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Are you confused about SEPA?

If you are, it’s no wonder!

There have been alot of TV, radio and newspaper ads, and possibly letters from your banks urging you to take action to prepare for SEPA.

It’s easy to get confused amid this barrage of information.

I will do my best to simplify the different areas.

Additionally, I have found the The Irish Payment Services Organisation Limited (IPSO) to be a helpful resource.


SEPA at its simplest

So at its simplest level, the introduction of SEPA means that instead of identifying bank accounts for transferring money by the Sort Code and Account number, we will now identify them using a BIC code and an IBAN number.

For Example:

Sort code: 98 12 34
Account No.: 12345 678


IBAN: IE12ULSB98123412345678

You might notice that the last half of the IBAN is actually the sort code and account number.

The IPSO people have provided a utility so that you may easily figure out the correct BIC and IBAN from the Sort Code and Account number. Click on the image below to give

it a try.


IPSO SEPA Services BIC and IBAN generator

Collecting payments from customers

This is the area that has been affected the most, and please note that it is ONLY if you are collecting payments from your customers by Direct Debit that you need to prepare for SEPA.

The main changes are around how you are storing the DD mandates that your customers signed, and the fact that you need to now collect BIC and IBAN numbers from any NEW customers you are signing up.

AIB has created a video explaining it fairly well:

Click on the image below to watch it.

If you still aren’t sure what you need to do, contact


AIB video guide to Direct Debit changes for SEPA


Making payments to suppliers

Similarly your will need your suppliers’ BIC and IBAN to make payments to them through the bank where before you may have only required their sortcode and account number.

You can ask your suppliers for their BIC and IBAN, or find it out for yourself using the IPSO SEPA Services

Click here for the BIC and IBAN generator


Paying Employees through the Bank

If you are logging into your online banking and paying your employees from the bank’s screen, the same rules apply as for suppliers, you need their BIC and IBAN number now instead of just their sort code and account number.

If you are using payroll software that sends a file of all your employee payments to the bank, you will need to refer to your payroll software provider.

For example, here are Payback’s instructions on being SEPA ready:

Click here for Payback Payroll’s SEPA instructions


Payroll and Sepa


Changes required in your SortMyBooks file

Because SortMyBooks does not generate any payment files, the only changes you need are to be sure to have your bank details correctly filled in so that your invoices will provide the information needed for your customers to pay you.

SortMyBooks has always had the fields required for SEPA compliance. These fields are displayed on invoices you send to customers when you tick the Payments Options box in the invoice preview.

On your part, you just have to make sure you now have the correct BIC and IBAN numbers filled in:

  1. Click Accounts, and Bank
  2. Select your bank account
  3. Ensure the fields are filled in as in the sample screen shot.

In the example I have used the actual IBAN and BIC prefix for the Bank of Ireland in Cork. I have put in a dummy account number to illustrate.

SortMyBooks Cloud Accounting Software


Where can I find my IBAN and BIC?

Your bank’s IBAN and BIC are normally printed on your bank account statement, and can also be found on most online banking services.

You can also find it out as stated above using the IPSO SEPA Services

Hope this helps, any questions at all please do not hesitate to ask!

Kind regards

Aileen Hannan


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