Have you ever had that annoying delay where you are trying to sign some documents and you have to wait for them to be delivered before you can sign them? With some courier services, this can be the same day, with others it can take two or three working days.
Either way, traditional signatures take time and using digital signature software can be a great investment for you or your business.
Here is what is a digital signature and how to digitally sign.
The Law on Digital Signatures
For many businesses using digital signatures the key is whether they are legal and what the law says on digital signatures. In recent years laws have been passed to keep up with this modern development.
Digital vs Electronic
First of all, it is important to define the difference between a digital signature and an electronic signature in law. A digital signature is a technology involved in actually making a signature whereas an electronic signature refers more to the legal concept of ‘having signed’ something.
You have ‘electronically signed’ something—given your legal consent—if you use digital signature software but not visa-versa.
Electronic Signature in the Global and National Commerce Act (2000)
This Act was the first time the government enshrined into law the ability of a company to use digital signature technology as a means of giving consent through an electronic signature to a document.
What consists of an electronic signature in this act is quite broad. It could be the filming of someone singing a copy of the document, the person typing their name on the document using Word or just the moving of a mouse cursor across the page to draw a line.
The Act specifies how state-level laws about electronic signatures should be constructed as it is technically a state by state policy, though every state has adopted a similar act.
Although it may not have seemed that big a deal at the time, the Act is now remembered on 30th June as National E-Signature Day, as of 2010. There is an equivalent act in European Union Law.
The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act
The purpose of this act is to try to ensure that all states conduct business in the same way so that the same standards apply. 47 states have signed up to it.
One of the interesting components of it is how it seeks to allow businesses to conduct themselves entirely over the internet. There is no need for either business partners to meet or for any documents to change hands. They can all be signed online and copies stored on either the cloud or on each business’s computers or server.
Digital Signatures Reduce Time and Expenses
So why should your business consider using digital signature software? One of the main reasons is that they reduce wasted time and expense. Although there are now same day postal services in the U.S, if one company has its office in New York and the other Los Angeles, they are expensive.
It’s an expense your business could eliminate.
To pay for a private courier service to deliver the physical files that need signing on the same day is also incredibly time-consuming. It can still take several hours or even an entire day to wait for the files to be delivered. Remember the papers then have to be sent back once they have been signed further increasing the time factor.
If you own or work for a business that is time sensitive then conducting contract signing this way can be risky. Buying and selling stocks and shares is one example of a business where a digital signature is necessary.
Digital Signatures Reduce Paper and Save the Environment
Digital signatures can help save the environment. Many contracts run to hundreds, sometimes even thousands of pages. Printing all of those out simply to apply a signature to them is a huge waste of paper. Often both parties will need a copy of the contract as well-meaning there will be two copies.
Furthermore, the damaging consequences of using a paper system for singing contracts can ruin the reputation of the business. Businesses waste paper. This is particularly the case if the contacts run to hundreds of pages.
Also, what if the two businesses signing the contract are based in separate parts of the country? The business would have to use expensive and polluting courier services to deliver the contacts back and forth for the same time. Not only is this bad for the environment but if you are a big corporation, then it can lead to negative headlines which could ruin your reputation.
Without digital signatures then the document has the be flown by same-day courier services from one part of the country to the other. In the age of the climate emergency, it is unacceptable to do this for short term business gain and could ruin the reputation of your business in the press.
Digital Signature Software Is Already Here
Using digital signature software is not the future of business. It is already the reality of conducting business in the twenty-first century, and there are plenty of options already out there. Long gone are the days where people are happy to wait days even weeks for a contract to make its way across the country to be sign documents.
If you are interested in reading more about digital signature software then be sure to click here for pricing today.