TOPEKA, Kan. – The State of Kansas has been honored with the prestigious PRISM award for Overall Best Practices in Payroll by the American Payroll Association.
Kansas was presented the award Sep. 21 during the APA’s annual Fall Forum conference in Las Vegas.
Payroll practices implemented by the state government include moving the statewide human capital management and financial systems to a hosted, privately managed cloud-based system. This yielded significant cost savings for the government entity. Changes include online time entry and reporting; electronic W-2s through an employee self-service portal; and 100 percent electronic employee pay rate through direct deposit and pay cards.
Nancy Ruoff, Manager of Statewide Payroll and Accounting with the Kansas Department of Administration, said receiving the Overall Prism Award is an achievement the department is proud of, but is always looking to improve.
“We talk about being comfortably uncomfortable,” Ruoff said. “It’s OK to be excited about where you are, but you can’t be satisfied. For us, it’s identifying those initiatives that we really want to pursue. It’s having that vision, making the business case, and then making a plan to make it happen.”
The State competed against public and private entities for the prestigious honor. Other firms earning individual honors include BMW Manufacturing, ShawCor Ltd. (a global energy services company), New York University, and Brookdale Senior Living, Previous Prism award winners include Texas Roadhouse, T-Mobile, Time Warner Cable, and Wente Family Estates.
Ruoff said the State of Kansas payroll team uses the APA’s education and resources to benchmark against industry leaders and to generate its ideas and initiatives.
“The APA helps us envision where we should be going forward as a payroll organization,” she said. “With the changes we have made and the challenges we’ve overcome, we felt the time was right to measure ourselves against others who are going for that same goal.”
Moving the state’s payroll and accounting systems to the next level of modernization was accomplished through a recently completed project knows as FOCUS: Focus on Customer, Upgrade, Support.
“Some people may not think government is on the leading edge, but we are in tune with the workforce of the future,” said Connie Guerrero, Deputy Director of the Office of Personnel Services. “We are hearing and learning from our employees, especially the younger generation. They want to be empowered and do things for themselves. In order to do that, we have to stay up to date on our technology.”
The PRISM awards are presented by the APA’s Strategic Payroll Leadership Task Force to recognize payroll organizations from across the United State that demonstrate leadership, innovation, and best practices in the payroll industry.
“The state of Kansas effectively demonstrated how strategic decision making can improve efficiency and significantly reduce costs,” said Dan Maddux, executive director of the APA. “They stand as an example of how the payroll department can contribute vastly to the overall well-being of an organization.”
About the American Payroll Association (www.americanpayroll.org):
Established in 1982, the American Payroll Association (APA) is the nation's leader in payroll education, publications, and training. The association has over 150 local chapters nationwide, conducts payroll training conferences and seminars across the country, and publishes a complete library of resource texts and newsletters. The American Payroll Association's vision is to create opportunities and forge a community by providing the education, skills, and resources necessary for payroll professionals to become successful leaders and strategic partners within their organizations. Representing more than 20,000 members, APA is the industry's highly respected and collective voice in Washington, D.C. Visit APA online at www.americanpayroll.org.