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10 Types of Documents You Can Sign Using E-Signatures

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Traditionally, when you sign a document or have one you would like someone to sign, you need a pen and physical pages. E-signatures eliminate the hassle of having to print out and sign them personally.  But first off, what exactly is an e-signature?

An e-signature is a digital file or symbol like a physical pen-and-ink signature that’s been scanned that you can place on a contract or file to show the intentions for signing the document. Additionally, e-signatures take advantage of PKI or public key infrastructure to help identify and confirm the author of the documents and files. 

There are many ways you can sign using e-signatures, such as typing the signer’s name into the area where they should sign, pasting in the scanned signature, clicking an ‘accept’ button, or using crypto scrambling technology. 

During the pandemic, digital signatures have become more common for transacting and conducting their business or contracts. However, even with the recent trend of e-signatures due to social distancing and working from home, digital signatures are still an unknown format for most users. 

Purpose of e-signatures

You may be asking yourself, “What can digital signatures do?”

Well, e-signatures were developed to help secure the signer’s identity and trust when placing their signature on the given document. They are a modern and digital version of the long-trusted physical signature on paper. 

E-signatures use a trusted third party that validates and verifies the identity of the signer, they also use a secure digital key that helps certify the identity of the author, digital document, online form, and digital message. 

This ensures that the signed documents are original and are from the recognized source, making sure that the file has not been forged or tampered with. 

Are digital signatures legal? 

To put it shortly, yes, e-signatures are legal but, unfortunately, not enough people know much about it or understand how it works. 

Even though digital signatures aren’t acknowledged as much, they are currently being used in everyday transactions, from signing receipts to legal contracts. 

There are different types of rules and regulations when it comes to e-signatures, and each jurisdiction has their own take on it. 

Several laws identify e-signatures as qualified electronic signatures, or secure electronic certificates, which are legally accepted. Digital signatures are widely accepted in different countries like the USA, Europe, and even Southeast Asian countries like the Philippines, and Malaysia. 

A digitally signed document is legal in most jurisdictions, but it is best to have a professional overlook your contracts or files before finalizing them. 

E-signatures cover a number of technologies and solutions to creative digital signatures, from scanned signatures attached to an electronic document to PKI-based signatures, making it more accessible to you and your client without the hassle of paperwork or having to leave your home or office. 

Here are some examples of capture methods digital signatures use that could be legally binding:

  • Clicking the “I Agree” button on a website.
  • Use your finger to sign on your mobile device.
  • Typing in your name or PIN into an online form.
  • Using e-signature services such as the ones SigningCloud provides. 

Digital signatures can be used to sign documents of all forms and extents, including:

1. New hire documentation

When owning a business you need to be agile and find new ways that can help boost your brand. Since the pandemic businesses have adapted their hiring process and onboard practices to keep up with a remote workforce. 

Thanks to e-signatures, your business can now speed up the process of hiring new employees without the hassle of printing out paperwork and needing your employees to come in and physically sign. 

Not only would this give you and your HR team a break from unnecessary work and new hires from waiting periods, but you can jump right into business and meet the demands of your market more efficiently. 

2. Invoice processing

E-invoices are a great way for you to cut back on the paper trail that businesses must maintain to comply with Value Added Tax (VAT) laws. 

This service extracts the data needed to validate the invoices. Validation services can be bought by the buyer or by the suppliers on behalf of their buyer. 

Using e-signatures for your invoices allows you to confirm with tax authorities that your sale or purchase was valid when the invoice was issued.

3. Purchase orders

Online ordering is now a common practice these days, with e-signatures you can automatically validate your purchase after buying it and have it saved into a digital file. 

As a business owner, it is more efficient to have your buyer send their purchase order or request via email rather than having to print it out, sign it, and have it faxed. 

4. Sales contracts

When you have a customer that wants to make a purchase with your product or services, and once they are sure of what they want to buy, the next big step is to process and sign the sales contract. 

With e-signatures, the end-of-sales process can become a breeze. You can conduct your business quickly, efficiently, and conveniently. 

You can have your client sign the contract from your table or their own devices, with both of you receiving a signed copy of the contract via email. 

5. Vendor agreements

Throughout the course of running a business, you will inevitably have to encounter and sign vendor contracts or create contracts. 

The best way for you to regulate your business relationships is through agreements and contracts. The software used for e-signatures keeps track of who receives and signs the document to secure it from unauthorized actions. 

6. Internal compliance

E-signatures can help you minimize the document anarchy that your business might experience. At the same time, when you sign using e-signatures, it serves as proof that you are following the necessary compliance procedures which reduces the risk of fines and censure. 

7. Offer letters

Finding the right employees is a must for all businesses. After sorting through applications, and conducting interviews, once you’ve found the right person for the job the next step is to send them a job offer letter. 

With e-signatures, you and your potential employee can skip the traditional process of signing a contract and sign your documents efficiently and conveniently through your mobile devices. Future candidates will appreciate your business better when you can send them their job offer letter via email, as they see your business to be on top of the latest digital trends. 

8. Financial documents

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, electronically signed documents have become more popular. E-signatures are a great benefit when finalizing your business transactions. They save you and your signatory the hassle of paperwork, and you can sign them from different places. 

9. Rental/lease agreements

Thanks to e-signatures, you can sign a lease online without the hassle of being there physically. Digital signatures can reduce the time elapsed between the agreement on the conditions of the rental lease and the signature of the tenancy agreement. 

10. Liability waivers

Enabling the use of e-signatures and digital liability waivers is a great way to manage these types of forms. Electronic waivers are easier to distribute, reduce the effort needed to track the status of each participant, and increase the participation of your clients. 

Are signing documents electronically safe?

E-signatures are recognised in Malaysia under the Digital Signature Act (DSA) 1997. And the Electronic Commerce Act (ECA) 2006. They might seem a bit intimidating at first, but overall they are more secure compared to the traditional wet signature. Here are a few factors that ensure the security of e-signatures:

They have an electronic record 

E-signatures come with an electronic record that serves as the audit trail and proof of transaction. The record includes the history of actions taken with the document, including details of when the file was opened, viewed, and signed. 

They have certificates of completion 

These certificates can include specific details of each person who has signed the document, including the consumer disclosure which indicates that the signer has agreed to use e-signatures, the signature image, timestamps, and their IP address and other identifying information. 

They have a tamper-proof seal 

Once the whole process of signing is done, the documents are digitally sealed using a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). The seal indicates that the e-signature is valid and that the document hasn’t been tampered with or altered since it was signed. 

Key takeaways/Conclusion

E-signatures can give your business a boost in the professional world, and your clients would appreciate your services better if you have a convenient method when transacting with them. Even though e-signatures aren’t widely recognized by most people, once they get the full scope of what digital signatures can do, your clients can experience a better transaction process. 

When you or your clients sign using e-signatures, you get to skip the hassle of having to print out, and physically sign the documents. This makes the process of your transactions more efficient, convenient, and secure, which allows you to conduct business without the need to leave the house or office. 

When you sign up with SigningCloud, you can be assured your documents are safe and easy to process. Sign up today and see how easy it is to start collecting digital signatures.

SC (CTA) How Digital Technology Can Future-Proof Your Business - March 2022 (2)

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