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What Are Electronic Signatures and Why Should I Use Them?

Working in sales or human resources entails having electronic contracts that need to be signed.

In the past, this meant either printing out or faxing back and forth the document until all parties could render their respective wet signatures. This added another three days to a typical contracting process. Or even longer. 

In contrast, electronic signatures (e-signature) are signed 80% faster. So, if you’re into e-contracting, electronic signatures are what you need. 

Still unsure if it is worth it? 

Let’s go over e-signatures and dive into their benefits. Also, in this article, you’ll learn the signing methods you can use in a contract lifecycle management tool. 

Ready? Let’s get started.

What is an electronic signature?

An electronic signature or e-signature is simply an electronic version of a traditional handwritten signature. They can be used to sign digital documents like electronic contracts and other agreement forms. Once you’ve electronically signed, you are legally bound by the agreement. Just as if you had signed a paper document.

There are a number of different types of electronic signatures:

  • simple electronic signatures that are usually just an image or scan of a person’s physical signature; 
  • digital signatures that use encrypted data to verify the identity of the signer;
  • biometric signatures like those that use fingerprint or iris recognition.

Typically, here’s how to create an e-signature.

The easiest option is to use a signing tool that lets you sign a document electronically. With this method, you add your electronic signature by just using your mouse or trackpad. However, you can still opt for the conventional technique of scanning or taking a picture of your signature to be inserted into the document. 

Benefits of using an electronic signature

There are many advantages to using an electronic signature over a traditional handwritten signature. Here are six benefits of using e-signatures:

You can be more efficient

Using an e-signature can significantly speed up the process of signing documents. Traditionally, you would have to print out the document, sign it, scan it, and then send it off again by mail or email. With electronic signatures, you don’t have to track down people to get their signatures. You can just send them the document electronically, and they can sign it from wherever they are.

You can save time

By streamlining the document-signing process with an electronic signature, managers can save time when dealing with contracts. You don’t have to wait weeks for a signed contract to be returned via snail mail anymore. Or, if you’re on the signing end, you can simply create an e-signature and then add it to the document with a few clicks. This saves you time and makes the contracting process less time-consuming.

You can save money

Electronic signatures also save you money by eliminating the need for paper, printer ink, and scanner maintenance costs. By switching to an electronic signing solution, you can cut down on these costs significantly over time, resulting in significant savings for your company or organization. 

You contract legally

In many countries, electronic signatures have the same legal status as traditional handwritten signatures. They’re also compliant with most regulations and laws regarding digital records. In fact, many countries have specific laws regarding electronic signatures which uphold their legitimacy and legal standing. This means that you can sign contracts, agreements, and other documents online with confidence. 

You can go paperless

Electronic signatures let you eliminate paper from your business processes. This is good for the environment and reduce clutter in your workspace. Plus, it makes it easier to find and organize your documents since they’ll all be stored electronically. 

Your signature is more secure from forgery

Electronic signs, like digital signatures, are encrypted, tamper-proof, authentic, and can’t be forged. Also, there’s an auditable trail. So, if any changes are made to a document after it has been signed electronically, either intentionally or accidentally, those changes will be recorded. 

How to use e-signatures in different countries

If you’re going to use e-signatures in different countries (like hiring remote employees or doing business in a certain region), it is important first to understand the legal environment surrounding them. 

Different countries have different laws governing the use of electronic signatures. And it is important to ensure that you are in compliance with all relevant regulations. 

Take these countries as an example:

  • In the United States, e-signatures are governed by federal laws like ESIGN and UETA. However, states like Washington, Illinois, and New York have their own legislation that regulates electronic transactions.
  • In Brazil, electronic signatures are admissible, but Brazilian law only recognizes signatures generated by the Brazilian public key infrastructure (PKI). Government-authorized signatures are legal, but simple electronic signatures aren’t.
  • In Europe, the European Commission has proposed a regulation that would create a standardized legal framework for e-signatures across the EU — the Electronic Identification, Authentication and Trust Services (eIDAS) of 2014. 
  • In China, e-signatures are regulated by the Electronic Signature Law. Although electronic signatures are clearly legal, some Chinese judges refuse to recognize them. 
  • In India, e-signatures are governed by the Information Technology Act of 2000. The act defines both simple electronic signatures and digital signatures (also referred to as advanced electronic signatures)as legal and enforceable. They’re taken as valid unless proven otherwise.
  • In Indonesia, electronic signatures are legal and admissible only if created through a digital certificate provider registered with the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and has servers in the country.

So if you want to do business through electronic signing in a foreign country, it’s best to use the right signing tool. One that is compliant with the relevant laws and regulations. This will ensure that your e-signature is legally binding. And will be recognized by the government.

Signing with Avokaado

Avokaado is a digital contract signing app that works best if you have lots of e-contracts or online legal agreements. Currently, there are two signing methods available in the Avokaado platform — Dokobit and SignNow.

  • Dokobit is an eIDAS-compliant electronic signature provider that’s accepted across the entire EU. Avokaado’s integration into this e-signing tool supports fully Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Finnish, Polish, Icelandic, Belgian, Portuguese, and Spanish eID providers. 

*Norway and Sweden will be added soon.

  • SignNow is a globally compliant (eIDAS, ESIGN, and UETA) e-signature provider. In Avokaado, if you’re not sure if other signatories can use an eIDAs-compliant signature provider, we recommend SignNow. 

Okay, now we’ve gone over the signing options in Avokaado. Let’s talk about specific scenarios where your electronic signatures may be required. There are two possible situations:Adding your electronic signature to an already signed document:

  • Using Avokaado, you can add additional signatures to documents that have already been signed.

Just upload the document and simply add yourself (and other collaborators, if needed) as a signor. You’ll receive an email with a unique link that opens the ‘to be signed” document directly. Choose the signing option and sign away.

Note: Files in the .asice and .edoc containers cannot be previewed in Avokaado. But additional electronic signatures are supported using Dokobit signing.

  • Adding your electronic signature to a document created in the platform

Here’s the easier way The contract is entirely created inside the Avokaado platform, and the document is shared for signing. You can add your electronic signature in 3 options.

  1. Type in your full name
  2. Or draw your name 
  3. Or upload your e-signature image

Using the link in the email notification, you got as a signor, open the document. Sign and click on ‘Done.’

Smart electronic contracting starts now

E-signatures have become increasingly popular in the business world for their efficiency and security. Contracts signed with electronic signatures are legally binding. So, using them in electronic contracting is admissible and enforceable.

Now that you know what an electronic signature is — start taking advantage of its benefits and sign digital documents. Also, it’s best practice to keep the signed documents safe but easy to retrieve when needed.

If you’re looking for a safe and reliable way to sign documents, Avokaado is the perfect solution. Best part? You can enjoy our 7-day free trial if you sign up now. 

So why wait? Sign documents and store them in Avokaado

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  • electronic signature

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