Payments Canada, an organisation that operates the country’s payment clearing and settlement system, has selected Accenture to help implement ‘Modernization’ —its initiative to overhaul the country’s payments ecosystem.

Under the agreement, Accenture will provide in-depth payments expertise, along with change-management and program-management services to help manage the initiative.

Payments Canada executive director of Modernization and CIO Jan Pilbauer said: "We knew we needed a strong consulting partner to support this. Together, Payments Canada and Accenture will help lead the industry through change to reach our end goal: creating fast, flexible and simple ways for Canadians to pay."

In December last year, Payments Canada unveiled plans to change the infrastructure and rules that underpin financial transactions in Canada. These changes include near-term enhancements to existing systems to speed up transactions, as well as longer-term improvements such as the implementation of a faster payments capability and a new core clearing and settlement system.

The multi-year roadmap also set out plan to introduce the global messaging standard ISO 20022, which will facilitate the transition from paper-based invoicing and cheques to digital processing.

Over the next three to four years, Accenture will be directly engaged in all of this work. It will also help in establishing an industry project management office, which will support financial institution participants throughout the transition.

Accenture managing director of financial services practice in Canada Robert Vokes said: "Accenture has been supporting payments modernisation initiatives around the world for more than a decade, and we are thrilled to provide consulting services on Payments Canada's innovative venture."