Do you already use electronic documents with electronic signature? If not, it’s probably time to start. Electronic signatures have changed the rules of the game for many businesses, and they can be one for you too.
Electronic signatures streamline the document signing process for parties who cannot meet in person. Signing documents electronically also creates another layer of security, as there is no possibility of sensitive information being lost in the mail.
There are two types of electronic signatures: electronic signatures and digital signatures. Electronic signatures are just your average signature in electronic form. According to Adobe, digital signatures use a certificate authority to verify the identity of the signer and join the signature and the certificate using encryption.
Whether you need to link a digital signature using an encrypted certificate or agree to electronic signatures, here are 12 ways to make it easy to sign digital documents.
1. Use the Sign feature of Box.
Like all big tech companies, Box has an electronic signature application that facilitates the signing of digital documents. This particular app is native to Box, so you can use it if you have an account.
Box Sign creates a perfect signing experience for your documents that are fully managed in the cloud. Upload your documents, send the link to your client and they can sign directly within their account.
No one has to download the document to sign it, making Box Sign the ultimate electronic signature solution. When a document requires a signature, a note will be displayed in the margin to show that a signature has been requested. After the document has been signed, you will see another message in the margin to inform you.
Box makes it easy to organize and manage critical documents in the cloud, but you can also use Box Sign on your website. With APIs, you can embed Box Sign on your site and use the features within its proprietary applications.
2. Use your client’s preferred signing application whenever possible.
Sometimes clients have strong preferences that impede a project when those preferences cannot be respected. If you have a customer who cannot or does not want to use their usual electronic signature application, ask them what they prefer.
Preparing a document to sign in another application will take time, but if that’s the only way to get the signature, it can speed up the process.
However, you should not serve demanding customers. If someone is able to download a free app and find out, don’t give yourself more work to make up for your laziness.
3. Send all the documents to be signed at once.
The fastest way to get all the signatures you need is to send all your documents at once. Then have people sign everything while they are in the flow. If you filter the documents one by one, the other party might get tired of signing and procrastinating.
4. Condense documents to reduce the number of signatures required.
Some documents cannot be condensed, but if you have a series of them that can be grouped together to receive a signature, that will make things easier.
5. Use Adobe Reader.
Most people already have Adobe Reader on their computer. Additionally, Adobe Reader comes with a free electronic signature application.
If you can’t use faster solutions like Box Sign, trust Adobe Reader to collect electronic signatures. You won’t get the convenience of signing documents in the cloud, but for some clients, that’s fine.
6. Create a quick video tutorial that you can give to clients.
When people have a hard time signing electronic documents, they sometimes need a good visual lesson on how to do it. For example, if you often request electronic signatures through a dedicated app, create a quick video tutorial that tells people how and where to sign their documents.
If you don’t have time to make your video, you can probably find an existing tutorial on YouTube.
7. Do not use applications that are not easy to use.
Above all, easy-to-use electronic signature applications are a must. If people are having trouble signing their documents electronically, they can give up. Don’t risk losing contracts for a simple technical challenge.
8. Make sure your electronic signature application is mobile-friendly.
According to statistics, 6.4 billion people use smartphones worldwide. Also, many people do business only from mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. Therefore, people are likely to sign their documents from a mobile device.
If you expect someone to sign your documents electronically, make sure your document and signature process is mobile-friendly.
9. Mail paper documents for backup.
Not everyone you work with will be on board with electronic signatures. Sometimes people are unable to sign electronically or are confused by the process. So be prepared to mail a hard copy of your documents to anyone who requests it.
10. Check all fields for signatures and initials.
Whether you are using paper documents or electronic documents, clearly mark all designated fields for signatures and initials. The whole process will slow down if someone doesn’t sign in the right place or if they lose their initials.
If you are sending someone a large document with numerous pages, you may want to number the fields in your signature. Adding numbers to each field will help some people complete all the required signatures.
For example, let’s say someone just signed signature n. 3 and turn the page. If the next page shows signature n. 5, they’ll know they’ve missed one.
Logically, it should be obvious if someone skips a page because the copy would be read out of context. However, many people do not read the documents before signing them. This applies to both paper and electronic documents, as people sometimes scroll quickly through documents.
12. Use PDF files exclusively.
Do not request signatures on Microsoft Word documents or any other word processing file. You can create your contracts in MS Word, but you will need to save the file as a PDF before submitting it for signature.
There is a reason why professional organizations use PDF files for contracts. They are designed to accept signatures. Once you create your PDF version, you can add signature elements anywhere you want. Word documents don’t work that way.
Additional tip: Always include a deadline for returning documents.
Urgent documents must be signed and returned on time, so you must include a deadline. However, you may also want to set a deadline for non-urgent documents.
Without a deadline, people tend to procrastinate and forget. Therefore, setting deadlines for everything is a high-level business strategy.
Many companies fail because they don’t operate on deadlines at all. Or they set deadlines, but constantly flex them.
Don’t give people so much leeway. Set a deadline and explain the consequences of late delivery. For example, returning documents late can delay the project start time by a week.
If you are operating a narrow ship, you can choose to cancel contracts with people who do not return documents within a reasonable period of time; For example, returning a document one month after the deadline is a bad sign to do business with someone in the future.
However, it is understandable if someone needs more time to review the document with their attorney and make sure they know what they are signing. whenever they contact you about it.
Electronic signatures are legally binding.
Now that you know all the tricks to make it easy to electronically sign your PDF documents, you wonder if electronic signatures are legally binding. The answer is yes.
Electronic signatures have been legally binding at the federal level since 2000, when the ESIGN law was passed. However, some documents cannot be signed electronically; They include wills, probate trusts, family law documents, court documents, insurance policy cancellations, product recalls, and various others.
Electronic signatures make life easier.
Regardless of the type of contract you need to sign, using electronic signatures will make your life easier. Whether you are a corporation or a sole proprietor, your business will flow better when you switch from physical signatures to electronic signatures.
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