Canada Revenue Agency: 2016 Innovation award finalist

The CRA was nominated as a finalist for this award for an initiative that transformed accounting and payment processing practices.

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) was selected as a finalist in the Innovation category for an ambitious project that transformed its financial services model. The initiative introduced new efficiencies, increased security and integrity of financial data and resulted in an overall saving of $3.5 million dollars a year for the Government of Canada.

A dedicated project team is credited with centralizing data entry and invoice processing, consolidating the accounts payable process and shifting from a paper-based to a fully automated system.

Implementing such a significant operational change is never a simple task, but the sheer size of the agency posed unique challenges. It affected the work of 4,000 employees and at no time could service or payments to thousands of vendors across Canada be compromised. Clear leadership, strategic planning, and innovative thinking, combined with effective stakeholder communications and tailored employee training, were vital to success.

The new consolidated financial services model was strategically realigned under the responsibility of the CFO to support oversight and sound stewardship of financial management.

The new system restricts posting of financial transactions to a small group of about 10 employees, compared to the 1,200 who had been granted access under the former system. This improves the integrity of financial data as well as the reliability of information used by the Receiver General for Canada and the Treasury Board in the annual production of the Public Accounts of Canada.

Automating the traditional paper-based financial processes allows for more timely payments to vendors, provides a complete audit trail and eliminates the need for mailing and storage.

“I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of this dedicated team,” said Roch Huppé, chief financial officer and assistant commissioner of the Finance and Administration Branch, Canada Revenue Agency. “For minimal investment costs, under $200,000, this initiative enhances the integrity of the system, provides better service to thousands of vendors across Canada and saves Canadian taxpayers millions of dollars annually. That is performance worthy of recognition.”

Team members include:

Annie Boudreau, director general, Financial Administration Directorate
Jeff Brown, IT senior systems analyst
Jean-Therese Carag, IT specialist
Véronique Côté, director, Financial Reporting and Accounting Division
Valérie Dubuc, assistant director, Financial Reporting and Accounting Division
Mark Goldfarb, IT developer
Danielle Hoban, IT manager
Gabriel Hurtubise, director, Financial Management Advisory Services
Valérie Hurtubise, manager, Centralized Accounts Payable Section
Stephen Mason, project lead
John Meikle, IT team lead
Cristina Pereira, project lead
Julio Rodriguez, senior project officer
Dean Stansfield, project lead
Jamie Young, coordinator, project management