In the period between 2012 and 2017, the volume of e-signature transactions went up from $89 million to $754 million, as per a Statista report. Another research body, P&S Intelligence, projects that the global market for e-signatures could reach $9.07 billion by 2023 if the trend keeps up.
This is understandable because electronic signatures have numerous benefits (which you can read more about below).
But first, what are electronic signatures?
This is a technology used to authenticate documents in the manner of physical signatures. It involves an algorithm that ensures the security of the sign that has been affixed on the document as well as the integrity of the contents of the file. They are legally binding and are accepted in many countries on different continents.
Furthermore, if you miss out on encrypting any particular document, you can be confident that your document and electronic sign are protected because of a digital certificate that authenticates it. Thus, your recipient and other parties involved can verify the legitimacy of the signature and the file on which it is affixed.
Because of this salient feature, organisations - commercial and non profit alike can take advantage of added security and reap the following benefits:
1. To make business more convenient for customers
In 2019, the number of mobile phone users is expected to reach 5 billion, with China leading the pack with 1.5 billion and India with around 1.1 billion mobile users. According to a report by Statista, this is due to the popularity of smartphones, whose market is dominated by electronics giants like Samsung and Apple.
Because of this, many people now prefer to do their businesses over the internet and even have an on-the-go office instead. This is a trend that is beneficial for organizations to go with because of its expeditious nature. An electronic signature app is an essential tool in this regard. With this, you no longer have to ask clients to come to your office or send your agents to your customers’ locations to sign contracts.
2. To accelerate the execution of time-sensitive events
Many industries, like the healthcare sector, are involved in time-sensitive processes wherein delay could have serious negative impacts on the well-being of patients. An e-signature app can help expedite the execution of critical procedures because wherever the signatory party is, they can affix their signatures on the document from their electronic devices. This way, healthcare professionals can worry more about their patients rather than about paperwork.
Moreover, an e-signing platform can expedite negotiations when it comes to business deals. Every step in the process is authenticated and everyone involved can view what the other parties are doing with the documents. And in case there are members of the body who are physically remote from the majority, they can still provide their signatures with ease because of the digital availability of documents and the electronic signature platform.
3. To track the signing of documents
When there are numerous people involved in the signing of a document, it becomes important to know when they placed their electronic signatures on files. This is to hold everyone accountable for their actions and to prevent conflicts due to the delayed relay of files.
Fortunately, an e signature online is more than the electronic version of a person’s physical signature. The moment somebody appends their signature on a document, the application used for the action applies a timestamp. This is also highly secure, which means that nobody can modify it.
4. To streamline the business cash flow
An online Forbes piece cites that almost 20% of small to medium enterprises close down in the first year of operations. By the fifth year, 50% of the remaining SMEs stop serving customers. The main reason? Poor cash flow.
Smooth cash flow is an important aspect of SaaS business growth and in any type of business. When you can have your customers sign documents on the spot on an electronic signature device or something similar, you can ensure the immediate flow of funds to your organization.
And even if there is a delay in the signing of deals, you can still close them faster because customers only have to open the file and attach their signature to it. Once that is done, all they have to do is return the document to you via email and you can get to work on their request. Additionally, this lets you receive funds from them quickly.
5. To worry less about document security matters
Did you know that organizations lose around 5% of their annual revenue because of fraud? This is according to a report published by Piercy Bowler Taylor & Kern . The same article said that the total cost of the fraud involved in the study was $7 billion with 22% of the incidences costing $1 million. Small businesses are affected by fraud the most because they lacked internal measures for fraud prevention.
However, if you are an SME, you do not require lengthy and complex processes to protect your operations. You can rely on something as simple as an electronic signature platform and PDF documents. That is because the former has security measures attached to it. The same goes for the latter, which also has additional controls such as editing restrictions and password protection.
Electronic signatures have a complex process involved despite its simplicity to the user.
Electronic documents and signatures can protect you against fraud because they are difficult to amend without prior authorization.
6. To reduce the financial impact of human errors
Errors, at the least, can hamper processes and cost businesses a lot of money. At worst, they can lead to the loss of partnerships, stunted lead generation, and even a complete halt to the operations. And these mistakes not only stem from data entry or something similar but also from document signing, too.
Electronic signatures and their applications can help mitigate the risks that come with signing mistakes. That is because it serves alerts whenever it detects compliance problems or questionable records. Therefore, you can act on these issues immediately and avoid the costs that come with them.
7. To save office space and the planet
The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2019 shows that millennial workers want more out of their employers other than a nice salary and a generous benefits package. They also want the organizations they work for to be conscious about their impact on the environment and to do something to save the planet.
A single tree can produce upwards to 8,000 sheets and an average office employee uses 10,000 sheets a year. There are millions of workers worldwide who, together, consume paper from 4 billion trees annually.
By investing in an e-signature solution, you can reduce your paper usage and you can cut your paper budget in the process as well. You no longer have to file away documents in tons of cabinets that take up office space either! On top of that, you can decrease your business with the courier because you can send documents to your colleagues, partners, and clients via email and have them send the files back to you electronically, too.
A Deloitte global survey wherein millennials participated showed that they would adjust their relationships with businesses based on their impact on the environment or society.
Benefiting from the electronic signature trend
Electronic signatures are more than just a convenient way to close deals. It has impacts on various aspects of your organization as well such as your corporate social responsibility and attractiveness to millennials and environmentally conscious workers. It can even protect your business from fraud and help you mitigate the financial costs of signing errors. Thus, your enterprise can enjoy a good stream of funds and increased longevity due to that.
If you’re planning to look for a tool that you can use for your business, electronic signature solutions are available like emSigner. Plans are available according to your budget and needs so you can scale easily. In fact, you can even use the tool for free.