8 Ways using e-signatures can benefit your SME
6 minute read
Digital transformation – it’s a huge buzzword for SMEs today. It enables both SMEs and their clients to accelerate their interactions, and adds efficiency to the functional process at every stage. Electronic signatures or e-signatures are an essential part of this business transformation.
E-signatures can help SMEs in the faster adoption of technology, reducing deception, digitizing the document transmission, and eliminating paperwork. This guide outlines 9 ways that using e-signatures can benefit your SME.
OK wait - what specifically is an e-signature?
An e-signature is a digital version of your traditional pen and paper signature. It helps you sign documents online without having to print them out. It can be anything from a squiggle on a screen, to a signature created using your finger, to using a platform that renders your typed name into different fancy fonts.
In Singapore, e-signatures have been legally recognised since 2010. It was put into play by the Electronic Transactions Act, which gave businesses an option to use it while trading and have it be given the same weight as hand-written signatures.
1 - Better validity, protection, and security of documents
Although we hold up a written signature (or, more likely, a scanned copy of a written signature) as the golden standard of authenticity, you often are better protected with e-signatures, which eliminate any threat of signature loss or alteration. With mailing, copying, and scanning becoming routine, your handwritten signature is often at the risk of fading, destruction, or may not not easy to verify.
If your file has the additional level of security afforded by encryption, your e-signature is safe from any danger of hacking and misuse. With additional security on board, you can keep a document confidential, locked down, and password protected – this means that only authorised persons can access it.
It is also easier to create and audit trail of the signed document preventing any scam of information leak. The in-built digital signature mechanism captures metadata, device, and account details anywhere it is opened, allowing you to track it down while securing the signing process.
2 - Enhanced operational efficiency (do more with less effort)
According to one of the latest surveys by Adobe, e-signatures enable faster approvals from clients and suppliers, as it cuts down the steps involved in case of manual signatures and thus, save up to 1.3 hours per signing. Right from document preparation and review to signing, approval, and archiving, e-signatures eliminate inefficiencies, ensuring fast processing.
Up to another additional 50 hours a year can be salvaged, as e-signatures allow better cross-platform mobility (meaning you can sign in the office or on the go), swift CRM integration, compliance, and paperless work. Since businesses often work with electronic templates, we can easily search, sign, and send them out to the relevant parties.
Take for example, a non-disclosure agreement or NDA. Instead of having to search for the template, print, sign, and scan it, we can just search it online, change the parties required, add the signature and send it – even from a smartphone.
Customers and staff can sign fast – anytime, anyplace, and anywhere, irrespective of geographical location. Additionally, e-signature processes ensure all relevant fields are filled before the document is executed as a completed document. With no runaround, customers are onboarded faster.
3 - The financial advantage
The adoption of e-signatures can bolster your financial position in three ways.
Minimise money spent on paper & headcount
First, it cut costs incurred on paper, printing, and handling. You can save significant amount spent on buying reams of paper and maintaining a fleet of printers and scanners. Digital signatures can also work to reduce your headcount by reducing the number of employees required for menial office work – printing, signing, scanning, emailing, tracking, distributing, and storing company documents.
Minimise money spent on archiving and storage
Second, with all documents in the electronic space, you don’t have to spend on ensuring their physical security and safe custody. Archiving costs can be minimised. According to a survey by Ombud, an enterprise can make an average saving of $20 per document by adopting e-signatures.
Time is money
Your business benefits from increased operational efficiency thanks to e-signature and digital workflows that reduces sales cycles and purchase order processing times, which add to the business revenue.
4 - Closing sales faster
Good news all around – while convenience and speed facilitated by e-signatures attracts customers, it also helps employees in concluding sales agreements quickly. If it was weeks and days earlier with printing and scanning or printing and couriering, it is now minutes and seconds with e-signatures, even where multiple signatures are needed. Quicker turnarounds add to your reputation as a fast, customer-focused company.
5 - Increased business mobility
The ability to do e-signatures makes you highly mobile, and this contributes to your business success. This suits remote workers, digital nomads, and those often on the road – a business can function overcoming time and place issues, and deploy a multi-device, multiple location workforce.
Empowered by e-signatures, you can conclude a sales deal and sign it anytime and anywhere. You can review and sign off documents even when away from your office or holidaying (if you want to look at work during your holidays).
6 - More fruitful HR process
Using e-signatures can add an edge to your HR practices. Hiring the correct applicant can require wading through dozens of documents: from job descriptions to applications, resumes and employment agreements. Rather than printing, scanning, and mailing to your preferred candidate, digital signatures can ensure faster recruitment and hiring – snapping up those candidates before others get to them.
7 - Efficiency in contract management
E-signatures help in contract management by simplifying and automating processes. For an SME, contracts with suppliers, vendors, and clients are the lifeblood of its survival. However, manual and on-paper signatures can be a thorn in the side of project management, getting buried in inboxes and in-trays.
With e-signatures you can improve the procurement process and reduce time and effort spent on paper contracts. As a result, the compliance with the stated purchasing policies will improve. All purchase orders, requisitions, and work statements can be generated and signed in the electronic format, ensuring their quick processing and faster execution of contracts. Meanwhile, your suppliers are happy as it accelerates the payment process.
8 - Increased compliance
An SME needs to juggle a lot of different standards and compliance checks – from internally set standards to industry regulations. With digital signatures eliminating any scope for incompleteness, destruction, or authentication hiccups, your can have your signature legally valid and enforceable everywhere, while maintaining a complete audit trail.
For costing the same amount as a cup of coffee per week, introducing e-signatures into your business is an easy way to streamline your business. At Sleek we use e-signatures daily to get companies up and running faster. Get in touch to find out more.