Blog Archives

President's Message December 2016

Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, "In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."  It is my sincerest hope that over the past two years, I have provided a life and legacy to the Silicon Valley Chapter that we can all be very proud of.


The SVAPA continues to support payroll professionals in the Silicon Valley by providing continuing education opportunities, and its members continue to support the community we serve by providing cash donations and volunteer hours for various local charities.  Our chapter was recognized by the City of San Jose during this year's National Payroll Week celebration in September.  And we participated again in the NPW Chapter Photo Contest, a contest we have either won or placed in regularly over the past few years.


Now, as I sit here and write my final blog post as your Chapter President, all of these accomplishments are nice to recount… But it is the networking, the friendships, the connections, the conversations, the laughter, the hugs, and the encouragement that the membership has bestowed upon me that I walk away from this experience cherishing the most.  You are all very special individuals, and you are even more amazing when you come together as a group.  And please don't think that I am actually "walking away" from the chapter… I will be assisting in the transition for the 2017 Board of Directors and then providing support as the Immediate Past President for the entire year, and then joining the general membership for years to come!


In closing, I wish each and every one of you a very joyous holiday season, a peaceful and successful year-end, and I look forward to everything that 2017 has in store for our incredible organization of payroll professionals!


With much gratitude and respect,

Christine Stolpe, CPP


Read More

President's Message November 2016

Happy November everyone!  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!!  This year is almost behind us!!!

But before we leave 2016 in our rear-view mirrors, let's take a quick look at everything it has provided us so far… 

In January, we made it through another year-end W-2 season

In February, we had our first chapter meeting of the year and has an open forum talk about Best Practices

In March, our CPP study group met twice a week and the chapter met on Saint Patrick's Day to hear about cyber security

In April, our favorite wage & hour attorney shared the new piece rate rules with us

In May, the chapter was well represented at the APA Annual Congress in Nashville

In June, Ceridian presented the ROI science behind building a case for a new payroll system

In July, we had fun with Rapid Paycards in the NetFlix theater

In August, Vice Major Rose Herrera presented us with a proclamation for NPW 2016, we celebrated our 33rd anniversary, and we all posed at Rosie the Riveter for the 2016 NPW chapter photo contest

In September, our chapter meeting topic was auto-enrollment in pension plans presented by Melissa Harkcom of Fitzgerald and Law

In October, we learned about the current trends in hiring and compensation from Robert Half and reviewed the future wage and hour updates our profession is facing

In November, the chapter meeting will be all about year-end

And now, for the finale, I am super excited to announce that the SVAPA is having a year-end party on Friday, December 2nd at the Hotel Valencia in Santa Row… and registration for this elite event opens on Monday, November 7th.  We are limiting ticket sales again this year due to space available at the venue, so please make sure to get online and buy your tickets early!

After that, I know that we'll all be heads down over our year-end processes at our respective employers and won't come back up for air until late January or early February, so please know that you are not alone… we're all in this together… we've got your back… and together everyone achieves more!  (I think I got every sappy motivational tagline in there. Did I miss any? Please let me know at [email protected]!!!)

I look forward to seeing all of you at the chapter meeting on Thursday, November 17th - or at the NBC Bay Area live broadcast on Friday, November 18th - or at the 2nd Harvest Foodbank drive on Saturday, November 19th - or at the year-end celebration on Friday, December 2nd at Hotel Valencia!

With many warm regards,

Christine Stolpe, CPP

SVAPA Chapter President

Read More

President's Message September 2016

As we near the fourth quarter of the year, it is time for us all to start pre-planning for our year-end activities, both social and professional.  This first week of September, we celebrate National Payroll Week as a way to not only raise awareness of everything we do to keep America working, but to also thank the hard working folks we work so hard for.  Without the workers, we’d have no work.  It’s a symbiotic relationship that we have the privilege and responsibility to nurture as payroll professionals.


At the chapter, we are getting ready for our year-end celebration!  Instead of doing a joint meeting and party as we have done in past years, we are having a November chapter meeting for 2016 year-end preparation and then a year-end celebration party in the evening on the first Friday of December.  More details about the celebration will be made available on the website and announced at upcoming chapter meetings. 


As payroll professionals, it is time to start getting ready for our year-end processes including year-to-date balancing, adjustment payroll runs, new deduction audits, tax forms and regulatory updates.  Waaaaay back in February of 2016, our chapter did a town hall style meeting where we discussed best practices for year-end, and one of the things that I heard over and over again that day was CHECKLIST.  Now would be a great time to dust off last year’s checklist and start updating it for the upcoming year-end, or if you didn’t use a checklist last year, to create one from scratch while you still have available bandwidth for a small project.  Our November chapter meeting will focus on 2016 year-end and 2017 regulatory updates to the extent that they are already available, keeping in mind that our dear friends in Washington and Sacramento may still throw last minute curve balls at us between the November chapter meeting and December 31st just to keep it interesting.


Before we begin all the hectic year-end preparation, we have a few holidays to enjoy, and with those holidays, come some amazing volunteer opportunities.  The first is later this month on Sunday, September 25th for the San Jose Sharks Foundation’s Fitness Faceoff at SAP Center.  There is a volunteer orientation session on Monday, September 19th for everyone who signed up to volunteer, and if you didn’t already sign up, it’s never too late!  The next volunteer opportunity will be the weekend before Thanksgiving when the Silicon Valley Chapter partners once again with NBC Bay Area for the Second Harvest Food Bank Food Drive at Safeway stores in the area.  This is not only a great way to help our community members in need, but also a great way to let the community know about our chapter.  More information to come on the food drive volunteer opportunities at it becomes available.


If you haven’t already signed up for the September chapter meeting, please do so today! ServiceNow is hosting us this month, and it is important that we give them an accurate headcount as soon as possible.  Please do not wait until the last minute as you may find yourself standing for the entire meeting as those members who register will have first priority at seating.  If you are unsure as to whether or not you will be able to attend, it is better to register and not make it than not register and show up to find no seats left.


Finally, I want to encourage all of you to pre-register for the October and November meetings.  All regular chapter meetings are included in your annual membership dues, and if you already know that you want to attend the rest of the meetings this year, you may want to consider pre-registering now. 


Thank you so much for being a part of the chapter.  I look forward to seeing each of you at one of our upcoming events, whether a volunteer event, chapter meeting or the year-end celebration!

Read More

President's Message - July 2016

As I look at the calendar, I am totally floored by the fact that we are already half way through this calendar year.   And as I consider the half way mark of this year, I am reminded of the old adage, "is the glass half empty or half full?"  When we look back at what we have accomplished so far in 2016, we see another year-end W-2 season behind us as well as our first ACA year-end successfully completed.  When we look forward to what the remainder of 2016 holds in store for us, we see FLSA changes, paycard legislation updates and minimum wage increases.  So as we play the tennis match to see that which is behind us and that which is ahead of us, we must remember to take a moment to breathe. What we do takes a lot of planning, reconciling and auditing, and it is important that we remember that our super-powers require recharging now and then.  So be sure that you stop to smell the roses, schedule yourself for the ultra-deluxe pedicure/manicure session, take a vacation, get a massage, drive to the beach... whatever your super-power requires to be at full capacity.  You are all superheros in my eyes, and I am awed by all that you have accomplished over the past months and will be accomplishing in the coming months. Whichever it is, half empty or half full, I know this much for sure... the glass will NEVER be gone!

With great admiration and respect,

Christine Stolpe, CPP

Your SVAPA Chapter President and fellow Payroll Superhero

Read More

President's Message - May 2016

Hello my payroll friends!  If you are new to the chapter this year, WELCOME!  And if you have been a chapter member before, WELCOME BACK!  I'm so glad that you're all here, both new and returning members, because it is through you that our chapter becomes bigger, better, stronger, and more effective.

The chapter's bulk order of Payroll Source Books and Research Ready CDs have arrived!!! Please be sure to reach out to me at [email protected] if you ordered a book set to arrange for payment and/or pick up.

I am attending the American Payroll Association's Annual Congress in Nashville, TN during the week of May 10th through 14th, and am honored to be representing the SVAPA at the Chapter Exchange on Wednesday night.  If you are going to be there, please be sure to wear purple, our chapter's color, to show our chapter pride to the rest of the attendees!  This year, however, I will have to split my time at the event between our chapter and another region as I will be stepping into the role of Board Advisor for Region 4 (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico & Texas) and the Chapter Exchange is a great time for me to meet the groups that I have the honor of adding to our network over the next 24 months.


The San Jose Sharks Foundation is holding their annual Fitness Faceoff on Sunday, September 25th, and the SVAPA has signed on to help with providing volunteers again.  This is an amazing way to get involved in our community, get some cool Sharks gear, and help the Sharks Foundation with their mission to promote fitness!  If you would like to be a volunteer that day, please email the chapter at [email protected] or me directly at [email protected] regarding your willingness to commit to this event. For more info, visit

Finally, I would like to personally invite each and every one of you to get more involved in the chapter.  Every year, our Board of Directors holds elections for the following year's board, and it becomes more and more important as our chapter continues to grow to get more chapter members involved.  What I'm not suggesting is that you throw your hat in the ring for a three-year commitment as the President, but I am absolutely suggesting that you volunteer for an event or two, or join a committee to help plan one of our big, fun events, or ask your employer if you can host a chapter meeting... these are the things that keep our chapter running as a non-profit organization of volunteers!!!

Thank you SO much for being awesome!  Thank you SO much for being in the Silicon Valley Chapter!  Thank you SO much for putting up with my gonzo-ness (yes, gonzo is word)! And thank you SO much for your continued support of the SVAPA's mission!!!


Read More

President's Message - March 2016

Please be advised that the IRS has identified a new Tax Phishing Scheme that all payroll professionals need to be aware of.

The target appears to be the Payroll Manager, Administrator or Specialist of the company, and the email is crafted to look like a typical request from an Executive of the company for employee information, anything from a full listing of names, Social Security Numbers, home addresses, dates of birth and annual salary amounts to a PDF version of the 2015 W-2's for a "quick review" of the data.

I myself have received two such emails.  I caught on to the scheme before divulging any of the protected personal information of my c0-workers.  As you may or may not have heard, the Payroll Team at Snapchat in Los Angeles was not as fortunate, and the company had to issue an official statement and formal apology to the employees this past Sunday (click HERE to see the story).

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE help spread the word about this phishing scam, and keep yourselves in the know about how to avoid falling for these types of scams.  The bad guys work hard to catch us off guard or beat us at our own game.  Let's work even harder together to keep them from winning! 

Here is the link to the IRS's official alert, released yesterday:

Wishing all of you a safe and secure March.  I look forward to seeing you at the next chapter meeting!

Warm wishes,

Christine Stolpe, CPP

SVAPA Chapter President

Read More

President's Message - January 2016

Another year is upon us. Hard to believe that 2015 is already over.  My first year as your chapter president flew by.  Guess the old saying is true... Time flies when you're having fun!!!

This year I am doing a word challenge, and I invite each and every member of the Silicon Valley Chapter, as well as every member of the American Payroll Association, to join me in this challenge.

Step 1: Find your word.  This can be a really fun experience if you let it.  If you take it too seriously, it has the potential to drive you batty for the entire process.  So have some fun.  Grab a piece of paper and start writing down all of the positive, driven, powerful words that pop into your head.  Think about the goals, the resolutions or the desires that you have for the coming year.  Through this process, you should be able to identify that one word that truly encompasses everything you are driving to in 2016.  

Step 2: Share your word.  Look up the definition of your word, either online or in a book version of a dictionary (did you know those still existed?), and write it down.  Type it up and print it on a piece of paper in BIG font (72 works nicely).  Post it on your social media accounts, including LinkedIn.  Put it everywhere and anywhere that you can think of so that it's a constant reminder to you, and it lets your friends, colleagues, etc. know what you are focused on for the year too.

Step 3: Be your word!  That's it.  Simple right?  You have the word, you have the definition, and only you can control you, so make the choice to be your word. 

I will be touching on this theme throughout the year at our chapter meetings and events, and I hope that we can all support each other during our struggles, hold each other accountable, and celebrate in each other's successes.

My word for 2016 is DILIGENCE. Diligence is defined as steady, earnest and energetic effort.  This is how I step into 2016, and this is how I pledge to spend 2016 in every aspect of my life, both personal and professional.

As a special end-of-year, busy season special, the Board of Directors has chosen to extend the disount on 2016 membership through the end of January, so if you have not yet registered, you will be able to take advantage of getting a 2016 membership at 2015 rates if you renew by January 31st.

Here's to an amazing year for the SVAPA and for all of you!!!


Read More

December 2014 Message from the 2015 President

As payroll professionals across the country prepare for year-end, let's all take a moment to remember how we got here.  How did you become a payroll pro?  Did you fall into the role from an Accounting role?  Did you fall into the role from a Human Resources role?  Did you choose payroll?  Everyone has a very unique story, and everyone has similarities in their stories, and the one thing that rings true in all of the stories is that payroll is where you landed.  Knowing that, and embracing it, is what unites us as the membership of the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Payroll Association.

It is my genuine pleasure to be representing the SVAPA chapter as President in the coming year.  To make the year everything that it can be, it really does take a village, and I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for all of you, the SVAPA membership, to get involed and volunteer your time as a member of a committee, or attend a community event, or help out at the registration desk at a chapter meeting.  It is the time and dedication of our volunteers that keep our chapter strong and growing year over year, so if you have been waiting for the right moment to get more involved in your SVAPA chapter, now is the perfect moment!

Thank you EVERYONE for an amazing 2014, and here's to an terrific 2015!

Christine Stolpe, CPP - 2015 SVAPA Chapter President

Read More