We are rapidly adapting into a digital world, meaning it’s now very easy to run an almost paperless office. Being able to get documents processed quickly is simple to do these days with the use of email and other collaboration tools. Even when a document needs signing to complete a transaction, it can be done using an electronic signature rather than relying on the old fashioned pen and paper option.
Here’s a look at how easy it is to digitize your paperwork using electronic signatures, including insights into the technology, the cost savings you can achieve, how you can enjoy improved security via encryption, and what benefits can be enjoyed when you embrace e-signatures as the company standard.
What is an e-signature?
An e-signature is a description used to describe a piece of software that gives you the ability to sign documents electronically without having to print out a paper copy or needing to apply a physical signature. The use of e-signatures is now widespread globally and the vast majority of major countries in the world now recognize electronic signatures as legally viable. If you adopt the use of e-signatures in your business and dealings with external sources and suppliers, you can do so with confidence that many of your counterparts will be able to communicate in this way too.
1. Save on costs
One of the most obvious benefits attached to using e-signatures is that it not only saves time but it can save money too. Printing out paperwork as part of your business routine will soon add up when you consider the cost of the paper and how much you spend on scanning, printing and storing those documents. By comparison, when you digitize that process and use e-signatures instead some estimates suggest you could save as much as $20 per document, which is a significant sum when you add up all the times you might print a document throughout the year.
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2. Easier access to documents
Another obvious benefit attached to using electronic signatures and storing documents in a digital environment is not only the fact that you will be saving on physical storage space by dispensing with a filing cabinet but there is also the ability to easily retrieve these online documents with ease. It’s worth remembering that with e-signatures you have the option of downloading and viewing a document on the go, without being anywhere near your office.
3. Improved security
There are good levels of security attached to e-signature software and whereas a physical document could be copied or stolen, it should be considerably harder to gain access to the details stored electronically. You can protect electronic signatures using a series of security protocols such as passwords and biometric authentication methods. The recipient of your emailed document can only access the details using the password and security details provided and they can send it back signed in just the same secure way.
4. Better for the environment
We are all conscious of our need to display better green credentials and do what we can to protect our environment, which is another compelling reason to switch to using electronic signatures. It is estimated that almost ten liters of water are required to make just one sheet of A4 paper, and nearly half of all business waste is made up of paper products. Electronic signatures use some energy to produce but their green credentials are much better than the paper-based alternative. E-signatures can deliver considerable savings on paper costs and should prove much kinder to the environment.
5. Keep up to date with your filing requirements
The fact that tax authorities have gone digital along with other government entities is a clear indication that e-signatures have gained true acceptance in the business world and should provide a degree of confidence that the practice is secure and safe in most circumstances. You can now file tax returns, submit applications and carry out any number of filing activities online without the need to print any paperwork out at all.
6. Improved workflows
When you are operating in a business environment there is often the need to share documents with colleagues and get things done in a hurry. Providing an e-sign solution within your business will help to optimize your corporate workflow and could give you an edge over your competitors. Electronic documents give you the ability to exchange contracts and other documents with external contractors as well as colleagues so that you can get a deal done quicker, and you can also issue electronic invoices, which can make it easier to get paid.
7. A variety of purposes
There are a number of different industries have embraced the use of electronic signatures and adopted the technology for a variety of different purposes. This includes things like server data authentication, protecting sensitive email accounts, and for authenticating Virtual Private Network access.
8. More than just a signature
If you are looking for an e-sign solution it is worth highlighting, consider that the technology offers a lot more than just being able to assign a facsimile of your physical signature on a document. Using this software will open up the possibility of allowing a number of different users to work on the same documentation remotely, as well as providing the most reliable encryption so that you are not unintentionally sharing sensitive information with anyone not authorized to see it.
Electronic signatures make it much simpler and more cost-effective to create secure documents and to store those documents more efficiently than if you were still using the old standard of printing out your paperwork. E-signature technology is a prime example of technology having a significant impact on your business without having to make any major changes to your business when adopting these new practices.