In this day and age, ideas, innovation, and change are not limited to any one size or shape. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some take off immediately, while others may take decades to fruition. And then some never see the light of day. These little businesses impact society regardless of how big or small they may be. Governments around the globe are working hard to create a better environment for new business ventures to flourish. However, other factors must be considered.
When operating on a tight budget means investing in smart alternatives and cutting down on unnecessary expenses. Thankfully, we live in an age where we can easily automate our manual processes and replace them with digital ones. The same goes for signing documents.
Digital Signatures have been around for some time; however, they have never been as useful as during this global pandemic crisis.
E‑Signatures allow companies to quickly sign contracts with their clients, eliminating the need for paper documents. They're also legally sound because they're just as good as handwritten ones.
Digital transformations are terms that frequently surface when talking about the future of businesses. They refer to integrating technology into various parts of your company. A key part of digital transformations is digital signatures – they provide a secure way to conclude transactions virtually.
eSignly is an electronic signing system that lets you digitally sign contracts, agreements, invoices, and other legal documents. It offers eight different features to make life easier for both parties involved in any transaction.
What Is an Electronic Signature?
An electronic signature involves any electronic authentication methods that accept and confirm a contract or agreement. To ensure the authenticity of the signatory, the system needs to verify the signatory's ID (corporate ID or verified email address). Electronic signature systems may employ multi-factor authentication techniques to create an auditable trail.
Different types of Electronic Signatures include:
- Standardized electronic signatures (SES)
- Advanced electronic signatures (AES)
- Qualified electronic signatures (QES)
Before we reflect on the benefits of electronic Signatures for Start-ups, it is important to understand what an electronic signature is. An electronic signature is a piece of information that is used to verify the authenticity of another piece of information. In simple terms, it is a digital stamp that verifies the authenticity of your signature. Here is an overview of the various steps in creating an electronic signature.
Key pairs are generated by an encryption algorithm so that each document has its own unique set of keys. These keys are used to encrypt the document.
One of the main benefits of using an eSignature solution is its ability to verify the signer's identity. An eSignature system uses a unique identifier to identify each user who signs documents electronically.
Explaining the Three Types of Electronic Signatures
There are three different kinds of electronic signatures: simple electronic signatures (SES), advanced e-signs (AES), and qualified electronic signatures (QES). Learn more about them and when to use each one.
Digital Certificates use PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) to authenticate the identities of the requestors. This type of identification ensures the authenticity of e-documents and links them directly to their authors.
Digital signatures comply with some of the most stringent regulatory standards, including the United States Electronic Signatures in Global Commerce Act (ESIGN) Act, the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, UETA, and other relevant international laws.
Electronic signatures vary depending on their use and who's using them. Some require additional verification steps beyond just knowing someone's name, address, etc.
Simple Electronic Signatures (SES)
These are the broad and simple forms of electronic signature. eIDAS defines these as “attached or logically associated” electronic documents, which do not require any identity verification from the signer. Still, trust in these signatures is the responsibility of the individual accepting the document.
For some types of documents, simple electronic signatures may be enough. But for others, more formal requirements need to be met.
Advanced Electronic Signatures (AES)
In contrast to simple electronic documents, digital signature technologies such as PKI require a level of identity authentication. Digital Signing Certificates are used to verify the identity of an individual signing a message. A certificate contains information about the person who owns the certificate, including their name, email address, phone number, physical location, date of birth, public key, and so on. When a user signs a message, the user’s private key is used to encrypt the message. Then, the user sends the encrypted and signed messages to the recipient. Once the recipient receives both messages, he decrypts the signed message using the sender’s public key and then verifies the authenticity of the sender.
Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES)
These are like advanced digital certificates, but they're used to meet additional regulatory compliance standards. Qualified electronic digital certificates (QEDC) include a certification signed by a trusted third party. They also require prior verification of the signatory's identity through face-to-face interaction or remote communication.
What Does the Future Hold for eSignature Software?
As we enter the new year, it's a good time to think about how our organizations manage signatures and imagine new approaches for growing.
eSignly has analyzed the recent growth of electronic signatures and predicted what they might look like in the coming years.
AI and Machine Learning Will Revolutionize Paperwork
With advances in conversational AI, people will soon be able to search for information and extract it from various types of content using conversational interfaces.
According to a recent survey from Stanford University, productivity is most likely to suffer when employees work remotely. However, it doesn't always have to be this way. Forward-thinking organizations will realize that embracing ground-shaking innovations, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Computer Vision (CV), is one of the better ways to avoid the "efficiency slump."
Imagine a document bot that could help automate the creation of legal documents. This would take away the manual drudgework of paperwork. Research shows a 70% probability that this futuristic concept will become a reality by 2022.
To help companies automate their document workflow, they'll soon be able to redirect employee attention from mundane paperwork to more important activities.
Brands Will Be Able to Provide a Smoother Experience to Digital Natives
Fintech companies like Squareup and Kabbage have begun using free eSignature software to streamline document approvals. These digital workflows are especially useful when dealing with time-sensitive transactions like emergencies or instant loans.
E-signature technology enables companies to close deals faster than ever before. It reduces lead times and helps companies win new business by securing deals at the moment when prospects are most interested.
Fintech companies can use API integration to improve their customer experience by integrating eSignatures into their payments flow and other LOB applications. This will be a big win for both customers and companies.
Contactless Technology Will Improve Contract Validation
To combat the spread of COVID-19, the Australian government has implemented several measures at its airports, including bag drop stations that use facial recognition technology to track passengers' bags, passport screening from a distance, and enhanced cleaning protocols.
Biometrics are becoming increasingly popular across different industries. For example, companies use them to validate user identities without requiring physical interactions. In the eSignatures space, eSignly has enabled multi-factor authentication for signers via FaceID and TouchID. We expect many other digital workflows and tools will integrate similar features soon.
The Increasing Appeal of the Electronic Signature Against a Hybrid Work Backdrop
With the rise of remote working and flexible hours, companies are no longer bound by traditional 9–5 working patterns. In addition, the pandemic has made us realize just how much we rely on our colleagues – both those who are physically present and those who aren’t. We know that people are happier when they feel valued, respected and appreciated, and these feelings can be fostered through good communication. So, if your company plans to return to business as usual soon, consider the needs of your team members, not just yours.
Given the current context, electronic signatures represent a strong case for companies because they round out their digital tool shed and offer employees much sought-after flexibility. And not just employees. Because in addition, organizations face an unprecedented increase in the number of freelance professionals who will need to be supported by solutions tailored to how they operate. So there’s even more incentive to include NDA electronic signature in their daily routines.
The digital signature industry comprises various vendors who provide customer service through various channels. These include software developers, hardware manufacturers, service providers, and business process outsourcing (BPO) firms. Companies that provide these services constantly develop new products and services to attract potential clients. The global digital signatures industry was valued at US$2.6 billion in 2016 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 5% during the forecast period.
E-signature Will Grow from a Team-Specific Tool to a Companywide Strategic Imperative
Today’s modern organization relies on either legal or IT departments to own the adoption of electronic signatures. However, it’s important to remember that the responsibility for driving the adoption of electronic signatures is not limited to just one department.
As more contracts are digitally signed, negotiated, approved and stored, every team within an organization will be interested in part of the bigger electronic signatures picture. Human Resources will seek to streamline recruitment and onboarding paperwork (particularly if these new hires are remote). Sales will seek to reduce contract creation and approval times. Procurement will strive to improve flexibility in negotiations with new and existing suppliers. Legal and IT will remain central signatories, but other teams will grow increasingly concerned about electronic signatures' performance.
Best eSignature Software for Start-Ups and New Businesses
eSignature Software can help you create and send secure electronic signatures quickly and easily.
Often, these included PDFs, a convenient way for sharing documents among people using different OSs and devices, and they now form a key component of the best eSign solutions.
It's not surprising that PDF has become one of the most popular document file formats online. It is often seen when people download files from the web or send them via email.
Because PDFs can be file-encrypted, they're useful for keeping the integrity of the information contained within them intact. They're particularly useful for business contracts, service agreements, EULAs (Employment Agreements), NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements) and other important documents.
It's even more important now that we're using digital signatures instead of printing things and signing them manually. We need an easy way to authorize these files, so they don't get lost or misfiled.
Fortunately, several software packages provide this feature and service; therefore, you can more easily work with confidential documents and contracts.
We'll show you some of the best eSign software products currently available.
We’re starting with the biggest name in the industry – Adobe Sign.
Adobe's service provides lots of tools and functions. You can access them through their website or by using the free Adobe Reader software. They offer an online signature verification service to ensure that signatures on important files comply with the law. And they allow you to customize your signature for added security.
New features include compliance for pharmaceutical and biotech companies and new integrations with SAP SuccessFactors and Microsoft Office 365.
eSignly provides its clients with electronic signatures for free, satisfying their needs by offering them electronic signature solutions across various industry sectors, including finance, insurance, and health care.
ESS helps businesses cut down on paperwork and makes signatures easier to complete.
eSignly is an online signature service provider helping businesses reduce costs and comply with legal regulations. We help our clients sign documents electronically, eliminating the need for physical signatures. These documents can be shared online and across geographic locations. They're easy to view in one single step.
This reduces the number of steps required to complete a transaction. eSignly eliminates the tedium of signing multiple documents one after another. Users pick the documents they’d like signed, choose the people who should sign them, and send them off. eSignly works with any file.
eSignly has developed a reputation for being easy to access, quick to sign documents, and trustworthy. It works across multiple devices, including mobile apps, websites, and desktop applications.
PandaDoc is an excellent choice for signing contracts, whether you're working on a single document or regularly needing to sign multiple documents. It offers a little bit of everything and is easy to use. For these reasons, it lands at number one for eSignatures.
The free version can handle just about any document creation you might require. You get five signatures per day, unlimited pages, and unlimited users. For $19 per month per person, you'll get access to the same rich media editing experience as the paid plans, plus a few extras. You can add an optional email marketing component for $9 per month. And if you’re a big company, you can scale out to multiple users on the free tier.
PandaDoc allows you to create or upload any document type for signing quickly. You can automate the workflow so that certain actions only happen after another person signs the document. And suppose you're not satisfied with what PandaDoc offers out of the box. In that case, you can easily integrate it into your existing platform or build something custom.
DocuSign is the de facto leader in this field, supporting features such as electronic signatures, electronic notarizations, and contract lifecycle management workflows. It also allows for the incorporation of payments from within a document and capturing consent with a single click through its Agreements Cloud platform.
There are several use case examples for DocuSign within enterprises, including ones for customer service, facilities, financials, HR, IT/operational, legal, marketing, procurements, and products. Partnerships and integrations (including more than 350 systems) provide more than 3500 applications.
Some additional features of DocuSign Enterprise Edition include mobile app support, customizable fields, reusable template options, multi-user routing, and enterprise-level encryption and compliance requirements. See DocuSign Enterprise Edition for details.
The company offers a 14-day free trial, but prices range from $10 per user per year for a personal plan to $40 per user per year for a business plan. Sales calls are required for enterprise offerings. Customers who only need legally-enforceable e-signatures can get them using the DocuSign Free edition.
With the help of our online service, you can easily customize your electronic signatures. You can also store your signed contracts digitally and access them anytime, anywhere. Our secure platform gives you control over who can see information about you, including your name, address, phone number, email address, and date of birth. Signatures can be printed, emailed, faxed, scanned, or saved to an image file.
You can add additional features, including templates, multiple business administration, a contact manager, app integration, and API support.
With the free Ever sign Lite service, you get up to 5 document creation requests per month, with 1 SMS credit and 3 API request limits. Starting from $10 per month, three plans are available: Basic, Pro and Premium.
Dropbox has acquired HelloSign. It’s now the default electronic signing service for Dropbox users. With features including unlimited signatures, customizable signers, template options, an app, email access for help, and multiple language options (including 22 different languages), HelloSign makes it easy to get started using electronic signatures.
Signatures may be added, modified, or deleted, and signatures may be tracked with email notifications. Signature blocks may be dragged and dropped into place. Checkboxes, date ranges, and other enhancements may be applied to signers. Integrations allow users to add signatures to files stored in leading cloud services such as Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, OneDrive, and SharePoint. Additional integrations support integration with leading business applications, including Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics 365, SugarCRM, Zoho CRM, Workday, NetSuite, SAP SuccessFactors, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Jira Software, and others. Users may also integrate signatures with third-party software tools such as Trello, Slack, Skype for Business, and Zoom.
For individuals, pricing starts at $15 per user per year, with enterprise pricing starting at $25 per employee per year. There are no plans for small businesses. Free trials are also available.
How Can Start-Ups benefit from eSignature Solutions?
Electronic signing (eSign) is a quick, secure and easy way to get a legally binding document signed by someone else. It’s especially useful for small business owners who need to sign contracts or agreements quickly without waiting days or weeks for a notary public.
Electronic signatures are fast gaining popularity among business owners who want to cut costs by going paperless.
A handwritten or typed document version is the golden standard for proof of authenticity. Still, digital signing offers greater security than traditional methods. This added layer of security comes from using asymmetric cryptography and digital certificate technology.
Cryptography is the science of securing information against unauthorized access or disclosure. In computer security, cryptography protects sensitive data such as passwords and credit card numbers. Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is an umbrella term for cryptographic techniques commonly employed to provide user authentication, confidentiality and integrity services. PKI can be applied both within and across organizational boundaries. For example, a company may wish to authenticate employees' email messages so that only authorized personnel can access corporate resources. A user might also encrypt his files before sending them via email to prevent others from reading them.
Close Anywhere, Anytime
About 40% of all employees in the United States engage in non-work related activities outside of the workplace.
With mobile technology, your business is always open; sales ops that cannot keep up with digital transformation won't be able to compete.
To always be ‘closers,’ sales operations will need to implement a mobile-first electronic signature (eSignature) solution.
Electronic signatures can be secured through password protection and biometrics. Signers can use their credentials provided by the service to sign electronic documents, and receivers of these documents can only view them from their accounts. This adds an extra layer of security to regular paper documents.
Electronic Signatures Lets You Receive Payment Faster
Because electronic signatures are so quick and easy to create, you’ll probably see shorter timeframes for executing contracts that involve multiple parties. Electronic signature technology makes it easier to execute agreements that require multiple people to agree.
With electronic signature technology, you no longer need to wait for everyone to sign; you can receive the document within minutes. You’ll be able to pay faster than ever before.
Electronic signatures (ES) have been proven to increase efficiency by up to 400%, which makes them an excellent tool for companies across various industries.
Increases Security and Reduces Risk
Electronic signatures are secure because they're digital, so there's no way for someone else.
- Electronic signatures are legally binding and hard to fake, which makes them safer than handwritten ones.
- An e-signature is usually accompanied by a digital record of communications, signatures, or contract drafts, making it easier to verify than handwritten notes.
- eSignatures can identify even small changes and additions, so they're safer than wet signatures that can be altered easily.
- They're easily misplaced or lost, and they're subject to the possibility of physical damage.
- Ensuring electronic signatures ensures that every signature is complete and accurate.
- No one can access electronic files without proper authorization.
- Electronic signatures are marked with information like the signatory’s identity, location, and the date/time they were created.
- Biometrics can help protect electronic signatures from unauthorized use by verifying an individual's identity using unique physical characteristics. Passwords can also be used to verify the identity of individuals.
Signing Documents Electronically Cuts Down on Paper Usage and Saves Time
According to an Adobe survey, 61% of business leaders say that using electronic signatures cuts down on paper-based document management expenses.
This is not surprising if you think about the cost of processing papers. On average, an American employee uses two sheets of copying material per week at $0.50 per sheet. A 100-employee business amounts to $5000 per year without even accounting for storage, printer repairs, inks, and so on.
Of course, electronic signatures only account for a fraction of the total paperwork produced by an average business. However, there are still substantial cost reductions to be had. Furthermore, e-signatures often provide secure online storage of contract documents, PDFs, proposals and invoices. These files can easily be stored online without the need for physical space.
Fewer Document Errors
Companies and individuals usually rely on document signing software to apply electronic signatures to their documents. However, these apps offer numerous additional benefits, including reduced errors in agreements, proposals, invoicing, etc.
Studies show that electronic signature (ES) software reduces the total number of errors by an average of 80% for writers, managers, and legal professionals.
The Key Takeaway
Here are some benefits of implementing electronic signatures into your start-up. It’ll be easy to implement, but it’ll help you save time and improve customer service.
Electronic signatures have numerous benefits for start-up companies. Start-up companies that realize the significance of electronic signatures for the advantages in the long run for their development can take up new approaches. Most importantly, start-up companies can also streamline the issues related to routine administrative tasks.
Electronic signing supports start-ups in developing competitive products alongside promoting more efficient workplaces. It can also help drive innovations in the modern business world. Consequently, start-up owners can also manage the changing trends in the modern business environment.