Electronic signatures are still a fairly new concept, although they have been around for longer than you may realize, so it is easy to comprehend why people are skeptical about them. Whether your first experience with eSignatures was with Fax machines, placing an image of your signature on a document, or signing for a parcel on a small screen that never seemed to register your writing, you’ve probably come across some sort of electronic signature tool since then, particularly in the last year or so. But are they worth the hype that they’ve been getting, or will they be a passing fad as people revert back to wet signatures?
What Are eSignatures?
In case you are not familiar with them, or at least not their latest capabilities – eSignatures are an identifying signature that is created and/or shared electronically. Meaning that even a physical signature, when uploaded to your computer, mobile and tablet as a photograph, is classified as an electronic signature. More recently however, companies like Smallpdf have come up with digital tools that relinquish the need for the extra steps of physically writing your signature and uploading an image file of it.
All you have to do now is go to a free online eSign tool, upload your file that needs to be signed and create your signature within the tool. This could be achieved by writing your signature with your mouse or trackpad, or if you prefer more traditional methods you can still upload a photo of your physical signature. Your signature can then be saved on your account so that you don’t have to repeat the process each time and can simply drag and drop your signature in the required spot on the document.
With Smallpdf you can also send documents to be signed to multiple people, who will be able to mirror the process that you completed and create their own signature before sending the signed document back to you. There’s even a useful list of files that you have sent or received so you can keep track of all of the requested signatures.
What Are the Benefits?
As previously mentioned, some of the benefits of using eSignatures and their correlating tools include reduced time and effort spent on uploading your signature, easily sending files to additional people and streamlining the tracking process of documentation that needs to be signed.
Other benefits include saving money on a variety of aspects including paper for printing documents for physical signatures, as well as the actual equipment needed for printing and scanning in order to send them electronically.
As it is all online it is also great for remote work, as not everyone has access to said equipment and physical copies are not a plausible alternative for time sensitive work processes. The fact that the process is entirely paperless is also extremely beneficial to the environment, and with every step towards online alternatives, the amount of paper waste can gradually be decreased.
Are They Here to Stay?
As electronic signatures have grown in popularity, they are already widely accepted and legally binding forms of signatures. Due to the benefits mentioned above plus many more, it is believed by a lot of people that eSignatures are the way forward. In fact, it is projected that the global market will increase at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of over 28% between 2020 and 2030, reaching $24B. It therefore seems safe to say that digital signatures are not going anywhere anytime soon, although they are likely to continue to adapt and improve.