Remember that sinking feeling you got in your stomach the last time someone asked you to print, sign, scan, and send back some documents? Well, I don’t. I’ve been doing all of my signing electronically for a while now. For example, moving to Amsterdam from abroad was easy: I signed both my job contract and my lease on my computer and I was good to go!
For me, the greatest appeal of signing something on my computer is that it caters to my inherent laziness (and my inability to fix my printer). However, when I caught up with Geert-Jan Persoon, the CEO of the Amsterdam-based electronic signature solution, SignRequest, it turned out that there are a lot more benefits to ditching handwritten signatures than I’d thought.
Here are the top three reasons why you should switch to using electronic signatures for your business:
1. They’re simply a whole lot faster
When Geert-Jan was working on a website for car-sharing, he noticed what a pain the traditional signatures were for the car rental business. The printing, signing, and emailing back was time-consuming and annoying for both clients and rental companies. That’s why in 2014 he set to work on something much bigger: Together with Nick Dessens and Michael Krens, he founded SignRequest.
Soon enough, their electronic signature solution caught on in several industries — HR departments, retailers, insurance companies, and even babysitting platforms were quick to appreciate the benefits of faster contract turnaround. As Geert-Jan told me: “The type of market where electronic signatures are most needed is when you’re not sitting next to each other during the transaction. When you do business internationally, waiting for documents and paying for postal services becomes incredibly frustrating.”
The actual signing process is a breeze, too. Most electronic signature solutions allow you to store your signature so you can easily retrieve it whenever you sign documents. SignRequest also has integrations with Google Docs, Google Drive, Gmail, and Salesforce which makes it super handy.
2. You can make your contracts extra secure
This might come as a surprise, but there’s a number of factors that make electronic signatures safer than those on paper. For starters, they’re traceable. As the owner of the document, you can access information on the signing party such as their email address, IP address, and even what time they left the signature.
SignRequest offers a range of additional security measures too: The person signing your documents might need to verify their identity with a phone number, bank transfer, or a password. With all those layers of security in place, it’s much more difficult to commit fraud.
Signing the document is only a small part of our product. The overall goal is to guarantee security and make sure all of the documents you sign are safely stored.
Another big concern about physical signatures is ensuring that all versions of the document are identical. As Geert-Jan explained: “People can easily change a digital contract with a PDF editor, sign it, and send it back. Almost nobody reads through the entire signed document just to verify that.” Luckily, SignRequest doesn’t allow users to make any alterations, so you always know that you’re getting back exact the same contract you sent out.
3. You’ll never lose your documents again
Have you ever tried to review a contract after a year or two just to realize you can’t find it? Yes, it’s embarrassing. And yes, it happens all the time.
The great news is that if you signed it with SignRequest, you can always retrieve it from their database. All signed documents are automatically stored so you don’t have to worry about digging through folders and binders every time you need to check a document.
“Signing the document is only a small part of our product,” explained Geert-Jan. “The overall goal is to guarantee security and make sure all of the documents you sign are safely stored.”
So, should you go digital?
There are still situations where a physical signature is required for legal reasons, but in most cases, electronic signatures seem to be faster, safer, and more convenient. With users in over 50 countries currently using SignRequest, it’s clear electronic signatures are rapidly becoming the industry standard in fields from retail sales to HR.
I for one am all for going digital. And not just because my printer is still broken.
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