Companies in Ireland slow to prepare
Special Report The changes come into force in February and yet some firms have not addressed them
Banks have been working for several years to prepare for SEPA and are eager to assist customers in becoming compliant with the new legislation.
A spokesperson for Danske Bank said that while becoming SEPA-compliant may be a nuisance, it has plenty of benefits.
“If you’re a business customer sending a payment either in Ireland or to any of the other countries impacted by SEPA, you can be pretty much guaranteed that it will be treated and processed in the same way in each country,” he said.
“We would also expect costs associated with payments to fall over time with more competition from banks for processing payments.
“I think banks will really be upping their game because it is going to be a more competitive environment and they are going to offer more to customers to differentiate themselves from their rivals,” he added.
Ibec is also keen to stress the benefits to be had from the introduction of the new legislation despite the outlay required for firms to become compliant.
“There are obviously costs associated with SEPA and these will vary depending on the nature and scale of the business. Large corporations, such as utilities that have a huge number of customers, have had to engage in major work with very significant systems upgrades and testing to ready themselves.
“For the vast majority of SMEs though, it shouldn’t be a major outlay. It’s worth remembering, as well, that there will be benefits to businesses in terms of the speed of transfer of payments, which will be significantly reduced,” said O’Brien.
For businesses that are only now beginning to consider their approach to dealing with SEPA, the first move should be to consult with your bank and software systems provider to find out what you need to do to next.
“As with any piece of new legislation, one of the key challenges lies in the initial stage or the project whereby firms will need to accurately identify the knock-on changes that may arise. This can often prove demanding as it is difficult to appropriately consider all impacted business areas in advance and to effectively implement the required operational, technological and staffing changes,” said Colm McDonnell, enterprise risk service partner at Deloitte.
“It would be fair to say that SEPA will have a definite impact on all Irish businesses.
“However, the extent of the impact would depend on a variety of factors.
For some, quite significant challenges will be faced, including changes to payroll and accounting software, conversions to new account numbers, implementing new mandate management systems and aligning payments processing with the new Sepa timeframes,” he said.