The Rise of the Electronic Signature

We now live in the digital information age, where business is done primarily online and requires immediacy and for these decisions to be made quickly yet securely. The requirement for authorization sign-offs and actual wet signatures has proven to be an obstacle for many in the changing business climate. Whether it is multinational business agreements where international travel is frowned upon for pandemic-related or climate change reasons or a simple wage or invoice approval for a monthly payment, they may all need signatures. In an age of lessened travel and contact, there need to be ways to avoid the delays caused by waiting for signatures.

The fall of the wet signature

Prior to the recent pandemic, there had been some interest and use of electronic or e-signature. However, the use of a physical signature on a piece of paper in ink was still accepted as the safest and most recognized way to sign and formalize contracts and business documents. The recent pandemic has changed this, and we have seen the demise of the wet signature as it was becoming a major source of delay and one of the major business risk factors.

Business decisions need to be put on hold, and delays were caused as contracts couldn’t be signed immediately or on time, based on the inability of many businesses to produce a safe and secure online electronic signature.

How to guarantee security when signing online

As a means to avoid the forgery of your wet signature, increase efficiencies, and keep up with the use of technology, most business users had begun to experiment with and use some form of electronic signature. Whether this was an encrypted and secure electronic stamp or an actual JPEG of a signature, there were many attempts to provide for a signature that worked and was secure and could not be tampered with.

There has been a rush to market for a number of electronic signature software, and there are some great DocuSign alternatives out there; the main things to look for are noted below:

Pricing: with the range of alternatives and options for e-signatures on the rise, be sure to find a pricing solution that is clear and concise and works for your business.

The simplicity of use: the e-signature alternative or option that you choose must be simple and easily explainable. If you need to send documents out for signatures, you can’t expect the recipient to have to read too much and go through a series of webinars simply to sign the document. It has to be seamless, safe, and simple.

Support: the software or application provider must ensure that your business has access to ongoing support as and when you need it. To be able to finalize the signature and work the process seamlessly.

The amount: read the fine print as there are software companies out there who charge per document, per page, and per signature. If you’re going to need a large number of documents signed and delivered, then be sure to find a provision that accounts for this.

In summary

The technology around e-signatures is moving fast, and your business must be aware of these changes and their uses. Aspects such as certification, notarization, and virtual joint signings are now all possible.

Jennifer Alex

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