May 2023

Payroll—The Common Thread That Binds

By Kiko Martinez

PayrollOrg Unites GPMI, APA Payroll Community Under One Borderless Brand


The Global Payroll Management Institute (GPMI) and the American Payroll Association (APA) have come together under one global banner.

After more than 40 years of serving as the U.S. leader in payroll education, publications, and training, APA has combined with GPMI to become PayrollOrg (PAYO). The announcement was made this past March, and the name change went into effect on 2 May.

The unifying brand will continue to serve the global community of more than 30,000 payroll leaders located and processing payroll in more than 100 countries worldwide. The new, borderless brand name signifies the organization’s commitment to helping payroll professionals everywhere confront the complexities that the industry brings and prove that many of these challenges are common worldwide.

“PayrollOrg is a reflection of where the payroll profession is today and where it is headed into the future,” said PAYO Executive Director Dan Maddux, who took over the leadership role of the organization in 1992. “Globalization has been a part of our fabric since our inception. Whether we are a society, consortium, association, or institute, the common thread that binds us together is an organization that serves payroll professionals in the U.S. and around the world.”

As part of the rebrand, the new PAYO global website is The name might be different, but all the important global content is the same. Under one brand, PAYO remains committed to its leadership role in education, publications, and other resources for global payroll professionals.

PAYO also announced a new, online community, The Payroll Community, which will bring payroll professionals from across the globe together for online networking, knowledge sharing, and engagement (read that article also in this issue).

Current PAYO President Linda Obertin, CPP, said when she initially heard about the merger, she liked the idea of a borderless organization that serves individuals working in the payroll sphere. She considers it “very open” for everyone—from a geographical and functional perspective.

“It’s inviting to anyone who is interested in payroll, whether it’s a stakeholder, a CEO, or a legal team,” Obertin said. “PayrollOrg will be the place to come for all your needs if you’re interested in anything payroll. I think that gives us so much more opportunity because there will be no barriers for what we will be able to do.”


Strategic Decision to Build Strategic Leaders

For Brent Gow, CPP, PAYO Past President and current member on PAYO’s Board of Directors, rebranding the organization into one entity will highlight its focus on payroll on a global scale; one that provides insight to payroll professionals from Atlanta to Amsterdam. He believes the rebrand will offer more opportunities for members to become strategic leaders within their organizations and to expand their analytical skills to lead strategic cost savings initiatives within their organizations.

“Payroll impacts companies on a global scale,” said Gow. “PayrollOrg replaces the impression of a country-specific organization with a global payroll organization and enhances the image of payroll. Now, members will belong to something where everyone has a common interest.”

Becky Harshberger, CPP, PAYO Vice President, said the positive aspects of the name change include describing the organization more “succinctly” and removing the division between two separate entities, which may have been confusing to some.

“Payroll means the same thing worldwide, and our new name reflects that,” Harshberger said. “I’m excited to bring everyone together and expose more payroll professionals to global payroll. It’s the perfect opportunity to refresh our brand and address the new ways we work and get paid.”

Bruce Phipps, CPP, PAYO Immediate Past President, said the name change is a “positive move,” so members feel like they are part of a “singular global organization” that can support them more efficiently. He agreed with Harshberger about avoiding confusion with other organizations that use the common APA acronym.

“Moving to PayrollOrg clearly defines who we are and what we have to offer to payroll professionals throughout the world,” Phipps said. “As companies move to a global footprint, our new name says that we are a global payroll information provider and not just American. This change will take us to the next level and provide a single source for all payroll information.”



A Renewed Synergy

PayrollOrg is a reflection of where the payroll profession is today and where it is headed in the future. Globalization has been a part of the APA since its inception through educating and certifying payroll professionals across the globe.

Jim Paille, CPP, PAYO Past President and PAYO’s Corporate Member Advisor, can explain the name change in one word: synergy. By forming one organization, payroll professionals can come together universally and confront the challenges the industry brings.

“PayrollOrg will bring the payroll world closer,” Paille said. “Challenges exist everywhere. Now, each member can reach out to one another and make us one. The industry has evolved, and we are all in this together. We’re ready to take a fresh look at the payroll industry. I look forward to the next era.”

PAYO looks forward to continuing to provide the same quality education, training, publications, and resources that it has for more than two decades, adding more enhancements to its membership benefits in the future.

“PayrollOrg represents everything we are and all we have accomplished,” said Maddux. “Our pride comes from within, and our end goal unites everyone.”

Visit the rebrand FAQ webpage for more information. 

Just What Does the New Logo Mean?

PayrollOrg-Insignia-CMYKA lot of thought went into designing the new insignia for PayrollOrg’s borderless brand, which was officially unveiled 2 May.

Inspiration for the PayrollOrg insignia design came from collaboration between PayrollOrg Executive Director Dan Maddux and PayrollOrg Interactive Graphic Designer Michael Cruz, who collaborated back and forth with meaning, intent, and ideas until they landed on the final insignia.

The sphere within the PAYO insignia represents the world, and its upward movement represents positive change and dynamics.

The blue color inside the sphere forms a “P” for payroll, while the green forms an “O” for organization. The open white space at the center of the logo represents the “infinity of opportunity” within the payroll industry and the organization.

As PayrollOrg, the organization is united globally and can accomplish its mission by meeting the ever-evolving needs of payroll professionals, corporate strategies and mandates, and the payroll industry’s limitless vision of the 21st century. Rocelyn A. Dunston, MAA, manager of the PAYO art department, added that the team researched the most popular international currency colors, which pointed them to green, yellow, grey, and blue. In addition, the colors mean growth, optimism, stability, and strength. For the insignia’s typeface, the department looked at clean, sans-serif style fonts in various weights.

Kiko Martinez is the former Associate Editor of Membership Publications for PayrollOrg.
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