9 reasons why your business should switch to electronic signatures
Electronic signatures save time and money by eliminating operational delays and costs associated with traditional paperwork. Learn how to make the switch.
Paperless processes have become the norm in the business world. Even if you’re reluctant to completely move away from using paper documents, a series of small changes can smooth your transition to exclusively digital operations.
Switching to paperless meetings, for example, and digitizing financial transactions are two easy ways to start moving toward a paper-free business. One of the more impactful changes that businesses can make when shifting to paperless operations is using electronic signatures. Electronic signatures can be used for any document requiring a signature and are used internationally in business transactions.
So how, exactly, do electronic signatures work? Simply put, an electronic signature is a legally binding mark – a typed name, photo of a signature, or digitally written name – that indicates consent or approval on a digital document. Electronic signatures can stand in place of a handwritten signature on application forms, nondisclosure agreements, onboarding documents, contracts, and more.
Still unsure about whether you can benefit from adopting electronic signatures in your business? Here are nine more reasons to consider making the switch.
But first, are electronic signatures legal?
Electronic signatures are legally enforceable in many countries, including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Brazil, and Mexico. The globalization of electronic signatures has bolstered the good reputation for these signatures’ safety and legality. In the United States, The ESIGN Act (Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce) is a federal law that regulates eSignatures and affirms the validity of all properly presented electronic signatures.
9 benefits of electronic signature solutions
One of the biggest benefits of using electronic signatures is the speed and efficiency it provides. With the ease of composing and sending an email, contracts and agreements can be shared, adjusted, and signed. With contracting taken care of quickly and effortlessly, more time can be allocated to doing the important projects that drive profit and client retention.
US businesses spend an astounding $8 billion annually managing paper. Using electronic signatures can drastically reduce the costs associated with dealing with physical documents. You no longer have to worry about spending money on printing supplies or postage fees from sending documents through the mail. Furthermore, digitizing your signature process helps reduce paperwork storage costs as businesses are no longer required to keep paper copies around for compliance purposes. All documents with an electronic signature are stored securely online, making them easy to access without taking up physical space in your office or warehouse.
Improved security and compliance
Another benefit of digital signatures is improved security and compliance measures for your business operations. Digital signatures are often safer than traditional scribbles due to the encryption and decryption technology that signature programs use. As digital records are easier to track than physical ones, tracing the time, place, and user who signed a document is simpler than ever. Finally, all documents with electronic signatures must be properly archived per legal regulations, such as GDPR standards (if applicable). These security and compliance measures combine to form airtight security and privacy for anyone signing via electronic signature.
Faster signing process
Traditional paper documents could take days or even weeks for an agreement or contract to make its way back from one party to another. Once it’s received, turnaround is again delayed as the document is inspected for approval before finally being signed by all parties involved. These sluggish processes can cause significant delays in getting projects started on time! On the other hand, electronic forms allow everyone involved in the process to sign immediately from anywhere in the world. Potentially, businesses are looking at the difference between waiting days and waiting mere seconds for the arrival of a signature.
Electronic signatures also offer greater flexibility than handwritten signatures, as they allow customers or clients to sign documents remotely from anywhere in the world at any time of day or night—all they need is an internet connection and a device! This eliminates geographical, physical, or accessibility restrictions that may otherwise prevent someone from signing important agreements quickly and easily.
Electronic signatures are just as legally binding as traditional pen-and-paper ones and offer extra protection against potential fraud or disputes by providing an audit trail. This digital record traces when a document was signed and by whom at every process stage. The “paper” trail left by electronic signature software facilitates the process businesses use to prove their legal agreements if they ever need to do so in court.
One of the most important benefits of moving away from hand-signed documents (also known as wet signatures) is the environmental impact. By eliminating the need for physical storage space (which requires large amounts of energy), transporting documents (via car or air), as well as reducing paper consumption (which requires water, trees, and petroleum), businesses can markedly reduce the negative environmental impact of their work. With legally binding electronic signatures, businesses can reduce their carbon footprint significantly while still being able to protect their important documents
Most reputable providers offer APIs that allow users to easily integrate existing workflow processes into a new platform without having to manually input data every time a new document needs signing. This eliminates tedious manual processes and saves both time and money in the long run by streamlining document processing times across multiple departments within an organization.
Better client experience
Lastly, electronic signatures provide a better customer experience overall. Using electronic signatures, customers don’t have to wait at home for a courier to deliver their agreements before they can actually sign – something that could potentially lead them to look elsewhere for similar services they may urgently need. Allowing customers/clients to communicate, edit, and sign quickly online without leaving their homes is a great way to build trust and ensure that you get great long-term engagement and loyalty!
Get digital signatures with your custom branding
As you can see, switching from manual signatures to digital signature technology has many financial and efficiency advantages. Not only do electronic signatures save money, they also improve the client experience, protect their data, close deals faster, and benefit the environment. If you're planning on transitioning toward going paperless this year, B12 offers an all-in-one solution to consolidate your workflows for signing documents, organizing electronic records, communicating with clients, and growing your business.
B12 offers a suite of business tools, including a secure electronic signature, systems to upload and store electronic documents, a custom website, email marketing, contact management, online payments, and more — all secure and built to scale. B12 makes it easy to finalize contracts remotely by marking up a digital form or contract with fields, dates, and digital signature requirements. Once completed, the electronic document is sent to the appropriate email as a PDF. These simple, easy electronic transactions elevate businesses’ online presence by offering clients a more modern, convenient experience.
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