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With the first quarter of 2016 almost over, as payroll companies recover from year end, it marks the start of another year… And with that, another Independent Payroll Providers Association (IPPA) Sales and Marketing Conference in Las Vegas.  I can hardly contain my excitement! 

What are the top six things we should be excited about for the IPPA conference this year? 

Selling ACA compliance – as a sales person in the payroll industry, you should be CRUSHING it right now.  I equate ACA legislation to the government giving service providers lemons.  It’s up to you whether you’re going to sell your customers and prospects lemonade or not.  If you’re not having success with selling ACA compliance in your sales organization, you should talk to some payroll companies that are.  And even if you are selling it, and you’re not yet providing it to 100 percent of your clients, you should find out how other providers are. 

Side note: We’ll be discussing this and other topics in our pre-event session on Monday, February 22nd at 3:00PM PT, entitled The Benefits Information Exchange & Forum.  This optional session requires a separate registration, which is complimentary, but there is limited seating.

Understanding the payroll industry shift to benefits – providing companies with the necessary forms to document ACA compliance (i.e. the 1094-C & 1095-C) should be no different than producing a W-2 in payroll providers’ eyes.  This is what the market will simply expect from their payroll company.  And with that, this marks a fundamental shift in the industry… the required expansion of payroll companies into benefits technology and services.  At very least you’re already tying in employees’ benefit plans into payroll in order to generate the forms for ACA compliance.  It’s really interesting to see how payroll and benefits technology is starting to merge.  Like time and attendance became necessary for all payroll companies, so too will products and services like:

Benefits enrollment – providing a benefits enrollment solution for your clients not only fills another one of their needs, but it also opens you up to partnering with brokers and other segments in the benefits industry.  By taking the need to manage technology out of their hands, and allowing them to compete with companies like ADP, Paychex, and the like, they’re going to be much more likely to refer business your way.    

Carrier connection – by tying benefit plans to your payroll technology or having benefit plans or enrollment capabilities in an HR solution, you have the ability to put a direct connection in place with all of your clients’ insurance carriers.  This means enrollments can be automatically sent as they happen or are tied to payroll, life change events are recognized, and overpayments of insurance premiums are avoided for terminated employees.  This solution has a measurable savings of $14.80 per employee per month when tied to an enrollment solution and $7.50 per employee per month even without an enrollment solution.  At around $1.00 - $1.50 retail price, this is definitely a no brainer solution for your clients. 

COBRA administration and compliance – COBRA and ACA compliance are services that go hand-in-hand.  If companies don’t want to manage COBRA eligibility, notices, coverage periods, enrollments, and everything else that comes with compliance, this too is a no brainer solution for your clients.  Especially when we think about the fact that an estimated 61 percent of businesses need to comply with COBRA.  And just like the ACA, there are hefty fines for noncompliance. 

I’m super passionate about the payroll industry shift to benefits, and if you want to discuss how you can get in on the ground level before most other payroll service bureaus.

Advancement with the usual suspects – it’s always great to understand how all the industry’s platforms and vendors are progressing forward.  Kronos SaaShr, Infinisource, Evolution, MPAY, Sage, Adaptasoft, Apex Payroll, the list goes on.  What I also really like about the usual suspects is understanding how each of the payroll companies licensing these technologies are building their businesses in new ways.  A great way to grasp this understanding on both fronts is all of the networking events that are prevalent throughout the event this year. 

Vendor tech showcase – I always liked this session because the IPPA board collects proposals from all the vendors and determines which are the six hottest new products that payroll companies would most likely be more interested in learning about.  So each vendor has 10 minutes to wow you with their product starting on Tuesday, February 23rd at 3:00PM PT.

Full Disclosure: EverythingBenefits has a timeslot during this session… and yes, we’re pretty excited about it! 

Improving sales and sales processes – as per usual the events team and the IPPA board has lined up some phenomenal speakers, which include names like Karen Smyers, Mike Sadeghpour, and Joe Calhoon.  Personally, I always enjoy the payroll company round table and payroll company led sessions, these are usually incredibly valuable learning opportunities.  In particular, there’s a “Day in the Life” presenter-run session on Tuesday, and two over 50 and under 50 employee roundtable sessions on Wednesday.  I’m sure these won't disappoint. 

Tuesday night events – There are a ton of items not published on the agenda before the Late Night Networking Happy Hour put on at 10:00PM by the association.  Here are a few we stumbled across:

Sage’s launch party – it’s invite only, but if you got an invite this should be a pretty awesome event to at least stop by.  It will be located in the suite from the original hangover movie.  Bonus points if they have a lion in the bathroom.  And at very least, you’ll get a glimpse of their new HCM platform.  

Martini's & Magic with MPAY – another invite only, registration required session here.  It appears MPAY and GetHired are actually doing a session here to discuss Payentry and how it's changing.  It's not clear whether that is the magic or if there are some rabbits getting pulled out of hats.  Either way, don't pull a Houdini and disappear before you check it out. 

Kronos SaaShr Cocktail Hour – Finally a no-invite required vendor event!  This looks like pure, unadulterated happy hour.  It's kicking off at 5:00PM Tuesday evening at the Seahorse Lounge.  Just don't horse around in front of the 1,700-gallon aquarium... the hotel hates that, and we all know how rowdy you independent payroll providers get.

As far as I can tell this is going to be the best IPPA Sales and Marketing conference yet.  Here’s a link to my favorite version of the agenda.  I like this version because you can personalize it in excel and add any meetings or other things you want to do.  Quick note though, any text in red are vendor specific notes.  And if you haven’t registered for the event yet, what are you waiting for?  You could've clicked here for the registration site, but now you're too late...

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