Gone are the days when the only option in signing official documents is by hand. Thanks to technological advancement, you can now electronically sign any document.
Just like handwritten signatures, electronic signatures are unique to each person. You can use mathematical algorithms to generate e-signs. Electronic signatures have made it easy for managers, investors, etc., to close a deal or complete contract signing at the comfort of their offices.
This article discusses all you need to know about electronic signatures. You’re going to learn what an electronic signature is, its benefits, tips for your business, and much more.
What’s An Electronic Signature?
An electronic signature is a process of signing and authenticating digital documents. This involves attaching a sound or a symbol to online documents.
There are so many ways of signing documents online. However, the method you choose should validate your digital document. In other words, electronic signatures are legally binding.
What’s The Difference Between Digital and Electronic Signatures?
In most cases, people use these terms interchangeably. However, it’s important to understand the key difference between the two.
Digital signatures are used to secure digital documents and are authorized by certification authorities. On the other hand, an electronic signature authenticates digital documents and is usually associated with a contract signing.
One of the roles of a digital signature is to validate the authenticity of a document and determine whether there’s a forgery or not. This helps identify the original person with the digital certificate.
On the flip side, an electronic signature verifies a document. You can verify the authenticity of the document by identifying the parties in play. You can also use it to close an agreement and make it legally binding.
Where Can You Use Electronic Signatures?
Over the last few years, more and more businesses have been accepting electronic signatures as a form of authenticating documents. The following are some instances where you can apply electronic signatures:
- Vendor/supplier agreements – Using e-signs, business owners may finalize the purchase with their vendors in minutes, helping them to be in a position to lock in the terms and prices.
- Customer approvals – Do you deal with tailor-made products? Electronic signatures will help you collect and store approvals from the customers before you complete the order.
- Employee onboarding – Paperwork can be simplified by using e-sign to execute and approve the process.
What Are the Benefits of Electronic Signature?
The following are some of the benefits of e-signs. They include:
This is the first advantage of using electronic signatures to close deals in your business. Instead of meeting individuals for a physical document signing or sending emails back and forth, you can simply send a link to facilitate the signing. This will save you lots of time.
In some cases, you may misplace paper documents, and you’ll be forced to start the process all over again. But with e-signs, you can easily track the PDFs, helping to improve your business’ flexibility. You may click here to learn more on how to sign a pdf, making it easier for you to predict the completion of future projects.
With e-signs, you can be confident that only authorized people can access your document. Security features, such as automatic independent verification will help secure your digital documents.
What Are the Tips for Your Business?
As a business owner, you should consider the following tips when developing electronic signature processes:
- Build User Stories
Developing user stories will help determine how users interact with documents, for instance, IT-related or manual touchpoint docs. It’s important to understand that these touchpoints are usually intensive and high-priority areas, and you should address them immediately.
Importance of User Stories
- Users’ stories will help you clarify what type of e-sign to develop, for whom, why, and when you should start.
- This helps reduce risks. Developing an e-sign process may be a tricky endeavor due to the complex acronyms and technologies used. But with user stories, you can remove this technical dimension. Thus, any member can contribute by simply thinking ‘as a user.’
- User stories will also simplify the process of documenting and matching needs to the capabilities of the e-sign development tool.
- Legal Compliance
Using emails to transfer documents can present a security risk. The following are some of the ways to ensure you develop a secure electronic signatures system. They include:
- Discover a signature technology that all of your major signatories can access. This single system will be controlled centrally in your organization, helping to improve the efficiency of the signing process.
- The e-sign developed should have both user identity and date/time stamps. This will make it hard for someone to tamper with it. Also, it’s important to understand that if these stamps (identity and date/time stamps) aren’t present, the signature might not be eligible.
- Multiple Signatures
When developing your signing system, it’s crucial to ensure that more than one person can sign the document. Some old school’s e-sign systems may only allow one signature, and once you sign the document, it’s impossible to add more signs. Depending on your business, most documents need to be approved by more than one person.
For instance, document-intensive firms, such as banks will have large volumes of documents processed every day. Most of these documents should have sectional signing to allow more than one person to edit and sign their document portion.
- Critical Success Factors
When developing your e-sign system, make it easier to measure how successful it is in addressing your issues. Some of the metrics you can use to measure success include time saved in the signing process, reduced cost in paper and storage, etc.
Ensure you research enough to develop a working system for your business. If you can’t identify these critical success factors, that might be your cue to try any other approach in e-signing.
Over the last few years, more and more enterprises have been adopting e-signing. It has helped most businesses save time and money and improve security when conducting customer approvals, employee onboarding, etc. Some of the tips you can use for your business include building user stories, legal compliance, multiple signatures, and a way to measure success.