One-third of firms not prepared to meet SEPA deadline

15 Jul 2013

A third of CFOs (34pc) at Irish firms have not yet developed a strategy and are unsure of their level of preparedness to meet the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) deadline of 1 February 2014.

Furthermore, one in six businesses surveyed by PricewaterhouseCoopers say they are either not confident of meeting the deadline or don’t know if SEPA applied to their organisation.

SEPA is the project for a common European payments market and could accelerate the movement to e-commerce and electronic payments. Ninety per cent of all domestic clearing transactions within EU member states will have to be done in SEPA format from 1 February next year.

Further research reveals that nearly half (44pc) of Irish firms will not go live with their SEPA payments/collections until as late as January 2014.   

This is against a background of only 7.5pc of Irish businesses having migrated to SEPA to date now compared to 40pc on average for Europe.  

More than half (57pc) said they are not ready for SEPA credit transfers but have an action plan. An overwhelming majority (78pc) reported they are not SEPA ready for direct debits but have an action plan.

Pressure on resources

“While nearly three-quarters of survey respondents believe that they will meet the deadline, only half confirm they have a strategy in place,” said Amy Bally, consulting senior manager at PwC. 

“The research suggests that a third of survey respondents are struggling with the SEPA requirements. A large proportion do not plan to go live until January 2014, resulting in huge pressure on resources – in-house and within the banking sector – and not leaving sufficient time for the level of testing required.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years