29 Nov 2017

Helping ICAS to become a digital leader in its field

Find out how we helped the world’s first professional body of accountants - the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) – upgrade its technology hardware as it strives to become a digital leader in its field.


ICAS was created by Royal Charter in 1854 and has grown to become a professional body for more than 20,000 businessmen and women around the world. Their members have all achieved the internationally recognised and respected Chartered Accountant qualification with many leading some of the UK’s largest companies and accountancy practices. 

The challenge

ICAS has a stated ambition of becoming a leader in digital services and in 2016 embarked on a business transformation programme to set them on the path. In some cases teams were using dated equipment with many variations of hardware and software. The complexity of the legacy arrangement was making it very difficult for the IT team to support colleagues, resulting in not only a high volume of tickets raised with helpdesk but inconsistent security patching of equipment. 

The solution

Strategically, it was decided that if the organisation was going to achieve its aims, staff must have modern, secure equipment on an ongoing basis, which meant replacing equipment on a regular basis.

The first step involved a detailed analysis of potential hardware suppliers and manufacturers who could provide the best solution at the right price and payment terms.

The funding solution agreed was a lease using a residual value investment by Close Brothers Technology Services, providing ICAS with a very competitive price over the agreed term with the total sum of the rentals being less than the cash price. This structure also allows the cost to be spread over the useful life of the equipment. 

Following successful negotiations with the suppliers, the old hardware was uninstalled and replacement technology - 200 new laptops along with upgraded desktops and monitors - was rolled out across two locations overnight to minimise disruption. 

Obsolete assets were disposed of in an environmentally sustainable way with data removed to comply with GDPR. Assets with a second-hand value were sold with the proceeds reinvested.

The outcome

The ICAS Executive Team considers technology expenditure to be a cost of employing resource rather than an occasional capital outlay, which is in keeping with its new strategic priorities. 

ICAS staff are enabled and equipped with modern, secure equipment that has brought with it a consistency of hardware across the business. 

Taking the leasing option has resulted in more equipment being made available along with greater control over the asset estate and replacement rollout. Tickets raised with the help desk have reduced while the requests that are being logged are asking for assistance on becoming more efficient.

A previously unexpected - but welcome - benefit has been the generation of over £10k from the sale of their obsolete technology, the proceeds of which are being reinvested into the business. This followed an introduction to our technology disposal partner, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), who ensured that ICAS’s obsolete technology was disposed of compliantly and with all data bearing devices being erased.

“Close Brothers Technology Services were great to work with, they understood and predicted the questions and challenges our colleagues had. They clearly invested the time and the right skills to ensure our deployment of new equipment was successful without any major problems.” Carolyn Spencer, Director of Digital Transformation, ICAS

This project included: Technology Funding and Technology Acquisition 

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