Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants Counts on Document Management
IKON Case Study


The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA), together with the provincial, territorial and Bermuda Institutes/Order of Chartered Accountants, represents a membership of approximately 71,000 CAs and 9,500 students in Canada and Bermuda.

The CICA conducts research into current business issues and supports the setting of accounting, auditing and assurance standards for business, not-for-profit organizations and government. It issues guidance on control and governance, publishes professional literature, develops continuing education programs and represents the CA profession nationally and internationally.


As an organization concerned with the secure and efficient management of information, and acknowledging that an enormous portion of their information was contained in decentralized, unstructured documents, the CICA contacted IKON Office Solutions to discuss document management alternatives. The CICA Standards department manages approximately 120 committees that set financial reporting standards for all economic activity in Canada, including standards for corporations, not-for-profit entities and governments. With this many committees to support, it was challenging knowing that at any given time and for any particular document, there was no way of knowing if the latest version was on file or even if all the information pertaining to a case or project was actually in the file. Consequently, hours were spent looking for information or double-checking that files were complete.

Organizations are faced with wasteful costs associated with the time spent looking for information, lost customers, slow response times and the worst of “cost” of all, losing knowledge workers who take history, information access and experience with them. A consistent archival location, consistent methodology and universal organizational access are required to be successful.


The solution included three Fujitsu scanners to capture electronic images of new documents coming into the organization and a 20-user Laserfiche document management repository to catalogue and store the documents for fast retrieval. Time was carefully spent designing the repository. It was organized to make it easy for users to find the documents they needed, regardless of whether they were advanced users or are accessing it for the first time. Good system design allows users to retrieve documents without delay or frustration. It also allows you to continually expand your repository with new information while retaining the ability to find things quickly, and to train new users without a steep learning curve. Good system design has several key elements, including folder organization, document and folder naming, template design, security, volumes, and custom views. Another component was the Laserfiche Advanced Audit Trail, which tracks activity and provides a detailed report of everything that happens to every document from creation to disposition. “The solution was implemented easily and was up and running quickly,” said George Greer, CICA Director of Information Technology.

Many organizations are faced with the Compliance Standards now imposed into their marketplace; this presents a multitude of challenges. CICA identified that an Audit of activity within the new repository was the first step in controlling/capturing the information to feed to their compliance team. With an efficient and unified solution for document management, information is easy to protect from accidental or malicious exposure and tampering, yet still easily accessible to those who need it. With this solution, compliance has a new outcome: competitive advantage.

“The key objectives of the solution were to help us find information quickly and easily and share knowledge more effectively,” said Greer. “Now we can instantly find the information we need for a meeting or discussion. We no longer waste time searching for information, nor do we have to break and reconvene after relevant documents have been gathered,” he continued. “All the information we need is right there in the system when we need it.”


“The benefits of the solution have been manifold,” said Greer. “With the digital archive, we have a single centralized repository, instead of a fragmented environment with some documents in a storage room, some in a warehouse and others on someone else’s desk. We have also gained long-term document preservation and saved on storage space requirements both in the office and at the warehouse.”

Another plus was the high degree of staff acceptance of the new electronic system. Several best practices should be instituted to continue the momentum of staff acceptance.

  1. Start with a named department not bits and pieces within the entire organization
  2. Emulate the success of the named department to drive the interest within other business units, much like CICA.

“We could emulate our paper filing structure in the electronic system using customizable folders and index fields, so once we had a critical mass of valid information in the system, the move away from paper was quite painless,” said Ron Salole, CICA Vice President of Standards. “Now we can manage our document repositories right from our workstations. The solution has increased the effectiveness of the professional staff accessing volumes of documents to find the information they need,” he said.

The CICA is so pleased with the performance of the document solution in the Standards department; they have expanded its use to manage contracts, lease agreements and royalties as well as for Human Resources performance reviews and job descriptions. They have also brought their Educational Services group on line for archiving confidential documents, and had IKON manage the back file conversion of past years’ documents into electronic format for storage in the new system. In the near future, the Finance department and Member Services will be looking to add workflow capabilities to help manage business processes by integrating it into a new ERP system.

Lack of proper design and insufficient metadata will lead to inaccessible information which leads to those documents being forgotten and probably deleted. This (often) unintentional loss of information and knowledge may have significant and costly consequences for any organization. The capture of metadata should be managed and designed according to the needs of an organization, their departmental needs. This ensures the relationship between applications that are needed to communicate for effective Business Process down the road, when integration between business applications becomes possible.

 “The beauty of a solution like this is, once you have the basic scanning and storage infrastructure in place, it can be utilized for any part of the organization to further increase productivity and improve customer service,” said Greer.



IKON Office Solutions (Canada) ( serves the document management needs of over 30,000 clients in Canada from coast to coast through 40 satellite offices and in some of the most remote areas of the country like Yellowknife and Corner Brook, NFLD with 1,500 employees across Canada, including 500 field service technicians. IKON (Canada) is a division of IKON Office Solutions Inc the world’s largest independent channel for document management systems and services, enabling customers worldwide to improve document workflow and increase efficiency.

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IKON Office Solutions (Canada). All rights reserved.

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