At this point, it is probably more abnormal if a company is not paperless or relying on cloud computing. Technology has made running a business easier than ever, and most leaders are clamoring to find affordable solutions that simplify countless business operations. Granted, there is still some of that old school mentality that there should be hard copies of important documents, but it is probably safe to say that that is the minority viewpoint. Now, most companies have partners and clients fill out and sign documents electronically, including contracts. Here is what you need to know about online contract signing:
It is Legally Acceptable
Although there are still some companies and agencies that will only accept hard copies of items that contain an originally inked signature, it is actually perfectly acceptable and legal to sign these documents electronically. With the passage of the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) in 2000, it became legally acceptable to use electronic records and signatures for a wide range of purposes, and the law even goes so far as to actually encourage electronic record keeping. Thus, although some people may think that signing online is not quite the same as signing by hand, they are seen as one and the same.
It is Widely Used
Once electronic documentation became legally permissible, and given that technology continued to evolve at a rapid pace, most companies rushed to make the transition to cloud computing. After all, if a company’s competitors are offering their services online, then everyone else in the space is going to have to follow suit to remain competitive. Surely every single bank in the country now offers online banking. And, plenty of contractual transactions, both banking-related and otherwise, are generally completed electronically.
It Saves Time and Money
Of course, one of the big reasons that companies were so eager to make the switch to electronic records and signatures is that it saves a tremendous amount of time and money. There are no longer the costs associated with printing, mailing, and filing, and there is no need to wait for a package of documents to be mailed and returned. Now, people can easily enter into, negotiate, or terminate contracts via online platforms, with the ability to make decisions or take actions in a matter of minutes or hours.
It Enhances Security
Another key benefit to signing documents electronically is that it enhances data security. Contracts that do not have to be printed and mailed or attached to an email and sent are no longer susceptible to unwanted interception. Instead, companies can utilize a highly secure document repository to create, share, and store all important documents. With these solutions, documents really never have to exit the system, and thus if the right security measures are incorporated remain virtually impenetrable.
It Facilitates Record Keeping
Yet another great aspect of utilizing electronic records and signatures is that the documents are far less likely to be lost or misplaced. It is now much easier for companies to save and organize all documents in one central location, facilitating the entire record keeping process. There will never be a need to purge documents for the sake of preserving precious real estate or worrying about the excessive cost of paper and ink. Plus, for the folks in charge of keeping track of a company’s documents or contracts, an online system makes filing, searching, and locating an item fast, easy, and efficient.