Three weeks prior to the final SEPA migration date on February 1, 2014, the European Commission proposed an extension of six months for the SEPA transition in an official press release. This allows banks to accept local payment formats after the official February deadline. The proposal was made as the migration rate was rather low at the end of 2013, which made a complete and on-time SEPA migration of all participants seem highly unlikely – recent figures from January 2014 confirm this assessment.
Will banks still accept previous formats until August 1?
For organizations that had not completed migration at the original due date, this proposal was certainly a bit of relief. However, the proposal of the Commission still had to be ratified by the European Parliament and by the Council of Ministers at the time of the original SEPA due date which meant that the extension was still in a legal grey area. In addition, it was not certain that all banks would really accept all previous formats until August 1, 2014. Thus, organizations should contact their banks to evaluate how to go about the old formats. Often, banks offer conversion services as an alternative.
The advantages of extension
Organizations should not sit back but rather press ahead quickly with SEPA migration. Organizations that completed their SEPA project in time can use this additional transition period to conduct more comprehensive tests of the SEPA formats. The extension also offers the opportunity to professionalize projects that were completed in haste for lack of time. One example for this is the Mandate Management: Companies have to maintain SEPA mandates. This can easily become confusing for organizations with numerous subsidiaries with historically grown diverse local systems. One possibility to integrate such local systems and to manage mandates centrally, secure and directly in SAP is the solution FinanceSuite Mandate Management. You can find an overview of essential functions on our SEPA page. Please don't hesitate to contact us, if you require additional information.