Do you still print out documents, put them into envelopes, send them away and wait patiently for them to be signed and delivered? Electronic signatures are making life easier for business owners, human resources employees, and managers in different industries. Digital technology has allowed them to gather signatures from customers and employees and manage relevant documents with the littlest effort. Gone are the days of printing, mailing, or scanning paper documents. Now you have electronic signatures, which are “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.” Electronic signatures are been used to replace handwritten signatures in a variety of personal or business processes such as contracts, application forms, new hire onboarding forms, nondisclosure agreements, change authorizations, and more.
How do electronic signatures work?
While systems might vary from provider to provider, the general idea behind them is similar. You start by uploading a document (Word, PDF, or image file) to an online service, then tag it with special annotations where signatures eventually have to go. The service sends this marked-up file to your specified recipients, who then “sign” it with a few clicks, with stock cursive fonts or with a scrawl drawn with a mouse (or a finger if you are using a tablet) quickly. Signing can be as simple as checking a box, typing or drawing your signature, or even verbal authorization. The mark you make is the data that secures your document and certifies that it has been signed.
Why should you use an electronic signature?
Before you start using electronic signatures in your business, you should have a clear understanding of their benefits. Here we will examine the most notable ones.
They provide foolproof paperless back-up
If you have ever printed and important document, you probably know the fear of losing or misplacing papers. When you sign a document digitally, a copy of your transaction is stored by the hosting site. You can also keep your documents in multiple places, like secure emails, flash drives, and external hard-drives, which facilitate data monitoring and tracking.
They are environmentally friendly
Storing paper documents not only takes up space but printing out every day at every moment is bad for the environment. To make a standard sheet of printer paper, it takes 13 liters of water and the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets per year. You might also know that an average printer cartridge is made of 70 percent plastic. It takes approximately three to four liters of crude oil to produce one laser cartridge and up to 100 milliliters of crude oil to produce one ink cartridge.
Electronic signatures save resources
Buying a printer paper is not expensive, but if you add all the costs related such as paper, scanning, delivery, storage and maintenance costs, things start to add up. By using online signatures, you can save up to US $20 per document when you integrate digital signatures across different departments and processes.
Online signatures also require less time and effort. Clients can sign-off and get their project or contract started quick and your sales team does not need to waste precious time on unnecessary follow up.
How to choose the right electronic signature app?
Choosing the right electronic signature software for your business can be quite hard. To make your life easier, here we have four questions you need to ask before taking a decision.
Does it provide an intuitive user experience?
One of the key things to consider when choosing an electronic signature app is ease of use . Creating and storing a signature should be easy. If users need to spend hours going through a manual before getting started, that might not be the right solution. You should choose an app that is simple and intuitive; one that can deliver a positive client experience every time.
Does it integrate with your tools?
Your team might already have many business applications to manage daily tasks. Leveraging an electronic signature software that integrates with your existing apps will save your employees a lot of time and will improve their performance. If a software does not meet your needs, go for the next one.
Is the app safe?
Another key factor when choosing an electronic signature app is the level of security offered. Dangerous malware-containing apps are gateways for malicious activity. In simple words, some apps can tap into your phone and steal sensitive data. The safest way to find apps is to download from trustworthy markets. Do not download apps impulsively. Instead, take the time to get to know your source.
Does it comply with regulations that are relevant to your business?
Electronic signature apps must comply different regulations depending on geographical jurisdiction of your business. For instance, the United States follows the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) while the EU (European Union) uses the electronic IDentification and Authentication Services (eIDAS).
Before you invest in a specific app, you may want to double-check the security features offered to know if they meet your business or personal needs. What qualifies as a legally binding signature can vary by country, and different types of documents may have different requirements. Asking yourself these questions before making a final decision about electronic signature app will help you choose the right solution for your business.
The best esignature apps
Most of the apps on this list offer basic features, like the ability to password-protect a document so that only the correct person can sign it. Some eSignature apps offer steps beyond that, like requiring the signer to receive a verification code via SMS before they can sign. Moreover, other apps included on this list use bank-level encryption when transmitting and storing documents for extra security.
It is one of the most popular electronic signature apps available. Getting started with DocuSign is pretty easy: when you sign up, the app will show you how to upload a document, prepare it for signature, select recipients, and send it. You can also manage your drafts from DocuSign’s dashboard. The Quick View sidebar makes it simple to track the status of documents throughout their entire lifecycle. You can see which documents require action, which are waiting on other people, and which are ready. You can even see which are expiring soon.
As the benchmark for professional document apps, users expect a lot from Adobe and they deliver. Adobe Sign works in a web browser or mobile app and it is used to send, sign, track, and manage signature processes. It can also be used inside other applications. You can send documents for signature and perform other tasks while working in popular business productivity apps like Microsoft Office 365 Word and PowerPoint, Box, Dropbox, and Google Drive.
With Adobe Sign, you can automate signing and approvals across your organization, reducing signing and approval processes, improving staff collaboration and mobility, and creating great customer experiences. Recipients can open and sign a document from any browser or mobile device, even if they do not have an Adobe account.
It is similar to other eSignature software, though its UX is more modern than other software. What sets Yousign apart from other apps are its procedures: a set of steps, signers, and notifications that you can re-use whenever you send similar documents. This feature is great if you have to regularly send lots of paperwork to the same people or if you work with standardized documents. For instance, if you have a small business that hires many seasonal employees and you need to send them the same general contract, with Yousign, you do not have to manually prepare and send the contract to each employee. You can just create a Procedure that sets a signature deadline, password-protects the contract, and automatically sends personalized reminders to each new hire on a schedule. Thanks to the fact that you can customize the notification settings for each procedure, it is easy to ensure that you get signatures in time.
HelloSign is one of the simplest and easiest ways to sign documents or collect signatures for businesses on a budget. With a browser extension, HelloSign lets you sign documents in Gmail. You can also use its mobile apps for iOS and Android to sign documents on the go. Its saved signatures are a timesaver. You can create a new signature by uploading an image file, dragging your finger over your trackpad, or taking a picture of your signature with your phone. Otherwise, you can use one of HelloSign’s handwriting fonts to type your signature.
It is a great solution for e-signature needs. Simple to learn and simple to use, Right Signature has several security features you can add to documents to verify the recipients ID and help prevent fraud. It also works well for engagement letters and contracts. Each recipient receives a copy of the document in their email and they sign in their designated spots- Then you receive an email notifying you that the document has been signed and a copy of all signatures attached. The program will even send reminders to any recipients who have forgotten to sign their document. This one had the easiest user interface and progression for getting documents signed.
If you still have not made the switch to electronic signatures, you are missing out because they simplify the task of obtaining signatures and expedites the contract signing process, all in a smoothly and efficient way. By providing faster turnarounds on administrative tasks, e-signatures help you to save time for things that are more urgent in your business while increasing security, boosting efficiency. They also help you to reduce paper usage. It is a win-win for your business as well as the environment.
DataScope is a platform which allows various industries to streamline, organize and evaluate the work of their field staffs thanks to online forms which provide real time indicators 100% adaptable to any field.