A survey of 300 businesses conducted by IT business service provider Seria and consultancy firm Edgar, Dunn & Company (EDC) has found more than 20% of European companies are unaware of SEPA Direct Debit.
Businesses with 250 to 5,000 employees in France, Germany and the UK were asked about SEPA and their migration policies. The survey found that only a third of organisations (31%) had migrated or were in the process of migrating to SEPA Direct Debit.
The survey found that German businesses were the most advanced in terms of migration with 42% having completed it or in the process of doing so; in France the figure was 35%, whilst in the UK only 3% of companies had done so.
More than half of those questioned believed that SEPA will generate more benefits than disadvantages.
Jean-François Mansart, Seria head of advanced payment practice, said: "Organisations that view SEPA as merely a compliance burden are missing a trick. Smart companies will take SEPA as an opportunity to optimise their cash management systems and processes and reduce fraud and bad debt. But they need to allow themselves adequate time to prepare to avoid potentially costly errors and to ensure that the benefits outweigh the costs of migrating.
SEPA comes into full effect on 1st February 2014 it will affect all credit transfers and direct debits in countries with the Euro currency. It expands to the other EU member states with their own currencies on 31st October 2016.