Electronic signatures have been around for a number of years and are now an accepted form of identification in most industries. They’ve also become a necessary component for many businesses who need to legally bind documents with the agreement of all parties involved.
Electronic signature software is available from a wide variety of vendors, but not all electronic signature software is created equally. Some simply offer the ability to electronically sign files, while others also include capabilities that enable remote signing from anywhere, or from any device on which you can install their software.
So what should you look for when choosing your new electronic signature software? Read on to find out.
What Is Electronic Signature Software And How Does It Work?
Electronic signature software, also known as esign software, is software that will enable you to digitally sign any document electronically. The recipient of your signed document can trust it because they can verify the authenticity of your signature.
The software typically works by allowing you to load the document you want to sign, fill in their name and other details, and then digitally sign their name with your mouse or finger. It’s basically like using a pen but without the ink.
Electronic signatures are faster than traditional paper-based signatures because they don’t require printing, signing, scanning or faxing documents. You simply have your signature authenticated by an electronic device before being able to send the document to others. Plus, even if you’re not near a printer, scanner or fax machine—you’ll still be able to digitally sign documents from any location where you have access to an internet connection.
Choosing The Right Software
If you’re in the market for a new electronic signature software, you’ll want to consider several factors when choosing the right one for your business.
One important consideration is how you’ll use the signature software. If you have employees who will be signing from different locations, or if you need to sign from a variety of devices—like a tablet and your phone—you’ll want to make sure that the software can support those actions.
Another important consideration is whether or not your needs include legal requirements. If your jurisdiction requires that signatures be witnessed by qualified parties, then you’ll want to find an electronic signature application that includes this capability. And if your organization regularly conducts business out of state, you may want to choose a vendor with international capabilities.
As with all major purchases, it’s important to do your research before making a decision. Once you’ve narrowed down the options, compare features and benefits side-by-side and make sure they align with what’s most important to you and your company’s needs!
Consider Features and Capabilities
When shopping for electronic signature software, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the full package.
Look for a program that includes not only the ability to electronically sign documents but also any of these features:
- Ability to remotely sign documents from anywhere
- Remote signing capabilities on any device
- Signing legally binding agreements by multiple parties
- Digital signatures that are legally binding and valid in most countries
- Compatibility with popular operating systems (i.e. Windows)
Check for Compatibility
One of the first things you need to do is make sure that your new electronic signature software will be compatible with other programs and devices.
For example, if you’re currently using a particular version of Microsoft Office, does the software you’re considering run on that same or newer version? Or does it require a different operating system altogether?
Many electronic signature programs work on Windows, Mac, and Linux. But not all. It’s important to find out before investing in new software to avoid having to upgrade later.
Getting the Most Out of Your Electronic Signature Software
The capabilities of your electronic signature software should align with the needs of your business. Look for a solution that provides a balance of security, convenience, and functionality.
Security is an important consideration when looking at the technology you will use for your business. It’s important to find a solution that can protect against unauthorized alterations to any electronic document. If you’re an organization, you want to make sure that all parties involved in a transaction have access to the same digital signature files and signatures. For example, if three people are coming together on a contract and one person leaves their device at home, they’ll be unable to sign because the file will be inaccessible on their device.
Signing remotely is also very beneficial in some situations. Imagine being in different locations for work or leisure when you need to electronically sign an agreement or other document. If you don’t have access to your computer with electronic signature software installed when it comes time to sign, then you’re out of luck! A remote signing capability ensures that this doesn’t happen so easily.