Most companies likely conduct a majority of their affairs in a virtual manner, with less and less reliance on the need for physical copies of forms and documents. Although some industries or firms may still prefer an inked signature on the final version of an important contract, there is really no reason to mandate this outdated practice anymore. With the right cloud-based contract management solution, it can be faster, cheaper, and safer to manage a company’s contract portfolio. And, this is not restricted to just drafting or saving a batch of contracts but includes the signature phase of the contracting lifecycle as well. Here are five reasons to use electronic signatures for contract management:
There is no doubt that technology has increased the speed of countless business operations. Instant communication and document sharing in real time enable employees across the globe to collaborate and complete more work in less time. In the past, the contracting process could drag on for weeks and months at a time when hard copies had to be circulated around for final review and signing. Now, solutions that incorporate an electronic signature feature allow for significantly faster turnaround times, ensuring that the parties to the contract can get started on fulfilling their contractual obligations right away.
Obviously, one of the reasons that technology has improved employee productivity is because it is also a lot more convenient for workers to get things done. Cloud computing allows employees to access work anytime from anywhere. With respect to contracting matters, this means that the contract documents can be edited, reviewed, and even signed from virtually any mobile device. Thus, even if the parties to a contract are out of the office or on an overseas vacation, finalizing an agreement does not have to be delayed until their return.
One of the chief concerns relating to online document management is whether or not those items will be safe residing in virtual space. Given that companies are saving important information electronically and there have been increasing cyber attacks in an effort to obtain that valuable data, there are understandable concerns regarding the security of online documents. Of course, the problem with relying on hard copies is that those documents can be forged or altered without people realizing it or being able to trace it. One of the benefits of an electronic signature is the digital timestamp, and usually any activity associated with a document is recorded and thus trackable.
Paper, ink, envelopes, and postage cost money, so printing and sending a contract for signature can end up being quite costly. This is especially true if a contract ends up being revised or amended, necessitating additional printing, circulating, and signing. Even though an online contract management solution will require the payment of a monthly or annual fee, the advantages and features of the cloud-based system make this a worthwhile investment.
These days, doing work in an electronic fashion tends to be the norm rather than the exception. Business partners and clients with whom companies intend to enter contracts will likely expect most of the transaction to be completed online. People have quickly become accustomed to the ease and convenience of online databases and mobile applications, and companies will want to ensure that their practices meet these demands and expectations. Thus, offering electronic versions of key documents and streamlining the signing process is not only helpful but necessary.