Electronic signatures are becoming an increasingly common consideration for business owners and, indeed, anybody transacting business.
When electronic signatures first started to be considered in the 1990’s there was understandably considerable concern about their enforceability from a legal perspective – would they stand up in a courtroom? One solution to these concerns was the development of ‘digital signatures’, which encrypted electronic communications and could reliably be used as a means of verifying that the document did originate from the owner of a ‘digital signature’. However, you don’t necessarily need to have a ‘digital signature’ to be able to electronically sign a legally binding agreement.
The Electronic Transactions Act (1999) clarified a number of these questions and ensured the viability of electronic signing to expedite business transactions.
What this means in practice is that you can implement practical electronic improvements to business processes such as contracts and obtaining signed agreements from your clients, and be confident that they will be recognised in an Australian court of law.
Services such as Echosign from Adobe, SignNow by Barracuda, and RightSignature provide you with effective tools to create contracts electronically, send them via email link to your clients, and have them respond with an e-signature within minutes. You can also integrate Echosign with other solutions such as Google Apps, NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SugarCRM, and Salesforce, creating infinite possibilities for efficiency improvements and fully integrated online platforms to manage your business.
Have you already adopted E-signatures in your business environment? What have your experiences been like? We’d be interested to hear your comments!