Signing your name used to be as easy as picking up a pen, searching for the proper place on the document and putting name to paper.
With the advent of new and upgraded computer technology, electronic signatures have come into play as a way to get permission from someone that is not in attendance live at an event or meeting.
The definition of electronic signature is a part of a document that contains your name and company position, which is supposed to tell a client that you are the one that either sent an e-mail or document and you endorse what is in the document or file. A signature can consist of anything containing your name, such as your name with the company logo next to it, or it can be your written signature captured via scanner and inserted into a file.
The reason behind electronic-signature technology has to do mostly with paperwork. Having a signature on a signed and computerized document is easier to track down than a signature obtained on paper and filed away deep in the bowels of a cabinet. Take into account the printing and copying of documents to send to people for signatures costs money, and gathering the signatures by computer can save on paperwork costs and help the environment at the same time.
When fax machines became popular to use in the 1980s, many people just stuck their signatures on the document via pen or rubber stamp before faxing the document back. Because signing the document and sending it back electronically was performed, these were the first documented cases of e-signatures in action. Technology is also available where a clickwrap, or the simple click of a box that says “yes” or “I agree” under the terms and conditions, constitutes an electronic signature.
There are simple programs that contain the proper software to handle management of contracts and communication in office rather than with a third party. Programs like ContractLogix.com use the software designed to draw up ready-to-sign documents. These programs can monitor whether or not you have sent proper contracts out to needed parties, and a data-tracking service shows if those e-mailed documents have been returned.
Many companies with roots in human resources, banking/finance, and the legal field use electronic technology.
This is understandable in the banking and legal fields. A lot of times a contract is drawn up that needs to have quick approval. Instead of hunting down the proper party for a signature, that contract can be sent right to the person that needs to sign or endorse it, and the reply back to the e-mail can count as a signature.
Human resources uses the e-method when securing new employee contracts, endorsements on timesheets or anything that goes into an employee record and needs a signature from someone. Once the signature is secured, it doesn’t need to be obtained again. That saves plenty of time having to track down employees for a signature that can be sent in via computer.
The electronic method saves plenty of time and hassle, not to mention a signature only needs to be obtained once and then it is good until that employee changes jobs or leaves the company. In an era where time is money, having a signature ahead of time saves both.