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Do European businesses seize SEPA opportunities? Survey conducted by Atos Consulting and Deloitte gives answers


Rotterdam/Utrecht, The launch of SEPA Credit Transfer in January 2007 marked the first tentative step towards the implementation of SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area). However, European businesses are insufficiently prepared for the implications of SEPA and seize its opportunities. Furthermore, the banking sector seems unable to offer reliable and adequate support to the businessworld. These are the findings of the SEPA survey conducted by Atos Consulting and Deloitte among the members of the European Association of Corporate Treasurers in 9 European countries. The full report will be presented at EuroFinance conference in Barcelona on 1 October 2008.

“This survey not only gauges the level of familiarity with SEPA among the business community, it creates familiarity at the same time”, explains Olivier Brissaud, chairman of the European Association of Corporate Treasurers.

Although the implementation of SEPA will require considerable investment, it is widely expected to be highly profitable. Various studies confidently predict revenues of between EUR 50 and EUR 175 billion over the next 6 years. Although European businesses are aware of the cost savings potential and opportunities presented by SEPA, 43% of respondents are unable to quantify the investments required, while 48% have no clear insight into the financial benefits arising from SEPA.

Banking sector missing out on golden opportunities
Whilst most respondents (84%) are familiar with SEPA, 79% are not ready to implement SEPA and 80% have failed to draw up a strategy. Banks play an important role in implementing SEPA on behalf of the business community, but are missing out on golden opportunities. Only 56% of respondents have been approached by their bank to discuss SEPA, and only 53% of banks have suggested a solution. According to respondents, only 26% of banks have suggested a suitable solution.

Seizing opportunities
"Companies are aware of the opportunities presented by SEPA. The next step is to seize these opportunities and translate them into genuine cost savings by improving cash- and treasury management via uniform pan-European transmission and via improved account management”, believes Folkert Zwinkels, partner at Deloitte.

“To further stimulate the necessary adoption of SEPA it is vital that banks join forces with appropriate partners and support businesses with suitable solutions that facilitate the successful launch of SEPA", Paul van der Knaap, partner at Atos Consulting concludes.

The aim of SEPA - an initiative of the European Commission - is to move towards a fully harmonised European payments area, in which enhanced transparency and competition will eventually result in more efficient and cheaper payment transactions. SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT), the pan-European standard in electronic transfers, was launched on 28 January 2008. The European variant of the automatic debt collection system, the SEPA Direct Debit (SDD), is expected to go live in 2009.

About Atos Origin
Atos Origin is an international information technology services company. Its business is turning client vision into results through the application of consulting, systems integration and managed operations. The company’s annual revenues are EUR 5.8 billion and it employs 50,000 people in 40 countries. Atos Origin is the Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the Olympic Games and has a client base of international blue-chip companies across all sectors. Atos Origin is quoted on the Paris Eurolist Market and trades as Atos Origin, Atos Worldline and Atos Consulting.

About Atos Consulting
Atos Consulting, the global consulting practice of Atos Origin, is a leading provider of business, process and technology consulting services. With more than 2,500 staff globally, it focuses on delivering proven, pragmatic solutions to the telecom, manufacturing, financial services and public sectors.

About Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu is an organisation of independent member firms focused on providing top-quality professional services and advice. Our service is based on a worldwide strategy for about 140 countries. The expertise of 150,000 professionals from all over the globe and the offices of our member firms helps make this a reality. Services are offered in four professional disciplines: accounting, tax advice, consulting and financial advice. Our member firms work for some of the world’s largest corporations as well as national companies, the public sector and fast-growing businesses. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu is a Swiss Verein. Neither Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu or any of the member firms accept responsibility for the actions or negligence of other member firms. Each member firm is an independent legal unit working under ‘Deloitte’, ‘Deloitte & Touche’, ‘Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu’ or any other related name. The services outlined in this publication are provided by the member firm in question and not by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Verein.


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