Payroll Education

The Biggest Payroll Event of the Year

  • For payroll, there is “year-end” and then there is mid-May, when the biggest payroll conference of the year commences.
  • Approved educational recertification credits are available for Certified Payroll Professionals.
  • Thousands stream as well to vendor booths at the American Payroll Association’s premier event.

For payroll professionals in the United States, there is “year-end” that starts each November and ends in mid-February. In this short time period, in addition to continuing to process employee pay, payroll is required to do two more major things at once. 

First, it must consolidate amounts and data for the year that is ending to cross t’s and dot i’s so the employer can provide an accurate accounting on full-year reports. At the same time, any changes for the new year, such as tax calculations, new or expired requirements or revised policies and benefits — all have to be identified and adjustments to systems in place for that first payroll run of the new year.   

It’s a heavy lift, and when it’s over . . . well, many payroll pros will say it’s never really over. But the period between February and May is used to ensure things are working properly in the new year and to clean up any leftover issues from the prior year’s filings. In addition, forward-looking payroll units examine costs and processes, and this often includes initiatives that include introducing new technology or vetting new systems for compatibility.

Then, in mid-May, there is the American Payroll Association’s annual conference. Called a “Congress” by the APA, this is the largest single event of each year for payroll. In normal times, Congress attracts more than 2,000 attendees and well over 100 vendors to, once again, the biggest payroll-focused exhibition of the year anywhere. 

Usually, there are more than 100 separate workshops and several general sessions.

In the U.S. Those certified by the APA as payroll professionals (CPP) or those who have a Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) get many, many educational recertification credits for attending these sessions, and the credits help them to keep their designations. (See a separate Payroll Times story on APA’s certification program for more detail.)

In 2021, Congress XStream, as it was titled, went virtual for the second year in a row due to the pandemic. But the several thousand registrants still had access to some of the best minds in payroll through numerous online educational workshops and key announcements during general sessions. And these workshop sessions remain available on-demand through most of the summer to registrants.

Then there is the virtual exhibit hall. Again dozens of payroll-related vendors and service providers had a presence and were allowed to do demonstrations and talk to potential clients and prospects.  

There are other payroll-focused events during the year, such as the APA Capital Summit, normally held in Washington, D.C. during the spring, and the Payroll Leaders Conference coming up in September (this one will be an in-person event in Las Vegas). 

But APA’s Congress is the granddaddy of them all, and I look forward to going in-person next year!