Special Report ‘The latest versions of our software will be Sepa compliant in advance,’ says Chris Stonehouse of Sage


Business and accounting software company Sage has been active in helping its customers prepare for the changeover for some time. “We have been working hard to make SEPA-related information available to our customers,” says Sage’s accounts and finance commercial manager, Chris Stonehouse.

“We have a dedicated area available on our website which is full of resources and information on SEPA and we have a number of SEPA-related blog posts, including a post from John Rice, SEPA programme manager at the Central Bank. We have also worked closely with Isme and developed an infographic that breaks down exactly what SEPA is and how businesses will be affected by it and what they can do to prepare for SEPA.”

Software compliance is also important. “We have been keen to let our customers know that the latest versions of our software will be SEPA compliant in advance of the February 2014 deadline,” Stonehouse says.

“We have also already implemented updates to some of our software as part of the SEPA migration process. For example, from the latest version of our Sage Micropay payroll software, sort codes and account codes will automatically be converted to BIC and IBAN. We are currently working with Ipso and the banks on the SEPA CT file which will be added into Micropay in a release later this year. The latest versions of all of our payroll and accounts products including Micropay, Quickpay, Sage 50, Instant Accounts, and TASBooks will all be compliant.”

The more frequent queries Sage hears customers is whether the payments area affects only international transactions and how recurring transactions such as standing orders will be affected. Despite the efforts of Government agencies and companies such as Sage, some organisations remain unaware of the payments area and its implications for them. Indeed, recent research carried out by Sage indicates that 32 per cent of businesses do not know what the Single Euro Payments Area is.

“The legislation affects everyone – businesses and consumers,” Stonehouse says. “There has been some work done by the Fovernment and Ipso who have worked closely with the Central Bank. The site is also a good resource for both businesses and consumers.

“Both banks and software providers need to ensure they are communicating the impact of SEPA to their customers. We are working closely with all of the main banks both behind the scenes and in the testing of the SEPA CT file and in our marketing communications to our customers.”