Harnessing E-Signatures for a Smooth Operational Flow
Electronic signatures (e-signatures) are a commonly used technology these days. In this post we will explore the broad strokes of e-signatures, and how they can fit into your business processes. We will also highlight a case study of an Agrello customer using e-signatures for better operational flows.
What is an E-Signature, and what is a Digital Signature?
The term e-signature, and digital signature are often interchangeably used. But they are different things.
An e-signature is any electronic symbol, or process associated with a contract that the interested party intends to sign. The intent to sign is its primary purpose. It can be some form of electronic authorisation such as clicking a mouse somewhere in or on the electronic document.
A digital signature is a unique digital characteristic that comes with a signing certificate. This certificate verifies the document’s signature, and uniquely identifies and links the signer and the document together. The digital signature demonstrates the document's authenticity and source, ensures that no changes were made to the document after signing and confirms the signer's identity.
Both methods are valid ways of signing contracts, a digital signature is just more secure than an e-signature. This is because it uniquely and securely identifies and links the signing parties to their identities.
Legality of E-Signatures
Generally, in the EU and US, e-signatures and digital signatures are legally valid and create binding contracts.
However, there are some specific signature formats that must be followed for certain types of contracts. It’s always best practice to check with a lawyer on whether e-signatures or digital signatures can be used for your specific types of contracts.
How Can You Take Advantage of E-signatures in Agrello?
In the Agrello platform, you can create documents to sign and send to other parties for signing.
Step 1: Create an Agrello account and follow the sign-up questionnaire.
Step 2: Create a new workspace and start your free 14-day trial.
Step 3: Create a new folder.
Step 4: Inside the folder, click on Create New -> Document to upload a PDF or Word file from your documents in your computer.
Step 5: Add signature fields by clicking “Add signature field” and drag and drop it where you want it.
Step 6: In the signature tab, either add yourself as a signer or type in the email addresses of those parties you want to add.
Step 7: Review the document, and then click “Publish”.
Step 8: Click “Sign”
Once you click “Sign”, various options will pop up. There will be some options to sign with Smart-ID and Mobile-ID. These are specific for Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. ID-card is also an option for Baltics, and also Croatia and Belgium. You will also see the option for Agrello signature. This is a digital signature, which is linked to your email ID.
Once you sign, you can see your signature field turn green.
Case Study: Southwestern Ventures
So, how would harnessing electronic and digital signatures actually help you have smoother business operations? Well, Southwestern Ventures are using Agrello to successfully do just that. Southwestern Ventures manages a high volume of various types of contracts such as employment contracts and service agreements.
Katre Luts, their Project and Finance coordinator, used to handle all contracts on Google Drive and would send out each individual contract via email for signatures. This was a time-consuming and inefficient process. It also meant that they were constantly in the dark about the status of each contract and couldn’t keep good track of anything.
Switching to Agrello to manage their electronic signature flows now means that Katre can easily prepare a PDF contract, she uploads it to Agrello and sends it out for signing to herself or a board member.
The signing parties can use Mobile-ID, Smart-ID, or Agrello signature options to digitally sign the document.
Agrello's dashboard means that Katre can monitor the signing status quickly and easily, and remind people who have not yet signed.
Future Role of E-signatures
E-signatures and digital signatures have a bright future. As people and businesses want to move towards more efficient processes, and more business is conducted remotely, the need to e-sign contracts more often is clear. Having good systems in place to make e-signature processes as efficient as they can be is important. Creating good systems that take into account your business needs can take some experimenting and tweaking. It’s important to remember though that while there may be some hiccups with implementing new systems, they can really help to make your operations smoother and more effective. Agrello allows you to create, sign and manage your contracts and documents digitally. If this blog post has piqued your interest then why not consider Agrello for your business?