The online signing of documents is quickly becoming another way for businesses to drive revenue. Many businesses are abandoning the time-consuming process of printing out PDFs, signing and faxing them in the past – all thanks to the convenience of e-signature software.
Implementing an online signing process into your business can provide tremendous benefits. However, we understand that, if this process is new to you, it may be daunting and you probably have a few questions. If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place. We discuss everything you need to know about electronic signatures and the online signing process.
What is an Electronic Signature?
The definition of an electronic signature varies slightly in different countries.
In the USA, the definition derives from the Federal ESIGN Act of 2000, which states:
‘The term “electronic signature” means an electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.’
In the European Union, the definition derives from the eIDAS Regulation, which states:
‘“electronic signature” means data in electronic form which is attached to or logically associated with other data in electronic form and which is used by the signatory to sign.’
These definitions are part of a foundation that determines how electronic signatures work for business contracts. And they form an important part of the online signing of documents throughout most of the western world.
It’s also important to know that an electronic signature is more than just an image that resembles a handwritten signature. Electronic signatures use electronic methods of identification such as digital certificates, personalised login and access codes attached to the signer’s identity. These advanced security measures mean that — when done properly — electronic signatures are difficult to forge.
What Kind of Businesses Use E-Signature Software?
The amount of businesses using electronic signatures is continuously growing, with research showing that the market will expand by up to 35% by 2023. Many electronic signature solutions also have enough flexibility to integrate with businesses where confidentiality requirements are a necessity. Businesses within the legal, financial and health industry can all benefit from the online signing of documents.
And because e-signature software is so universal, businesses of any size, in any industry can also make use of its technology.
This includes, but is not limited to:
- Small businesses
- Medical and legal industries
- Web agencies and creatives
- Insurance Providers
- Freelancers and Consultants
E-signature software brings convenience and coherence to so many document processes. From collecting and distributing employee applications, to closing contracts, and even filing taxes — it is a time-saver for any business.
The Online Signing of Documents Process
When you want to implement an e-signature solution into your business, you must first digitise your existing documentation. This means converting your documents into a recognisable document format e.g. Docx, PDF, or PNG. After this process is complete, you can add an e-signature solution to your digital document(s).
From there, you send the documents to the signer and request an electronic signature. The signer will then follow a process in order to create a digital signature. However, the process differs, depending on the software you use during the signing process.
Some electronic signature solutions use handwritten signature illustrations to show the signers where they must sign within a contract. Once the signer’s signs the document with their unique electronic identification, it cannot change.
Are Electronic Signatures Legal?
There is recognition of electronic software around the world as a legal substitute for handwritten signatures. Though the legality of electronic signatures may vary according to different governing authorities, that correct capture of electronic signatures are legal.
In many cases (not all), electronic signatures are considered to be the equivalent of a handwritten signature. And this is especially true when audit trails can trace the signing process back to the recipient or the person who originally signed the document.
Implementing E-Signature Software Into Your Business
Time is money — especially for smaller businesses. We understand that you want to stretch out your dollar as far as you can, and get the most out of it. This means you’re always looking out for business solutions that can help you operate seamlessly and conveniently. Making use of e-signature software will allow you to use the amount of time usually spent on signing paperwork, for actually growing and expanding your business.
Agreeable provides a convenient online signing process through the use of an e-signature app. We provide a safe and secure way for you to sign all your documents electronically, saving you time, money, and quite frankly, the planet.
Contact Agreeable today and we’ll tell you how you can get started on using our simple e-signature solution.