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PwC: ‘Debating the rationale of SEPA is no longer opportune’

Amsterdams hoofdkantoor PwCOne in three organisations runs the risk of being too late with its preparations for SEPA. This is one of the key findings of a current research by PwC. “It worries us that almost half of the surveyed organisations claim not having a ‘plan B’ in place,” said to Bas Rebel, Senior Director at PwC Netherlands.

The recent report is a sequel to a similar PwC survey from January 2013, which looked at the extent to which organisations are ready for SEPA migration. “The goal was to paint a picture about the progress of SEPA readiness of organisations during the past six months. In January 2013, we found that 55 per cent of the respondents were at risk of not being ready for SEPA by the February 1st, 2014 deadline. 43 per cent of respondents said that they were uncertain whether their clients would be ready before the deadline passed.”

“In June 2013, we took a fresh snapshot. The good news is that more organisations seem to have become active in getting ready for SEPA, compared to the situation in January 2013. The bad news is that one out of three of the surveyed organisations runs a high risk of not meeting the deadline.”

“This alarming conclusion has various root causes. More than 25 per cent of the respondents have yet no clue how to handle the SEPA migration. Without a solid plan it will be difficult to forecast the impact of SEPA. Another group of respondents has defined the scope of the project inconsistently. Yet others plan the final stage of their SEPA project very close to the deadline of February 1st, 2014. We expect there will be a big pressure on banks and consultants during the last months of 2013. Only then organisations will realise that the SEPA deadline is non-negotiable and will not be postponed.”

And this is one of the pivotal pain points of the SEPA migration, according to Bas Rebel. “When we review the responses to the questionnaire, we get the impression that many organisations expect that the deadline of February 1, 2014 is not that firm. Because the deadline is not being taken seriously, only few organisations have a plan B on hand. Organisations rely on their banks or software vendors will solve the issue one way or another. Even when SEPA readiness activities are discussed, it sometimes is done in the context of challenging the need and benefit of SEPA. In our opinion, challenging SEPA is no longer opportune: SEPA IS the new standard as of February 1st, 2014.”

“Our observation that 34 per cent of the participating organisations is at risk of not meeting the SEPA deadline is bad news not only for these organisations but also their trading partners, as these are in serious danger having to wait longer for their money. In short; a backup plan should be seriously considered. Developing and deploying a company specific “plan B” is not done overnight and requires a thorough preparation. Furthermore a “plan B” is by no means a substitute for each and every aspect of the original plan.”

 

 

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