Electronic signatures are an increasingly popular way of quickly signing documents, such as contracts or receipts of delivery. They offer businesses an excellent option for securely gathering signatures and more advanced types of esignature technology can help to safeguard against fraud. But what you may not know are all of the other benefits of using electronic signatures and what best practice looks like.

What is an Electronic Signature?

An electronic signature is used to sign documents sent online, removing the need to sign paper documents with a wet ink signature. Electronic signing can be used on legal documents, contractual agreements, invoices, financing documentation and more. It could take the form of a digital version of an individual’s signature.

An electronic signature provides evidence that the signer accepts or agrees with whatever is set out in the document, and is legally binding.

Benefits of Electronic Signatures

Electronic signatures are convenient, efficient and money saving. As well as reducing the amount of paper required, electronic signatures speed up workflows and can therefore result in fewer errors as forms can be pre-filled with information. Documents requiring an electronic signature can be encrypted, so are more secure than being sent via the post, and are stored electronically.

They can ensure a smoother process for businesses with customers globally, thereby improving workflows and making it easier as they scale up. Electronic signature solutions can be easily embedded into the systems businesses are already using.

Documents requiring an electronic signature can be sent anywhere in the world, digitally. This can speed up a process that might otherwise have taken days or even weeks.

Electronic signatures also provide an audit trail, which is useful for compliance purposes. Many providers of electronic signature have a dashboard tool, where you can see what documents are waiting to be signed and by who – so you are able to give signers a nudge and keep the process moving. Full access to current and past records online is another benefit of electronic signature solutions.

Electronic signature best practices

If your business is using electronic signatures, and particularly if it has just started doing so, then it is worth including brief instructions both for employees and customers to ensure they understand how the process works, and their part in it.

It might be best trialling an electronic signature solution before buying into it, to make sure it’s the right fit for your business and to make sure it integrates easily with the other systems you are using. Ensure any electronic signature solution is compliant with local and industry e-signature standards.

Electronic signature use cases

Twiddy and Company Realtors has integrated DocuSign eSignature into its existing reservation software. The company now has complete visibility into the contract signing process. It also conducts renewals using DocuSign eSignature, saving time, reducing costs and eliminating paper.

Laura Carver, Chief Technology Officer for Twiddy and Company, says: “By using DocuSign, we have shortened the time it takes to secure signed vacation rental agreements, making life easier for our customers and employees.”

Summary: Electronic signatures

There are plenty of benefits of implementing electronic signatures into workflows. Businesses across a range of industries are already reaping the rewards of switching to electronic signing. Following best practice should mean that you and your business get the most out of this type of solution.

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