Interpreting and understanding the ACA can be time consuming and difficult, especially with so many departments and stakeholders having a role in understanding and supporting compliance with the act. Achieving compliance can be a significant effort, requiring extensive cross-departmental considerations for adoption. Additional effort and strategic alignment are also required if your organizations aspiration go beyond compliance, to embrace the effort, and make accessibility a competitive advantage.
Need for more innovation
In recent years, the banking industry has found inventive new ways to improve the customer experience. However, it is necessary for forward-thinking financial institutions to reimagine how they are interacting with customers in this specific segment, whether online (sign language and captioning), all the way to wheelchair accessibility to the counters. From online to in-person interactions, banks need to continuously evolve, innovate and enhance the accessibility environment.
A major problem from a digital perspective is not only how banks provide services, but how they are going to reach out to clients and understand their needs as well. Banks need to ensure flexible architectures and modern infrastructures that offer agility and change as accessibility needs are identified and evolve. If current IT systems and infrastructure cannot accommodate accessibility requirements identified by the business, is there a backup or remediation plan?
Creating a path forward
BDO understands the issues facing banks and can provide sound advice and pragmatic solutions—not only to comply with the ACA, but also to make accessibility and inclusiveness a pillar of the organization's culture.
BDO recognizes the positive impacts that persons with disabilities will have on all aspects of Canadian society. Recently BDO hired Max Brault, as Vice President of Management Consulting, who has a vision of “Turning lived experience into success” and moving Canada towards a barrier-free society by demonstrating to the world that Canadians with disabilities contribute to society and successful business ventures. As an architect in developing the ACA, Max brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in helping Canadian banks understand accessibility, interpret the ACA, and develop a roadmap that addresses each organizations unique goals and objectives for accessibility.
"Many large organizations don't know their statistics. For example, they don't know how many people are asking for accommodations internally, they're often unaware of what kind of requests customers are making, and they may not know where their population of people with disabilities are located. Large financial institutions need insight and solutions to these types of challenges."
Supporting the modernization of digital capabilities to increase service accessibility, reachability, inclusivity, and security is key to improving customer service. For employees, it's imperative to provide internal mechanisms to update hiring policies for people with disabilities. Also, consider what kind of technology employees will be using and look at everything from online and mobile banking capabilities, ATM machines to counter locations, then analyze how customers and employees are interacting with each other, and with the bank.
BDO's Accessibility Assessment approach
Our team of experts are able to help banks measure their progress against the ACA using a thorough understanding of relevant legislation, policies, processes, strong professional services, and a deep industry understanding of the requirements.
We can work with you and your team to develop a roadmap of where the bank needs to be in the next one to five years. Then, we can track progress as the bank makes those changes and provide advice on innovating while ensuring compliance in the process.
Our method includes seven key areas, which are Service design & delivery, Communications, Built environment, Transportation, Employment, Procurement, and Information & communication technologies.