Time is running out for businesses to be SEPA ready in good time for the February 2014 SEPA Migration deadline.
A lack of awareness certainly shouldn't be an excuse. Although the deadline was set in 2012, the SEPA initiative itself was launched more than a decade ago in 2002, with the aim of creating harmonized standards for domestic and cross-border payments in Europe.
Despite the fact that plans were put in place so long ago, there are real concerns that firms are taking too long to prepare for the looming SEPA Migration deadline. And the bad news is that at this late stage, there is virtually no chance of any change to the deadline date. Any EU request to extend the deadline would take at least one year - too late for an extension of the February 2014 date to be considered!
This means that businesses have no alternative - they need to get SEPA ready. Anyone who has not converted their systems by the deadline date will run into significant-cant problems.
To help you avoid this situation and get ready for SEPA Direct Debits, here are 'Top 5 SEPA Migration Tips' to consider:
1. Remember - you have no option! The deadline date is 1st February 2014. SEPA is no longer optional, it is mandatory. The risks associated with late migration are great, so begin preparations immediately if you haven't done so already.
2. Conduct an impact assessment. You need to be clear on the impact that SEPA will have throughout your entire business, so draw up a detailed migration plan with a timetable and create a SEPA project team. In addition to IT and accounting systems, SEPA could impact your customer care, support, sales, and reporting systems.
3. Review existing software systems. Find out exactly what is going to be required of your software systems. It may be necessary to upgrade or even buy new software. If you have developed your own in-house system or have modified standard ERP software, SEPA integration could be an extremely complex process...
4. Get expert help. Good payment providers will have been preparing for SEPA for some time now, and should be able to offer you some valuable SEPA Migration insights to help your business. It may pay to ask them for advice!
5. Get IT and Finance working together. The SEPA Direct Debit Solution process re-quires changes that affect more than just payment systems, so for a SEPA migration project to be successful, finance and IT need to create and implement a plan that includes all affected departments. Don't waste time - set up your SEPA project immediately!