Gone are the days when businesses had to print documents, scan them, and send them via mail, hoping the recipient will get them on time, sign, and send them back.
The process was inconvenient and often brought frustrations such as losing documents, late deliveries, and misplacing crucial documents. Plus, the risk of confidential documents falling into the wrong hands was of concern.
Fortunately, e-signatures have alleviated the burden and formed a business standard that’s both safe and convenient. Entrepreneurs and corporations can now obtain signatures faster and without the risk of losing crucial documents.
E-signing is a digital technology that allows a person to affix a signature or its equivalent on electronic documents or records.
This article will illuminate the top five reasons why e-signing is essential for your business.
1. It Makes Things Easy
If you’ve ever had to get documents signed before, you probably know the hassle of the whole process. Electronic signatures provide an easy and fast solution.
If your business requires the signing of various PDF templates and contracts, receipts, consent forms, among others, your employees will most likely spend most of their time handling these processes. It’s also challenging for the recipients because they must be physically present to sign them.
E-signing makes things easy and efficient for both your company and the recipients. It keeps the process digitized and reduces the amount of time and effort spent on such tasks.
As a result, you can eliminate repetitive tasks, and your employees can focus on more productive assignments.
Wright-Patt Credit Union employees would spend approximately 22 minutes preparing paperwork to be signed by the members, but since they digitized the process, the time was reduced by 50%.
E-signatures are completed within seconds with a click of a button and can result in:
- Improved productivity of employees
- Improved workflow and faster progress of projects
- Sales enablement
- A better experience for your clients, business partners, and other recipients of documents that require signing.
- Convenience when dealing with customers, clients, and stakeholders in different locations
2. It’s Extremely Secure
Paper documents are susceptible to getting lost among other piles of paperwork or even someone accessing them. Hard copies make it easy for you to lose confidential information to your competitors.
Unless you don’t take your eyes off them (which is practically impossible), there’s always the risk of damage, loss, and, even worse, signature forgery.
E-signing is highly secure. Many signature software solutions have invested in state-of-the-art security systems to ensure no one unauthorized can access your documents and records.
Many e-signature software providers add several layers of security, including digital certificates, encryption, digital using GDPR-compliant servers, and hash codes for each document.
Additionally, they have features that capture comprehensive audit trails like timestamps, GPS, and coordinates. That means you can trace who signed the document, where they signed from, and the time they signed.
For additional security, the platforms can reduce the risk of fraud through multiple authentication methods such as user ID/password, e-sign session invitation to authenticate email address, video links, and webcams for when you require witnessed signatures, among others.
E-signing platforms package and secure the e-signed documents with a digital signature at the signature and document level. It tamper-proofs and locks down the e-signed document to ensure any unauthorized changes can be noticed.
3. It is Environmentally Friendly
40% of all the waste in the United States is paper.
This makes about 71.6 million tonnes annually. Since paper is made from wood, it uses about 40% of global timber, increasing deforestation.
As if that’s not bad enough, paper manufacturing produces sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide, thus contributing to global warming.
Going digital with your documents is easy and can make a significant difference. By adopting electronic signatures, you’ll make tasks easier and protect the environment from pollution and deforestation.
Additionally, environmental impact is gaining popularity as a selling point for consumers. Companies can now create business value through sustainability.
According to a survey, 42% of consumers in North America had no problem paying extra for products made in eco-friendly countries.
E-signing helps reduce papers in your business, thus reducing the amount of paper waste in landfills. It also means reduced demand for papers, thus reduced production resulting in fewer greenhouse gases, and ultimately, earning green points for your business.
Business and marketing sustainability helps construct a healthy structure where the business can thrive. Cutting down on emissions and waste will contribute to a liveable planet.
4. It’s Global and Remote
With the onset of the pandemic, businesses resulted in working remotely to comply with social distancing and lockdown regulations. Some companies offered remote working as a perk during pre-pandemic, but now it has become the norm.
By 2025, approximately 70% of workers will be working remotely. Over 70% of organizations are already considering moving their employees to remote work permanently.
These businesses will require an easy way to sign documents. E-signing provides such companies with precisely that — a convenient, easy, and secure way to sign documents no matter where the signers are in the world.
Also, the advancement of digital technology has extended business to the international level. Customers can now shop from global brands through eCommerce in the comfort of their homes.
Businesses have set up online stores that allow customers to shop their products and services without presenting themselves physically. Companies now have to look for electronic solutions to their processes.
E-signing allows your suppliers and customers to sign the required documents wherever they are in the world. You can sign and send documents to be signed within a few minutes from the sign-in forms to invoices.
5. It Saves Money
Businesses could save up to $1 billion if they reduced their paper wastage by 1%. Imagine how much they’d save by going paperless.
By eliminating manual handling of hardcopy documents, businesses can save on paper costs, mailing supplies, postage, printing supplies, and the time spent by employees processing these documents.
While the daily costs of printing and mailing may not seem huge, they can add up to huge figures over time. The cost of the document approval process is estimated to be $17+ for every record. The estimate does not include administration costs.
OneMain, one of the largest personal lending companies in the U.S., saved $500,000 in toner costs when 99.1% of their customers used e-signatures for loan processing.
Reducing your operational costs can lead to increased profits. Also, employees will spend more time on profit-generating tasks, and you can easily scale your business.
Additionally, you can significantly reduce error rates such as scanning errors and missing files. You’ll, therefore, potentially spend fewer resources correcting the errors and winning back the clients you may have lost because of such avoidable mistakes.
Best Electronic Signature Apps
Here are some of the top e-signing apps.
DottedSign is the easiest to use. It has an intuitive interface and can work well for small and medium businesses. It has automatic reminder features and Dropbox, Google Drive, and One Drive integrations.
Plans start at $9.99/user/month on the Pro plan and $79.99/month for five users on the Business Plan.
If you require a lot of signing, DocuSign is the best e-signature app. It is easy to use and offers a free trial. Just sign up, upload, and prepare documents for signing, then send them to recipients.
A personal plan starts from $15/user/month, and you can send up to five envelopes monthly. A Standard plan starts at $40/user/month, has automatic reminders, and allows you to send unlimited envelopes.
HelloSign is the best app for cloud storage integration. It’s owned by Dropbox and works well with Evernote, Google Drive, One Drive, and Box.
You can upload files directly on HelloSign from Dropbox or Google Drive or use the Chrome add-on to sign documents through the Google Drive app.
Starting at $15/user/month for the Essentials plan, it offers templates, custom branding, and team management features on the Standard $25/user/month plan.
For businesses sending documents to collect payments such as invoices, PandaDoc is the best app. It has features that enable the recipient to enter their credit card information after signing the document and get charged.
It integrates with several payment platforms, including Stripe, PayPal, and Square. While you can collect payments, PandaDoc is not exclusively for that. You can still send documents that only need to be signed.
Plans range from a free plan offering unlimited signatures to the $49/user/month Business plan that offers CRM integration and automated document workflows.
signNow is the best app for small teams. While other platforms charge a significant monthly fee per user, SignNow charges fewer fees, which can be even much less when paid annually.
After signing up, you need to invite your team members to create shared documents and shared templates. Plans start at $8/user/month for a Business plan to $30/user/month for an Enterprise plan.
E-signing is the Future
E-signing saves you money and is secure from fraud. While the world migrates to digital, businesses must learn to integrate electronic solutions to reach customers in remote and international locations.
Some of these solutions, like electronic signatures, benefit the business and contribute to global initiatives such as business sustainability. Making the transition to e-signing is a worthwhile step for any business.