Digital Signature Solutions for SMEs (Part 1)

Learn benefits for using digital signature solutions for SMEs

Name any industry and I can almost guarantee they would benefit from digital signature solutions. But for the sake of saving us time, I’ll just cover 5 industries today and the benefits of using digital signature solutions for SMEs.
eSignatures increase efficiency, security, customer satisfaction, all while saving time, money and effort. Not to mention all the environmental benefits from ditching paper!

See how using digital signature solutions for SMEs can streamline your daily operations:

  1. Medical marijuana

The very existence of medical marijuana businesses proves the traditional way of doing things is not always the best. It’s only fitting for this new up and coming industry to use innovative signature signing, eSignatures! With eSignatures, you can register new clients and patients quickly, from any location and any device. You can also better manage patient information, by using a secure and centralized storage space. Remove barriers for new client sign ups, and watch your business light up (pun intended).

  1. Insurance

By using electronic signatures, insurance firms and agents can sign more customers, faster. They can bypass traditional time delays (like scanning), drastically reduce the need for paperwork, send automated reminders to recipients, and reduce the number of uncompleted documents, accelerating the entire signing process. They strengthen collaboration between all parties, streamlining the entire process. This also improves the overall customer experience. Not only will they receive their contracts sooner, but they also have the flexibility of signing from any device, anywhere! With this in mind, nearly 9 out of 10 customers would pay more to ensure a superior customer experience. Unsurprisingly, digital signature solutions for SMEs can make completing contracts 80% faster. On top of everything, eSignatures are extremely secure and safe. They require ID authentication and record tamper-proof audit trails.

  1. Freelancers

The life of the average freelancer probably involves excessive amounts of paperwork with multiple parties. Trying to juggle this with client expectations, administrative tasks and self-promotion can be extremely overwhelming. Work smarter, not harder with eSignatures: impress clients, save time on tedious document signing, cut administrative costs, and improve overall efficiency. With their in-depth audit trail and centralized storage, you will always be on the ball, with little risk of something getting lost in the shuffle. Bonus, they can also help you get paid faster!

  1. Real estate

eSignatures can quickly change for sale signs to sold. You can finalize contracts faster by removing logistical barriers and sharing documents effortlessly, making document signing easier for clients. Track the status of your documents, send reminders to customers when necessary, and warn clients when important information is missing (like that last initial!). Since your documents can be stored in one location, you can use past documents as a reference for future transactions.

  1. Law

Using electronic signatures can benefit law firms, their employees and clients. Employees will no longer have to waste their time filling out tedious paperwork, and clients will not have to visit the office in order to sign. Furthermore, eSignatures are more enforceable, traceable, confidential, and, hence, secure- increasing customers trust.
Using digital signature solutions for SMEs is basically a no-brainer. No matter what industry, eSignatures improve overall business functions while cutting costs and enhancing customer experience.
Basically, paper signatures are the new carrier pigeon.
Stay tuned for Part 2, where I’ll discuss more industries and how they can also be enhanced by eSignatures.
If you want to learn more, check out our page on how digital signature solutions work and how it benefits your business!
Looking to take your business paperless? Sign-up now and get free access to Signority’s Business Plan.

Quick Reference Guide: Electronic Signatures & the ESIGN Act

electronic signatures and the ESIGN Act

We’ve previously covered a general description of what electronic signatures are, let’s look at it from the perspective of the ESIGN act.
For the sake of this post, we’ll first look at what the ESign act is. Wikipedia defines the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act or ESIGN act as, “a United States federal law passed by the U.S. Congress to facilitate the use of electronic records and electronic signatures in interstate and foreign commerce by ensuring the validity and legal effect of contracts entered into electronically.”   
Breaking down the ESign Act
As defined by the ESIGN Act here (more on this foundational piece of legislation shortly), an eSignature is “any 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.” If that definition sounds vague or unclear, don’t worry. That’s sort of the idea; it is, after all, “legal-ese”. In plain English, however, the above definition simply “states” an eSignature as a legal concept. That is, its legal definition simply means that it is possible for an electronic signature to carry the same sort of legal “weight” as its pen-and-paper equivalent. That probably doesn’t make too much sense at this very moment. So, let’s take a closer look.
First, there is one critically important point you should understand: In a strictly legal sense, the term “electronic signature” does not refer to an actual signature. Instead, the term refers more broadly to the process requirements (we’ll call them components) that must be met in order for an electronically signed document to be considered legally binding in a court of law.
As far as the law is concerned, a signature is simply one component of an electronically signed document. By itself, it carries no legal authority. In order for an electronic document to stand up in a court of law, all of the components must be present. The ESIGN Act (again, more on this shortly) explicitly outlines these components in an attempt to standardize, well, the process by which an electronic document must be handled so that it carries full, legal authority. Let’s take a quick look at the basic components of an electronic signature.
As we just reviewed, the signature itself is only one component of a legally-binding electronic contract. However, there are four, primary components that you should care about most:

  1. Consent:
    Basically, any individual who signs an electronic document must explicitly consent to do so in the first place. Should an individual choose not to consent to an electronically signed agreement, a non-electronic option must be made available.
  1. Intent:
    In the simplest terms, this means that the signer clearly understands his or her intent to sign the document, and the process by which the individual signed the document was clear and understood from beginning to end.
  1. Verification:
    For an electronic document to be considered legally binding it must be signed by the same person whose signature appears on the dotted line. In turn, most electronic signature solutions have built-in verification methods.
  1. Auditability:
    This is the electronic equivalent of a “paper trail,” (popularly know in the electronic signature industry as an ‘Audit Trail’) whereby each party involved in an electronic agreement (or a legal entity, for instance) can, if necessary, easily access each step of the electronic signature process. You can read more about the anatomy and importance of an audit trail in our post titled “The Anatomy of an Audit Trail: Electronic Signature Simplified”.

We realize that navigating through the world of electronic signatures can be tricky, so we created “A Brief Introduction to eSignatures”. You can download if for free here.