Are you already using electronic documents with digital signatures? It’s time to get started if you haven’t. Electronic Signatures have been a game-changer in many businesses and you can make them one.
Electronic signature speeds up the process of signing documents between parties that can’t meet face-to-face. Electronic signatures add an extra layer of security because sensitive information is not lost in the mail.
There are two types of e-signatures. They are electronic signatures or digital signatures. An electronic signature is just a signature in electronic format. Digital signatures, according to Adobe use a certificate authority for verification of the signer’s identity. The certificate then binds the signature and certificate using encryption.
These 14 methods will make signing digital documents easy, regardless of whether you need to bind digital signatures using an encrypted certificate or not.
1. Use the Sign feature from Box.
Box, like all other great tech companies, has an eSignature application that makes digital document signing easy. This application is natively available in Box so it can be used if you already have an account.
Box Sign allows you to sign documents seamlessly from anywhere. All your documents can be managed in the cloud. Send your client the link, upload your documents and they will sign from your account.
Box Sign is the best e-signature service. No one has to download the document in order to sign it. A note in the margin will indicate that a document needs to be signed. You’ll find another message in the margin after the document is signed.
Box allows you to easily organize and manage important documents in the cloud. However, Box Sign can be embedded on your website. You can embed Box Sign on your website and make use of the features in your own applications using APIs.
2. When possible, use the preferred signature application of your client.
Sometimes clients have strong preferences and can block a project if they are not honored. Ask your client what they would prefer to use e-signature.
While preparing a document for signing in another application can take some time, it can speed up the process if you have the only way to do so.
However, you shouldn’t be catering to picky clients. You shouldn’t make it more difficult for someone who can download a free application and figure it out.
3. Send all documents together for signing.
Sending all documents together is the fastest way to get signatures. Next, let people sign the documents as they are being sent. You can trickle the documents one at a time, so the other party may get tired of signing and procrastinate.
4. Reduce the signatures required by condensing documents
While some documents cannot be condensed or grouped together, it is possible to make things simpler by having a number of them.
5. Use Adobe Reader.
Adobe Reader is already installed on most computers. Adobe Reader also comes with a free e-signature app.
Adobe Reader is an alternative to Box Sign if you don’t have the time or desire to use a faster solution. While you won’t be able to sign documents in the cloud as easily, it’s possible for some clients.
6. You can create a video tutorial that you can show clients.
Sometimes people need visuals to help them sign electronic documents. If you frequently request electronic signatures via a particular application, make a short video tutorial to show people where and how to sign your documents.
You can find a tutorial on YouTube if you don’t have the time or patience to create your video.
7. Avoid using applications that aren’t user-friendly.
E-signature software that is user-friendly is a must. People may abandon electronic signatures if they have difficulty signing them electronically. Do not lose contracts because of a technical issue.
8. Mobile-friendly e-signature applications are essential.
Statistics show that 6.4 billion people worldwide use smartphones. Many people also conduct business entirely from their mobile devices, which include smartphones and tablets. There is a good chance that people will sign your documents using a mobile device.
You can expect your recipient to sign your documents electronically if you have a mobile device.
9. As a backup, send paper documents via the mail.
Electronic signatures may not be accepted by everyone. Sometimes, people are unable to sign electronically or find the process confusing. If someone asks, be prepared to send them a printed copy of your documents by mail.
10. All fields should be marked for initials and signatures.
No matter if you are using electronic or paper documents, mark any fields that require signatures or initials. If someone fails to sign in the correct place or misses areas for initials, it will slow down your entire process.
You might number your signature fields if you are sending a large document that has many pages to someone. Some people will complete all required signatures by adding numbers to each field.
Let’s say, for example, that someone has just signed signature #3. They’ll be able to tell if the next page has signature #5.
11. Don’t skip the page without signatures
Logically, it should be obvious that someone skips pages because the copy would not read in context. Many people sign documents without reading them. This is true for both electronic and paper documents. People sometimes scan through documents quickly.
Also read: Top 7 Document Management Software
12. Use PDF files exclusively.
Do not ask for signatures on Microsoft Word documents, or any other word processing file. Although you can create contracts in MS Word, you will need to save it as a PDF file before you send it off for signature.
Professional organizations use PDF files to create contracts. They can accept signatures. You can add signature elements wherever you like to your PDF version once you have created it. This is not possible with Word documents.
13. Always include a deadline for returning documents.
Signing and returning time-sensitive documents must be done on time. For documents that are not time-sensitive, you may want to establish a deadline.
People tend to forget about deadlines and put off things. Setting deadlines is an important business strategy.
Companies that don’t adhere to deadlines are often doomed. They set deadlines, but then constantly adjust them.
Give people no leeway. Give deadlines and details about the consequences of late deliveries. Late delivery of documents could result in a delay of up to a week.
If you are running a tight ship you may choose to cancel contracts. People who fail to return documents within a reasonable time frame can be a problem. For example, if you have not returned a document by the deadline, it could mean that you will not do business with them in the future.
It’s okay if someone needs to take extra time to review the document with their lawyer. As long as they communicate about it.
14. Electronic signatures are legally binding.
You now know how to sign PDF documents electronically. Now you want to know if electronic signatures can be legally binding. Yes.
Since 2000 when the ESIGN law passed, electronic signatures are legally binding at the federal level. Some documents cannot be signed electronically, however, such as wills, testamentary trusts, and family law documents, court documents, or insurance policy cancellations.
E-signatures make life easier.
Electronic signatures are great for any type of contract. You can make your business run more smoothly, whether you are a solopreneur or a corporation.