- AUDDIS, migrate to AUDDIS
- AUDDIS, AUDDIS Migration, AUDDIS Training, Bacs, Direct Debit
- 15, APR 2020
Unable to Post DD Instructions? Is now the time for AUDDIS?
Direct Debit Instructions (DDIs) are a key element of ensuring an organisation gets paid by its customers. In these strange times, we have been approached by a number of organisations who are struggling to post DD Instructions – issues out of their control have stopped them physically posting DDIs to the bank. For some, this is because their office is closed and they can’t access the franking machine.
For others, it’s because staff are isolating. Whatever the reason, if you are finding it difficult to post completed DDIs to the bank, you won’t be able to collect the Direct Debit funds as you would normally. If you were operating an AUDDIS system, however, this wouldn’t be a problem – so is now the time to consider the move?
What is AUDDIS?
AUDDIS stands for Automated Direct Debit Instruction Service. It was introduced in the late 1990s to allow service users to submit DDIs to Bacs electronically. Instead of posting Direct Debit Instructions to the bank, AUDDIS users enter the relevant information into their customer management system (CRM) and extract a file electronically, which is then sent to Bacs via software. This approach offers a number of advantages:
- Reduces set-up time (no waiting for DDIs to be posted)
- Reduces costs – no postage fees
- Offers increased accuracy – if the AUDDIS instruction fails to lodge you will find out via your Bacs AUDDIS report – whereas with a non-AUDDIS system you do not find out until the collection fails
- Eliminates paper – which in turn can reduce errors
- Allows you to accept one-off Direct Debits and, ultimately, Paperless Direct Debit (PDD) Instructions
At the moment, the key advantage is that if you can’t post the DDIs to the customers’ banks, you can still ensure that the Direct Debit is set up.
How TO MOVE to AUDDIS
Approximately 25% of Service Users continue to operate a paper-based system to submit their Direct Debit Instructions to Bacs, i.e. they send them in the post. If an organisation wants to use AUDDIS instead there are a number of options. The best approach to take will depend on factors such as:
- the number of existing customers signed up to pay by Direct Debit
- the amount and frequency of collections
- whether the organisation plans to introduce a paperless sign-up system, i.e. using telephone and Internet sign up
- the administrative resource available to support a system change
The options for introducing AUDDIS include:
- MIGRATION: The company can move existing DDIs to become AUDDIS instructions by migrating their Service User Number. Approximately 6% of all Service Users are in the process of testing or conducting an AUDDIS migration. It can appear daunting as it requires a series of technical and complex steps to be undertaken; however, it can help streamline your processes. For most organisations, it is a process they will only complete once and gaining all the necessary knowledge and skills can therefore be time-consuming and costly. As part of our Direct Debit Consultancy we can help you implement the best way for your organisation to migrate to AUDDIS; support you through the test phase; introduce you to software suppliers, if appropriate, and support you beyond the migration, offering follow up support, without the need for you to have an in-house expert.
- REPLACEMENT: The company can set up a new Service User Number which is already enabled to submit via AUDDIS and stop using their old Service User Number. This approach requires a company to contact all existing customers and request new Direct Debit Instructions, running the risk that some customers will refuse. It can be time-consuming and can require system changes; however, for organisations with relatively few existing customers it can be simpler to undertake than a migration.
- DUAL APPROACH: A company can operate 2 Service User Numbers in tandem. One SUN would be AUDDIS-enabled and used for new customers, and the other would be the existing non-AUDDIS-enabled SUN, used for existing customers. All new customers are signed up using the new SUN, allowing an organisation time to develop experience of the new process. The usage of the existing SUN would reduce over time, which could be appropriate in some businesses, especially those with high natural customer turnover.
STEPS in an AUDDIS Migration
There are a number of steps involved in an AUDDIS migration and the speed at which an organisation moves through these will depend upon their knowledge and resources. Briefly, these are:
- Application – including details of your processes for modulus and KYC checking, etc.
- Preparation – obtaining the correct data and in the correct format. If not, you may need to procure additional software.
- Testing – you must demonstrate to Bacs and your sponsoring bank that you can correctly submit AUDDIS files.
- Go live – converting your existing DDIs to AUDDIS. You will no longer be able to submit manual (paper) instructions once your Service User Number has been migrated.
- Follow up and reconciliation of failures.
Next steps – implementing AUDDIS is necessary before you can introduce Paperless Direct Debit.
CONSIDERATIONS WITH AUDDIS MIGRATIONS
Every AUDDIS migration is different but, broadly speaking, the most common issues we see include:
- Timing. It’s important to ensure that you conduct your testing and send live conversions according to an agreed timeline with your bank. You need to plan carefully to ensure that ongoing collections are not affected. This is more of an issue if you collect every day, which might require you to split the migration. It’s also important to ensure you don’t submit live files until your LIVE DATE and that you stop submitting paper instructions in good time.
- Reference numbers. With a paper-based Direct Debit system you can have reference numbers as short as 2 characters. If you are using AUDDIS these need to be at least 6 characters and this change needs careful consideration. Also, if there is one thing to check, check and check again it’s that you submit the correct reference numbers as part of the migration to ensure that future collections can occur successfully.
- Data issues. Ensuring your dataset is clean can often be a challenge. You will need to identify live accounts, remove accounts that no longer exist, update sort codes and account names/numbers, etc. Even then, there will be some accounts that won’t allow AUDDIS. Dealing with these issues is part of the testing process and should be undertaken wherever possible before the live submission.
- Customer liaison. When updating your customers about any changes – such as reference numbers/timings etc. – it’s important to get it right and protect your organisation’s reputation. We can help with advice and templates.
We can help!
Usually an AUDDIS migration is something an organisation will only undertake once, so it’s not easy for Service Users to gain any experience in the area or to fully predict all the possible bear traps. That’s where we can help! Over the years we have supported many Service Users undertaking AUDDIS migrations. We have provided advice and guidance for some and full project management for others, and have even been called in halfway through to rescue an AUDDIS migration that had gone wrong!
We urge any organisation looking to undertake a migration to get in touch. Every AUDDIS migration is different and we will work with you to ensure yours runs smoothly. You can contact us by email, phone or via our website. We look forward to helping!