by Andrej Ankerst, Head of Cash Management, Germany & Austria and Steven Lenaerts, Head of Product Management Global Channels, BNP Paribas
One of the most significant industry changes that has taken place in payments and cash management over the past decade is the introduction of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), replacing domestic credit transfers and direct debits with consistent payment instruments and formats for both domestic and cross-border euro transactions across the Eurozone. With migration now complete, treasurers are able to leverage the opportunity to harmonise payment and collection processes, formats and infrastructure, both in Europe and beyond. Treasurers in Germany in particular face a dilemma: how do they supplement their existing domestic payments protocol, EBICS, to facilitate efficient payments in other markets, or is there an opportunity to leverage this protocol to support their international business strategy?
A catalyst for payments transformation
Although SEPA payment instruments are now well-established, most companies in Germany migrated to SEPA on an ‘as is’ basis, i.e., without changing their business processes or organisational structures. Now that these payment instruments and formats are bedded down, treasurers and finance managers are seeking to centralise, rationalise and harmonise payment and collection processes, bank account structures and communication channels. Furthermore, as ISO 20022 formats, on which SEPA formats are based, are widely recognised as a global standard, treasurers are able to achieve efficient payment and information flows beyond the Eurozone and across their geographic footprint.