling Equity Income Globally.” During her panel, Soderman described the dynamics of the current environment, such as employing a wider use of equity awards, hiring globally mobile workforces, receiving increased scrutiny by global tax authorities, and enabling process controls and governance based on increasingly complex global tax regulations. She also looked at the category of corporate risk —monetary and brand—from payroll challenges to implementing solutions.

It was nice to welcome new faces alongside familiar friends at this year’s Congress Xstream. The experience carries a long-term value of building relationships. At a traditional conference, networking takes place while standing at a kiosk or chatting over lunch, but the online version allowed everyone to participate in safe ways.

Be sure to be a part of next year’s 40th Payroll Congress as it returns in person 10-13 May 2022, at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

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Frank J. Mendelson is Acquisitions Editor for the Global Payroll Management Institute (GPMI) and the American Payroll Association (APA).