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Full steam ahead for corporates as SEPA deadline is set

The line in the sand has been drawn and it is full steam ahead as the SEPA end date has been confirmed for February 2014.  The finalisation of the single domestic payments area for the Eurozone is welcome news and its costs and benefits much discussed.  Now, it’s time to turn the conversation to how stakeholders must prepare.

The stakeholders in need of the most preparation time now are Corporates. This is due to the responsibility now being placed on the Corporate to manage their SEPA DD mandates. In many countries this represents significant challenge and, as a result, will demand new business processes and the right technology to support. Considering that new system implementation can take up to nine months alone, the clock is certainly ticking.

What then can corporates do to be on the fast track? A good first step is to establish a migration project. This will help corporates familiarise themselves with the technical requirements, the scheme rules, as well as the potential impact on reporting and internal processes.  Understanding how the next generation environment will look and selecting the right deployment is key; the migration of legacy paper mandates into SEPA mandates is likely to be a huge exercise and mustn’t be forgotten. 

 Serious consideration needs to be given to utilising service-based solutions through either bank or non-bank service providers with the alternative being a traditional in-house deployment.  A service based solution offers a significant reduction in time to market and a much lower upfront investment, key in times of budget restraint. Then there’s the need to gauge the different stakeholders’ approach to SEPA. Effective synchronisation relies on co-ordination across the complete supply chain.

While all of this may seem like additional road blocks, I think the key thing to remember is that SEPA, if embraced, can provide significant benefits. Preparation should not be seen as a burden, but rather as an opportunity to review and improve payment processes. The way I see it, corporates need to push full steam ahead with a proactive, multi-step approach to implementing these changes - before time runs out.


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