Are you still chasing handwritten signatures?
Maybe it’s time to change that.
Since the use of the electronic signature is on the rise, we’ve answered 5 questions you might ask when you consider to start using electronic signature software.
- Are electronic signatures enforceable in all European member states?
Yes, electronical signature laws in Europe are based on the European e-IDAS Regulation which is directly applicable in every member state. As a result you can validly e-sign any commercial contract in Europe.
- Can I force the other party to countersign electronically?
No, the law explicitly states that each party has the right to opt out and to sign manually. You can only try to persuade your supplier by explaining that the e-signature is (i) legally valid, (ii) actually increases compliance through the electronic certificate that is added to any digital signature with the exact IP address and time and date of signing, and as a result is (ii) more and more becoming the standard.
- How can I electronically sign? Do I need to authenticate my handwritten signature or do I need to download any software?
The person that needs to sign doesn’t have to do anything. The available software tools allow an admin user to simply upload a contract in the tool and to add the e-mail addresses of the people that need to sign. They will receive a message with a link and will be able to simply scroll through a PDF document which can be signed by a series of simple clicks.
- What to look for when purchasing subscriptions?
When you consider to start using the e-signature, and ask for a price quote to providers, you can ask for a price based on the number of users, (i.e. number of admins with subscriptions) but you can also ask for a quote based on the number of signed contracts (i.e. number of clicks). A price based on number of contracts actually signed will often outperform a system of subscriptions assigned to specific persons, some of which may not fully make use of the subscription.
- How can I make sure that the e-signature software is used with proper care?
First you need to inform your management and staff that the digital signature is as legally binding as a manual signature. After all, they will be able to sign major contracts by simply clicking through on any device, including their mobile phones. Secondly you need to establish some basic policy rules and clear user rules : e.g. always sign in person, never forward a request to sign, always verify the authenticity of a request to sign,…
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