How many hours do employees spend pushing paper at your business? How much time is wasted closing a deal because everyone must meet in person to physically sign papers? Can you keep confidential paper contracts secure when hard copies are passed from person to person?

Questions like these rightly make savvy business owners wonder if going paperless is a better option. Here are five reasons why you should implement e-signatures at your business.

1. E-Signatures Free up Employee Time to Do More Important Work

If your business requires signed contracts, consent forms or receipts, how much time do your employees spend handling those documents? Most paper trails begin with printing the document, giving it to a customer or patient to review and sign, scanning in the signed document to put it in a digital format, and then either shredding the form or adding it to file cabinets or storage facilities for safekeeping. An e-signature keeps this whole process digitized.

How much time could your employees save by keeping everything in a single secure database? If that time were instead spent on customer service, what could that mean to your business’s bottom line?

2. Digital Documents Are More Secure Than Paper Documents

Unless you keep them in sight at all times, it’s hard to track paper documents. Relying on hard copies may mean that confidential information is being shared with your competitors. Signatures can be forged. Additionally, paper is fragile and easily damaged. It’s also easily lost.

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Many e-signature solutions add layers of security including encryption so that bad actors can’t access documents. Some also provide audit trails that document the exact time of the signature and whether anyone tried to tamper with a document after it was signed.

3. Going Paperless Has Economic and Environmental Benefits

By using a digital signature process, your business can save money on paper, professional shredding and storage costs. You could potentially eliminate or reduce the need for scanning equipment and copy machines.

Reducing the need for paper provides environmental benefits as well. DocuSign, in business since 2003, touts the environmental benefits of its service, claiming to have saved 2.5 million trees and replaced 20 million sheets of paper using its digital process.

4. Digital Signatures Are Legally Recognized

In the United States, UETA (Uniform Electronic Transactions Act) passed in 1999 and provided the legal framework for electronic signature use. The ESIGN (Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce) Act passed into U.S. law in 2000. The combination of these laws made electronic signatures as valid and legally binding as those made with pen and ink. E-signed documents are valid, enforceable and can be submitted as evidence in court.

5. Digital Processes Provide a Better Customer Experience

Consumers consistently demand speed and efficiency from their interactions. Digital signatures reduce the need to coordinate meeting times and places so paper documents can be signed. The process also provides customers more time to look over and understand what they’re signing.

During in-person interactions, customers look at piles of paper as something simply to get through. They rarely read what they’re signing, because they feel pressured to complete the transaction. Customers feel better informed when they can take their time during the process to read through documents at their own pace.

Learn more about the benefits of going mobile-first in Oxford Economics’ definitive report on the costs and benefits of employee mobile devices. Or, read a free white paper on improving connectivity in field services.

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Ronda Swaney

Ronda Swaney is an award-winning B2B writer and ghostwriter. She writes exclusively about IT, technology and healthcare. Her love of storytelling paired with all things technical helps her write engaging content for clients, which range from Fortune 50 tech giants to up-and-coming SMBs. Writing credits include blog posts, magazine articles, eBooks, lead-generating books, case studies and white papers, as well as ghostwriting for top tech executives. Connect with Ronda on Twitter: @rondaswaney

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