Almost every business needs a strong online and digital presence in today’s modern world.
Every day, companies send scores of digital documents back and forth that contain important information. Your customers and your staff work from their computers or their phones most of the time. Paper is wasteful, time-consuming and a bother to store. If a doc needs to be signed, you should be e-signing it.
An electronic signature, also known as an e-signature, is any electronically created data that is connected to a document and demonstrates a signatory intended to execute the document with their signature.
Using an eSignature saves you money and time, gives your customers and partners a more secure experience and delivers speedy turnaround times. Here are a few things you should know before you make the switch to e-signatures.
Can Electronic Signatures Be Trusted in Business?
In a word: yes. Electronic signatures are just as valid as traditional signatures on paper. The parity between these two signatures is provided by the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), which affirms the validity of electronic records.
Electronic signatures are further defined by the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-sign Act). This piece of legislation creates the conditions that make an eSignature valid.
In simple language, these conditions are:
- That both parties accept electronic signatures and notify each other that they intend to use eSignatures
- That you can clearly demonstrate an intent to sign the document and who it was who signed it
- That the document cannot be altered after it has been signed
There are many ways to collect an eSignature. These include:
- Using a stylus to sign a touchscreen at a point-of-sale (POS) screen in a retail outlet
- Adding a digital image or typing in a signature on an electronic document
- Using one of the many dedicated electronic signature apps for business. Again, the key to a trustworthy eSignature is the proof of who signed the document, when they did it and that there was clear intent to do so.
eSignatures vs Paper Signatures
Paper signatures are often referred to in legal terms as “wet signatures” because they’re made by applying wet ink to paper. Collecting an original paper signature was the norm for thousands of years. An electronic signature for businesses is a relatively new concept, brought about by the advent of digital technology and its centrality in all our lives.
Paper signatures and eSignatures are equally valid and both can be tested in court if it is not clear who made the signature or prove that the document was left unchanged after it was signed.
A paper signature is usually a unique stylized script of the signatories’ name, while an eSignature could be an image of that wet signature, a stylized font typed into a computer, a drawn signature with a touchpad or mouse, or even an electronic image.
You’ve probably seen movies where illiterate pirates marked contracts with an “X.” That’s valid. So is using a stamp or an image to sign documents in either traditional ink or digital formats.
Who uses eSignatures?
Electronic signatures are particularly common in the banking and insurance industry, but you’ll see them used in all sorts of businesses.
Here are three common reasons an eSignature is the best option for a given document:
You need fast authorization or approval. Suppose you’re ordering something from a supplier and it has to be ordered quickly — you don’t have time to send purchases orders back and forth in paper form. An eSignature can wipe days off the timeline.
When you need multiple people in different places to sign the same document: An eSignature app for businesses, like jSign, allows you to email out a document to multiple people and collect the signatures in one convenient place. It’s great to be able to track where and when the document is signed, and by who.
Working with remote partners: Remote work is more common than ever. If you need documents signed by employees, staff, customers or partners in remote locations, then an e-signature is a natural and easy way to gather signatures quickly.
eSignatures are used by just about every sector of the economy these days. Industries that use them include:
- Accounting and tax
- Financial services
- Real estate
- Building and construction
- Business services
- Transportation and trucking
What are the Benefits of Using eSignatures in my Business?
Paper documents are cumbersome to use, send and store. Electronic signatures allow you to do away with paper along with the time and money costs that come with it.
Other benefits of eSignature software for your business include:
Printing paper costs money. Printer ink is expensive and so is the paper itself and the maintenance costs. You can save by eliminating the need for paper records. You also save money because you don’t have to mail or courier documents around in order to gather the signatures you need.
By moving to eSignatures, you save money on printing, postage and even wages as your team spends less time dealing with paper documents, not to mention the storage fees that come with paper archives.
Easier Storage and Retrieval
Anyone who’s ever moved offices understands the pain of storing paper documents. Paper is heavy, bulky and difficult to store. It’s also a fire risk. Archive boxes can quickly overwhelm your office space and cost you money in storage fees. Not only that, but paper documents are difficult to search through and retrieve when you need to find something.
You can store electronically signed documents for your business on the company server or in the cloud, making them easy to search and retrieve when you need to refer back to them.
Digital storage is cheap, protected and searchable.
Consider an insurance company that needs its customers to declare the information in their policy application is correct: instead of filling out the form and mailing it in, the customer can sign it online and have that signature safely stored in their profile. That way, if you need to recall the document in the future to verify what the policy covers, it’s easy and fast to do so.
You can execute agreements, contracts or approvals nearly instantly by sending them via email and collecting signatures.
Say for example you’re a real estate company helping to manage the sale of a home with four parties involved. You can send out a version of the sales contract to all four simultaneously, they sign the document using the web-based app and you get notified in real-time when you can view the completed document.
Reasons to use a Dedicated eSignature App for Your Business
By now, the advantages of electronic signatures are obvious to most businesses. Using a verified and trusted eSignature platform like jSign adds another layer of benefit and protection to your electronic records. These systems make it easier to collect and create verifiable eSignatures that you can rely on in several different ways.
Audit Trail and Encryption
Web-based document eSigning apps for your business provide a clear audit trail for the electronic documents you send and sign. Those documents can then be encrypted and stored on a password-protected account that protects you by keeping the documents behind your login and also providing a clear record of the document history.
jSign takes this a step further by providing a Certificate of Completion to every party connected to the document once it’s signed. This certificate is stamped with encrypted blockchain technology that records the IP address, location and timestamp to help validate the signatories and the document. The agreement or contract is then stored on the cloud where you can search for and recall it at any time.
More Time Savings
Not only is electronic communication faster than traditional paper mail or couriers, but jSign allows you to gather multiple emails and once and even track the signatures in real-time, so you know the minute your contract or agreement is complete.
Improved Customer Experience
The internet becomes more entwined in our daily lives every year. Digital systems are immersed in everything we do, from communicating with friends and family to conducting business. Your customers live online and it’s important to meet them on their terms. Using jSign’s platform makes it easier and faster for your customers, partners and other stakeholders to execute documents. This helps improve customer satisfaction scores and generate repeat business.
Step Into the Digital Future
Your business can’t afford to waste time and money collecting old-school paper signatures. We live in an increasingly global and digital world, where your partners expect immediacy and convenience. jSign gives you an encrypted and traceable way to accurately create and collect eSignatures for your business. The result is happier customers, less cost, improved productivity and faster turnaround times. If you’re ready to explore a reliable and easy way to add electronic signatures to your processes, then reach out to start your 14-day free trial with jSign today.