Invoicing is a critical part of business transactions. It ensures all parties agree on the payment terms and pricing, and it helps a business guarantee it’ll be paid for its work. While many businesses have long relied on paper invoices to convey this information, electronic invoice technology now provides the same security with far less hassle. E-signing an invoice is a simple process that saves both you and your clients time and money.
Electronic Invoices and Their Benefits
Sending and signing physical invoices is a lengthy and expensive business process. You either have to set aside the time for an in-person meeting just to put a signature on paper, or you have to print and send sometimes lengthy paper invoices via overnight mail or fax. All of this requires time and money and takes up valuable resources such as paper, ink, and storage space.
Electronic billing, on the other hand, requires no such resources, as a digital invoice never needs to be printed and can be stored digitally with all the necessary signatures. Processing invoices becomes as simple as the click of a button, and your electronic invoice management system may even allow you to easily search your electronic documents for information if you need to verify something.
Electronic invoicing is also legally binding since you have to verify your identity before signing, and there is a digital trail throughout the signature process. This keeps your business operations safe from unfulfilled payment terms that may impact your cash management or tax compliance.
Steps to Signing an Electronic Invoice
There are a few simple steps to signing an invoice online. Though there may be a step or two you won’t find at an in-person signing, these are for your protection, and the convenience of virtual invoice signing saves enough time and money over manual processes that it’s more than worth it.
1. Access the Electronic Invoice
If the invoice documents are being sent to you by your client, you’ll need to access them through whatever e-signature platform your client uses. Typically, they will send a link or attachment to your email address. Make sure before opening anything that it’s coming directly from your client or the authorized email of whatever e-invoicing system they’re using. If you’re not sure, confirm it’s the right document and address before opening it.
Once you click the link, it should take you right to the document. You can then review the details of the invoice, choose your signing method, and verify your identity.
If you’re sending the invoice, you can either upload your invoice to your e-signature provider or use a premade template to ensure you’ve included all of the necessary information. If uploading a document, make sure all of the information uploads correctly and that everything your client needs to fill out is editable.
2. Review the Invoice Details
Once the invoice is signed, it’s legally binding. If there is any incorrect data, such as the price or quantity of an item or service, or if something is misspelled such as the name of the company, it becomes much harder to change once everything is complete. Thoroughly go over each detail before confirming, as whatever is on the document is what can be enforced by either party.
If there is any incorrect information, contact your client and have them send you an updated version. Do not sign the invoice until you are sure everything is correct. Once an updated version is sent to you, go over it thoroughly again to be sure not only that the original error was corrected, but also that new errors weren’t introduced in the process. This can happen whether through an automatic process in the e-invoicing software or by simple human error.
3. Select the Preferred eSignature Method
When signing a document online, there may be a few ways to add your signature, so you can choose the preferred format that is easiest for you. The typical signature options include:
- Uploading an image of your physical signature
- Using your phone to scan your physical signature
- Drawing a digital signature within the platform
- Choosing a virtual handwriting style to create a digital signature
Once you’ve chosen a method and either uploaded or created a signature, ensure that it has scanned correctly to capture each part of the signature or that the digital signature is spelled correctly and looks how you’d like.
4. Verify Your Identity
In order to ensure that e-signed documents are legally binding, the identity of each signatory must be verified. This way, no one can claim someone else signed on their behalf or that the signature is forged.
Different platforms may have different identity verification processes. In most cases, you’ll need to upload some kind of personal document such as a government-issued ID or passport. Before uploading sensitive information, be sure once again that the site is trustworthy.
If you have your own account with the e-signature platform, you may be able to bypass some identity verification steps by logging into it. The site may still require such security steps as two-factor authentication or a security code or question in order to verify that your account wasn’t compromised.
5. Add Your Electronic Signature
Once you’ve verified all details of the invoice, selected your signature style, and verified your identity, you’re ready to sign. Find the appropriate spaces on the document and add your chosen e-signature. The correct lines may be marked, either by your customer or by the platform, but go over the whole document to make sure none were missed anyway.
6. Save and Send the Signed Invoice
When you’re sure you’ve added your signature to all applicable lines, save the invoice and pass it on to your customer. This can usually be done via email. The platform may also automatically send the document once you’ve marked it complete, but be sure to confirm with the client just in case. Once they’ve signed as well, you’re in business!
Simplify Your Signing Process With JSign
If you’re tired of the time and money involved in manually processing your commercial invoices, e-signing may be the solution. Send and receive virtual signatures to simplify all your business operations. Get started with JSign to simplify your invoicing process and get to work faster.