8 Ways using e-signatures can benefit your business
What is a digital signature?
Digital signatures are essentially signatures that have been expressed in an electronic form with an additional layer of security. They are a more secure version of electronic signatures. The technology responsible for executing digital signatures is known as asymmetric cryptography, also known as public key cryptography. Sending a message on Whatsapp to a particular contact on your phone also utilises the same technology.
In Singapore, the Electronic Transactions Act 2010 considers some types of digital signatures, including those executed through Sleek Sign, as legally binding alternatives to hand-written signatures. This legislation encourages and supports businesses to make the shift from physical to digital signatures.
1 - Enhanced security
Although we might consider written signatures (or perhaps a scanned copy of a written signature) as the golden standard of authenticity, digital signatures offer greater security. This additional level of security is procured through asymmetric cryptography and digital certificates.
To simplify, asymmetric cryptography ensures parties to a particular transaction are verified through the use of public and private key pairs; private keys are always kept confidential with the interaction taking place between the public key pairs of relevant parties. These keys effectively unlock and lock documents shared between parties. As public key pairs remain public, meaning that they could be intercepted by third parties, digital certificates help to further enhance the standard of verification. Accredited Certification Authorities (CA) issue digital certificates that help verify the authenticity of public keys, ensuring that a fraudulent party has not intercepted the public key. Sleek Sign offers this level of security as our contract management system uses digital certificates distributed by Netrust, the only accredited CA in Singapore.
Further, scanning documents might result in the fading of handwritten signatures. It also runs a greater risk of forgery with no efficient way to keep track of who has had access to relevant documents. Using a platform like Sleek Sign allows documents to be kept confidential and password protected, ensuring that only authorised personnel has access to them. It is also easier to create an audit trail of the signed documents as Sleek Sign informs you when documents have been accessed preventing any fraudulent activity and information leaks.
2 - Operational efficiency
Digital signatures enable faster approvals from clients and suppliers. It eliminates the tedious back and forth postage of hard copy documents required when relying on handwritten signatures. Digital signatures also support cross-platform mobility. As most business documents are drafted online, concluding agreements virtually allow you to seamlessly search, sign, and send documents without having to print, manually sign, scan, and send them out to relevant parties.
The virtual nature of executing agreements allows for faster reviewing, signing, approving, and archiving of documents. Considering the current Covid-19 crisis, this is a significant advantage as it allows for business transactions to occur despite travel restrictions.
Customers and staff can sign fast – anytime, anyplace, and anywhere, irrespective of their geographic location. Additionally, digital signatures ensure all relevant fields have been filled before the agreement is executed. This eliminates instances where some pages of an agreement have not been signed due to human errors, allowing for a quicker onboarding process.
3 - Financial advantages
Digital signatures help reduce your costs significantly in three fundamental ways:
Minimise money spent on paper and headcount
Firstly, it helps to cut unnecessary costs incurred on paper, printing, and handling. You can save a significant amount spent on buying reams of paper and maintaining a fleet of printers and scanners. Digital signatures also help to reduce the number of employees required for menial office tasks such as printing, signing, scanning, emailing, tracking, distributing, and storing company documents.
Minimise money spent on archiving and storage
Secondly, with all documents stored virtually, you do not have to spend additional money ensuring that physical documents are stored securely. It should also be noted that the Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (PDPA) applies to electronic and non-electronic personal data collection; this means that hard-copy documents such as employee contracts which contain details like an employee’s NRIC or FIN numbers are also caught by the act. Section 24 of the PDPA imposes a Protection Obligation on companies, to protect personal data in their possession. Hence companies need to ensure that reasonable security measures are in place to prevent any unauthorised access, collection, use, copying, disclosure, modification, disposal, or actions resulting in similar risks. Sleek Sign is a PDPA compliant and free of charge platform, meaning that using our platform will save you on additional costs to remain a PDPA compliant.
Time is money
Your business benefits from increased operational efficiency achieved through digital signatures that generate more efficient workflows. By expediting sales cycles and purchase order processing times, using digital signatures to conclude contracts adds to your overall business revenue.
4 - Speedy Turnovers
Switching to digital signatures helps employees conclude sales agreements quickly. You no longer have to wait on documents being delivered to clients as they can approve contracts within a matter of seconds when using Sleek Sign. This would also be the case if there were multiple parties to an agreement. Our platform allows you to notify a party to sign an agreement with a few clicks. A quick turnover helps to build a robust reputation for your company, vouching for your competency in your area of business expertise.
5 - Greater business mobility
Digital signatures overcome physical barriers making you highly mobile whilst contributing to your business success. The virtual nature of digital signatures supports remote workers, digital nomads, and those on the go – with Sleek Sign you could quickly review a board resolution or employee contract online and sign it while waiting in line for your cup of coffee.
6 - Simplified HR process
Adopting digital signatures adds an edge to your HR practices. Hiring a suitable applicant usually requires wading through dozens of documents such as job descriptions, applications, resumes and employment agreements. Rather than printing, scanning, and mailing forms and contracts to candidates, digital signatures help ensure a more efficient recruitment and hiring process.
7 - Efficient contract management
Digital signatures support effective contract management by simplifying and automating processes. Using a platform like Sleek Sign centralises contract management, making it convenient for you to observe the status of various agreements. You no longer have to worry about documents getting buried in inboxes and in-trays.
8 - Effective compliance
Companies need to juggle different statutory and regulatory requirements to remain compliant with the various internal and government agency standards. Digital signatures help companies remain compliant by providing a clear audit trail. For instance, ACRA requires companies to hold an AGM at least once every 15 months after the first AGM has been held. Using a platform like Sleek Sign would allow you to keep track of when the last AGM was held by searching for the last AGM minutes and for the company chairman to sign the next AGM minutes with ease should the meeting be held remotely.