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Why electronic signatures matter in the coronavirus crisis

In recent months, enterprises and institutions have battled to keep working despite the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In facing the multiple challenges caused by nationwide lockdowns and social distancing rules, many organisations now have a renewed focus on remaining resilient and continuing to deliver services despite the challenges. For most companies to keep acting effectively, the transfer or exchange of documents and their completion in a timely fashion is an integral element of daily workflow. From legal agreements and employment contracts to simple expense forms, there are numerous documents that may require a signature, regardless of whether staff are self-isolating or remote working.

In this unprecedented era, being able to complete a document digitally from a distance with electronic signatures rather than ink has never been more of an asset.

Understanding signing documents digitally

In UK and European law, an electronic signature or “e-signature” is broadly defined as the capture of anything in an electronic format that is attached or logically linked with electronic data and used to sign with by the signatory. This could include clicking on a digital tick box, a manuscript signature that has been scanned in or an electronic signature platform that inserts writing into an execution block.

A time-saving and cost-effective solution that can increase business efficiency, signing documents digitally allows offices to go paperless and ensures documents can be signed in seconds, anywhere in the world.

While “wet ink signatures” are still preferred by a rare few like the HMRC and the Land Registry, the UK Law Commission has confirmed e-signatures are admissible in court proceedings and constitute a valid way to execute deeds.

Electronic signatures during the pandemic

Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, digital document signing has gathered more weight. Recently the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recognised the use of electronic signatures. In April, the FCA stated in a release that they did not need wet ink signatures and that enterprises could use e-signatures instead in any interactions with the authority. The Law Society has also supported the supervising of electronic signatures for individuals not acting as witnesses, to make completion of documents more possible during the lockdown.

Signing documents digitally has been an ideal option for many enterprises with workforces carrying out their roles from home. Many businesses are even considering continuing to work remotely even after the lockdown lifts, after discovering the new technology they have adopted to cope with the crisis has proved beneficial for the way they do business. Digital signing is also an easy solution to social distancing issues, ensuring people stay safe and risk-free.

Staying secure with a digital sign solution

As part of our document security solution, we offer a cutting-edge digital sign feature that ensures your workflow is never interrupted, regardless of where a signatory is located. Perfect for private and confidential documents, our service ensures you can track a contract at every stage from sender to recipient, and with powerful three-layer encryption, its contents will remain entirely secure. Contact our professional team today and test-drive this powerful asset for your organisation.

 

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