One of the slowest parts of doing business is the obligatory forms one must fill out once an agreement is reached. When entering into a contractual relationship, legal documents must be signed to consummate an agreement. However, often times it’s not just two signatures that are needed, but the signatures of several people at two or more companies. Chasing down busy executives can at best be difficult.
With electronic signatures, the work and hassle of signing documents is digital and holds up in court as being legally binding. Many of you might feel more comfortable seeing a hand written signature image on a document, however, electronic signatures, are safe and legal and should be considered for speed and efficiency in your business.
I just tested an electronic signature and document management service and it's simple, fast, efficient and feature rich. Here's how it works. I setup an account and in a few minutes I was presented with an online console - very well designed. Main options on the console include:
- Sending a document to be signed
- Creating a form and sending it to be signed
- Approve a document that's already been sent for your signature
When sending a document to someone for signature, you can have the option to enable a digital signature or require the recipient to fax you a hand written signature. The entire process is handled by the digital signature service.
When the recipient receives your document for signature the process is easy for them. They receive an email from the service giving them a link to a secure web site. At the web site, the recipient can view the document and is then prompted to type in their name and initials. This is their digital signature. If they (or you) prefer a hand written signature the signer can print the document, sign it and fax to the digital signature service.
This service facilitates all parties signing the document (digitally or hand written), sends all parties a copy of all signed documents and manages all your electronically signed documents for you.
Digital signatures are not only for contracts between companies but are also ideal for transactions between professionals or from businesses to individuals. Imagine the busy lawyer who needs to get approval on a variety of documents, from clients and others, in their course of business. Digital signatures enable a much faster approval process and easier management of what could mushroom into binders and binders of hand signed documents.
For virtual companies, with employees and management spread across the United States, or around the world, digital signatures can save a lot of time and save money in courier fees.
Faxing hand signed signatures back and forth has worked for years, but to grow your business you need every bit of smart technology you can use to better serve your customers and move faster and more efficiently than your competition.
There are several companies you can turn to, to provide digital signature services. There is no software to download or install. The services work through your web browser.
A search on Google for “digital signatures” or “electronic signatures” will bring up a list of digital signature service providers. Knowing which company is good or reputable for your business is something you’ll have to judge as if you were choosing an email hosting company, purchasing insurance or looking for a company to host your web site.
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