Does your company use e-signatures? Find out how board portals make electronic signing easy and secure.
From conception to recruitment, meeting minutes, day-to-day operations and periodical reports, each development in the lifespan of an organisation is marked and filed in documents. This makes efficient document management indispensable to sustainable business and responsible corporate governance.
Improving Productivity with the Digitised Boardroom
The paper-based practice of signing and storing hard copies prevailed for centuries due to the lack of viable alternatives. In recent years, however, technological advancements and shifting consumer mindsets towards mobile devices paved the way for digitisation in the boardroom.
Users quickly realised that more than being a matter of personal convenience, the mobility of handheld devices could also pave the way for enhanced productivity in business. Digitising a workspace then required the use of mobile technology as an efficient, secure and paperless alternative to traditional boardroom processes, including the signing and management of documents.
The best use of mobile technology for the boardroom is the board portal software – an electronic workspace enabling directors to securely access board materials, as well as providing functions for administrative staff to easily manage board meetings and distribute board packs.
What’s Wrong with Paper-based Meetings?
In contrast with board portals, managing and storing updated files in traditional paper-based meeting processes is no easy task, especially with documents involving at least two parties. The signing of a document generally follows a linear process, where the first signatory needs to print the file, affix their signature, and send the signed file to the other parties by fax or courier service.
The updated file is then reprinted or resent to other parties for their respective signatures. Lastly, copies of the signed documents are further distributed among all concerned. This conventional approach is not only time-consuming, but also incurs considerable expenses for office supplies, storage units, courier fees and staff wages over time.
Meanwhile, business leaders who use board portals enjoy the flexibility to access files and conduct meetings anytime, anywhere. When used with tablets, smartphones and digital writing tools like styluses, a board portal simulates the feeling of writing with pen and paper – all without the drawbacks and added costs of a paper-based system.
Are E-Signatures Legal?
When transitioning to paperless board portals, some directors find it challenging to shift from signing with pen and paper to signing electronic signatures on digitised files.
Those unfamiliar with electronic signature technology may also have qualms about its legality, safety and applications in the workplace. Nonetheless, the e-signature field is fast growing, with DocuSign CMO Dustin Grosse estimating industry growth of up to $5 billion by 2020.
What constitutes an electronic signature? With no standard or prescribed form, an electronic signature or e-signature is a sign, symbol, sound or process binding the signatory to the terms of a digital record or document.
By virtue of international trade law and state laws, electronic signatures have the same legal weight as handwritten ones – establishing not only the signatory’s adherence to the document’s contents, but also their identity and intent to sign.
As a vote of confidence in the integrity of click-to-sign documents, a number of courts worldwide have begun implementing e-signing as standard practice when writing judicial decisions. Local business owners and organisations with staff, partners and clients abroad also coordinate paperwork and close deals through e-signature.
Keeping E-signatures Secure
Security levels vary among different kinds of e-signatures. The first and least secure kind is a picture of one’s handwritten signature as pasted in a digital document. While this method offers no safeguards to track which user or party inserted the picture in the file, such signatures may still be binding in court given evidence of both parties’ intent to sign the contract.
The second kind is more straightforward, but its validity may be dependent on the concerned territory’s e-signature legislation. Under the US Federal E-Sign Act, for instance, typing one’s name between two brackets or prefixing it with a “/s/” are legitimate means to sign digital documents.
The last class of e-signatures are those made through cloud-based services such as DocuSign, Adobe EchoSign, Sertifi and Signority. These software products provide an extra layer of security by implementing digital signatures. Here, a user’s signature is turned into a code akin to a fingerprint – making it distinct to both the signatory and the document, as well as invalidating any changes made to the document after signing.
Signing Documents On the Go with a Board Portal
E-signature allows organisations to prevent signing delays, to improve their workflow and to cut costs when managing important documents. By enabling directors to reduce both their downtime and paperwork backlog, the ability to sign files electronically has become an indispensable element of a virtual boardroom.
To enjoy the benefits of a paperless workplace, organisations turn to digital solutions with ample features for facilitating meetings from start to finish. A board portal like Azeus Convene combines multi-platform document management and fine-grained access control, as well as dedicated annotation and e-signature features for the complete digitised boardroom experience.
Directors use Convene’s Signature function on their mobile devices to sign documents anytime, anywhere – while waiting for a flight, queueing at the bank or heading to work.
After a quick tap of the Sign button, the user selects an area for signing in the document to launch a drawing pad for their signature. Documents are synchornised in real time with version control and push notifications, keeping users up to date on the latest signatures, edits and annotations.
Trusted by governments, banks, retailers, healthcare institutions, schools and charities worldwide, Convene keeps your signature and your organisation’s data secure with enterprise-grade protection, as well as an audit trail for tracking user and document activity.
Unparalleled efficiency, practicality and file protection make board meeting software and e-signing essential to today’s workforce. Because of this, more executive leaders realise that the ease of signing on paper is further enhanced through the mobility and safeguards of signing documents through board portals.
Paperless meeting solutions and e-signatures are in themselves convenient and secure. But a board portal equipped with an e-signature feature translates to greater savings and less turnaround delays – bringing in more results in less time for business owners and board directors alike.
Your turn: Does your workplace make use of e-signatures? Why or why not?
Sound off in the comments below!