Migrating to SEPA in 5 Easy Steps 4

You have probably read lots of good stuff about migrating to SEPA . Even when you are migrating the same SEPA process, be it credit transfers or direct debit collections, no two implementations will be the same. You may have migrated a SEPA process in France and will think right, i will copy and replicate the same approach in Germany, or any other euro country. But its never that simple, eh? You go to the next country and realise the software requires an update, or the payment process is outsourced so now you have to deal with a third party, or the in country bank has a specific XML requirement, and so the list of exceptions to the rule continues… While no two migrations will be the same, in my opinion the following 5 golden rules will see you right:

  1. Create a definitive list of ALL of your euro payment and collection processes
    1. The various bank / consultancy implementation / migration guides call this your inventory
    2. Bascially, for all of the SEPA countries in scope, go through each and every payment / collection process.
    3. Record each payment / collection process, be it a file upload, host to host, a letter based process, SWIFT process, in a spreadsheet
      1. Know who the in-country local contact is
      2. Understand the payment / collection process in brief
      3. Note the target bank
      4. Do they store BIC/IBAN information
      5. Do they use a in-house system, off the shelf package, or is the process outsourced
    4. This is a very useful list for your company, it may be the first time your company understands each and every payments / collections  processes by country, and the banks involved
  2. Group your list of payment and collection processes into some kind of logical way, for example
    1. Can you group your lists into broad groups, such as Payroll, Direct Debit, Payments
    2. Once ‘grouped’, assign a person to each of your groups, who will handle their particular SEPA implementation
      1. Beware, getting a resource from that particular function/BU can be difficult!
      2. Keep note of the SEPA niche / waived processes, and be sure to exclude them from your list of processes to migrate to SEPA
    3. Have regular calls with the person responsible to understand and monitor their particular SEPA implementation
  3. Ensure you understand the technical requirements, and can share these with the team
    1. Broadly speaking the technical requirements will be:
      1. Migrating to the XML format
      2. BIC / IBAN conversion
      3. Depending on the number of direct debits, some kind of Mandate Management software
      4. Liasing with in house development team / external software vendors
  4. Test, test, test
    1. Ensure that you test your SEPA credit transfer / SEPA direct debit process
    2. While the XML format follows a global standard, until you test the generated format with your bank you cannot guarantee it will be processed as intended
    3. Make sure your users are aware of the new end to end process
  5. Plan, plan, plan, plan, plan……..
    1. Planning needs to be applied to each of the above stages
    2. Have a deadline in mind, and work backwards planning in each of the above activities
    3. Since you may not be the person ‘doing the do’, you need to make sure the people on the ground are aware of the dates and working with you towards the common goal
    4. Given the tight timeframe we now have, you need to be strict about when / how each activity occurs
    5. While indicated last, it is one of the most important

It may feel like a long way off right now, but SEPA is not just about migrating to SEPA. But you, your team, and the end users in particular should know once migrated how to handle new suppliers and customers in a SEPA environment. For example for payments its fairly straightforward, broadly you need to start collecting the suppliers BIC/IBAN. For direct debits, you need to have new mandate forms, and there is a specific direct debit considerations to note

There are lots of other key factors during a SEPA implementation. Thats my hot 5, let me know if you think i missed anything important….

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4 thoughts on “Migrating to SEPA in 5 Easy Steps

  1. Reply Browserwerk Jan 6, 2014 10:18 pm

    Thank you for writing this helpful article!

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