Electronic signatures are enjoying a boom and the chances are you have already heard about them. So you are almost certainly wondering which documents, in practical terms, can be signed with an electronic signature. Generally speaking, any document can be signed using an electronic signature. However, we will look in slightly more detail at the agreements we sign so as to provide advice that is as practical as possible.
First electronic signature example: HR departments
Human Resources Departments groan under the weight of forms and files and administrative procedures that require time, effort, patience and, primarily, lots and lots of paper and pens.
It is therefore no surprise that Human Resources departments have begun their digital transition. Many HR departments are already using HR software or an ATS. Electronic signature is a perfectly logical addition to this digital toolkit designed to make life easier for human resources units.
Electronic signature means HR departments can modernise their recruitment procedures and shorten the time taken to set up and ratify contracts:
- Permanent contracts
- Fixed-term contracts
- Temporary work contracts
- Job offer letters
Electronic signatures enable HR departments to manage their contracts more efficiently. Up to now, HR has relied heavily on paper records, so the icing on the cake delivered by electronic signature is the reduction in paper use, leading to a more environmentally-friendly future with far less reliance on physical storage of documents.
Second electronic signature example: banking
Banking is another area that uses vast quantities of paper. The old “receive, print, sign, scan, return” routine is still remarkably popular. When documents are sent in PDF format, bank customers have no choice but to print them to add their signature.
As for the initialling of every page by the bank branch, it is time consuming and quite often causes a touch of writers’ cramp after signing and initialling a dozen pages.
Happily, this chore has been greatly improved by the introduction of electronic signatures. A large number of banks are now using electronic signature solutions such as Yousign to digitalise their processes, reduce their use of paper and, importantly, save valuable time.
In the case of banking, electronic signatures can be of real help for all the agreements between a bank and its customers:
- Direct debit instructions
- Opening and closing bank accounts
- Bank loans
- Agreement to the terms and conditions of use/sale
Time savings, modernisations and efficiency are all reasons why banking has adopted electronic signatures. Customers can sign quickly and securely.
Third electronic signature example: the legal profession
For lawyers of all kinds, electronic document signature has been a godsend during the lockdowns that forced everyone to stay at home. Contracts requiring ratification or signature by various parties, meanwhile, continued to circulate as normal, and it was crucial for members of the legal profession to find a workaround solution for these unusual circumstances. Electronic signature has established itself as the perfect alternative as it enables fully-secure remote signature of a plethora of documents, including but not limited to:
- Letters of engagement
- Private agreements
Electronic signature is part of a wider development in legal practice aimed at simplifying client and case management and shortening the time taken for the various parties involved to ratify documentation.
Fourth electronic signature example: sales
According to recent research published by Forbes, sales representatives spend just 35% of their time on tasks directly connected to their core business, i.e. selling. Administrative tasks account for 14% of this lost effectiveness.
Electronic signature is of invaluable help to sales reps because it means the sales process can be digital, and releases sales departments from the constraints imposed by working with paper documents. In this way, all sales agreements signed between a prospective buyer and a business can be signed in complete security using an electronic signature:
- Purchase orders
- Sales contracts
Thanks to electronic signatures, sales teams can at last focus on what makes their real added value, without concerning themselves with the admin aspect attached to their role.
Through these four electronic signature examples (there are plenty more!), we have shown the extent to which electronic signatures can deliver efficiency, security and improvements to your business. It triggers the emergence of more agile new practices and gives your business the chance to free itself from the constraints imposed by paper documentation.