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SEPA Plan B - advice from everywhere

The Irishman Murphy was right: "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”. This is particularly true in SEPA. Plan B tips currently winging their way around the web include:

  • temporarily limit the number of banks that are used for making direct debit payments
  • temporarily avoid SDD (like German retailer Rewe and mail-order company Otto)
  • instead of direct debits use e-invoicing or online payment formats
  • send legacy payment files to conversion platforms and download the new XML files (but remember that typically the roll-out of a conversion service 6-10 weeks) and convert your back-office systems later
  • put in place a range of alternative payment solutions, including bill payments, online money transfer schemes or other payer initiated payment schemes, to be able to get paid because many of your customers may not be SEPA ready and may not be capable of paying you
  • put in place extra credit facilities to cover not being able to receive payments
  • ensure that you have back-up procedures for making payroll payments, e.g. when the receiving bank cannot process the new SEPA payments (employees will never forgive you, if you haven’t)
  • if your new SEPA systems are not completely ready, temporarily switch back to legacy payment formats, or if you are really late retain legacy systems and convert later (remember you’ll be heavily reliant on your existing bank conversion systems and at some stage they will start to charge for this extra work).

Whatever state your are in, this cannot be avoided:

  • updating of master data
  • communications to clients about your post 1 February 2014 payment and collection arrangements.

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