With a digital platform for just about anything, it’s never been easier to automate business processes. Electronic signature software reduces the time spent on administrative tasks, as it provides a quick and reliable solution for signing documents without printing them.
E-signatures are legally accepted almost anywhere. So, companies can safely say goodbye to physical documents and wet signing and instead subscribe to a secure e-signature service that offers document and contract management tools. Another plus of doing so is that most platforms integrate with other business management solutions, meaning you can sign contracts directly from other apps.
However, choosing the best electronic signature provider can be a challenge, as most appear to offer the same tools. Therefore, testing out different services via their free trials can help you assess which is right for you.
If you would rather go for software that’s completely free, make sure to check carefully what it provides, since it may only include a reduced selection of tools. Above all, it needs to integrate seamlessly into existing business processes, making workflow streamlined.
Recommended e-Signature Software for Small Businesses in 2023
The document management tools are similarly useful, as the software lets you store unlimited templates and have your three favorites active. It also helps that jSign supports all major document formats like DOC and PDF. Plus, it integrates with platforms like Google Drive and Google Docs, so you can work with cloud services and text editors with ease.
Last but not least, up to two users can access jSign with the cheaper plans, which is ideal for small businesses where only one or two people handle all the signing.
For starters, users can store 1,000 templates a year or choose from a few samples provided, which can be customized in various ways. For example, custom branding is available for businesses that watermark their documents. These files are kept safe by various security measures, like password protection for documents.
It’s also noteworthy that signNow supports the use of your favorite apps, as it integrates with Zapier, giving you access to more than 5,000 integrations. The company follows a user-based pricing model and can be tried out for free for seven days.
In addition to supporting numerous file formats, SIGN.PLUS lets users send documents to multiple signers. What’s more, the software tracks documents in real time and shows information like the time and place of signing.
Conveniently, SIGN.PLUS is a cross-platform solution, as forms imported into the software’s web app can be further edited in its mobile app for Android and iOS. While pricey, the software can be used for free forever, giving you all the time in the world to figure out whether it’s a worthy investment.
How To Find the Right e-Signature Solution for Your Small Business
First and foremost, the right e-signature solution should be reliable and secure. This means that all signatures done with the platform should be legally binding and that the solution ensures document protection with end-to-end encryption. Depending on the industry your business is in, it’s also important to check whether the e-signature platform is compliant with the necessary regulations, such as HIPAA.
However, even the most secure electronic signature software can be off-putting if it’s difficult to use. Therefore, every step of the process should be logical, from setup and account configuration to signing documents. It’s also handy if it supports reusable templates.
Contact management should be similarly straightforward. For example, the ability to send signature requests to multiple recipients is a must-have. Additionally, a mobile app can make a huge difference when signing and sending documents on the go.
It’s also important to check whether the service offers integrations with other companies. If it does, look out for CRM platforms, text editors, and cloud storage, as these apps will simplify contact management and administrative tasks.
Free vs Paid e-Signature Business Software
As with any software, there are several differences between free and paid e-signature solutions. Free platforms are perfect for personal use, as they typically provide a couple of ways to customize signatures and add signature fields to documents. Also as expected, users can self-sign as many documents as they want and send some to others for signing.
The number of signature requests are usually limited to just a handful per month. Moreover, free e-signature platforms, while legally binding, don’t usually follow strict security measures. This means that protecting your account with two-factor authentication is a no-go, nor can you secure documents with passwords.
Meanwhile, all these features – and many more – are unlocked when opting for paid e-signature business software. One notable example is that they provide several authentication methods for users and recipients alike. Furthermore, documents are encrypted mid-transit, and the platform offers various file-storing methods, such as specified, password-protected folders.
Beyond this, paid solutions are often available on multiple devices, letting you sign both in the office and on the go. They also offer storage space for reusable templates and may provide pre-made forms. Finally, many paid programs support custom branding so you can add your business’s logo and watermark.
The Benefits of Using e-Signatures for Contract Management
If integrated into business processes, electronic signature software can play a vital role in your team’s contract management. Using e-signatures is much quicker than wet signing, as you no longer need to print documents and meet the signers in person. Essentially, the software takes the wasted time and stress out of tiresome administrative tasks.
By going paperless, costs drop significantly since there’s no need to buy paper, ink, and postage stamps anymore. Furthermore, it becomes easier to keep track of business contacts, as electronic signature platforms usually offer the option to save recipients’ addresses. Otherwise, these addresses could easily get lost among emails and phone contacts.
Finding specific document types becomes equally effortless because many e-signature solutions provide fillable forms. This can include non-disclosure agreements and W-9 forms, among many others. Moreover, storing these documents either as reusable templates or in encrypted – and often password protected – folders is a significant advantage.
How To Implement Electronic Signatures in Your Business Workflow
Starting your company’s e-signature journey isn’t complicated and only takes a few steps:
- Register for a service. If available, choose a free trial or the software’s free version first.
- Log in and find the settings menu to customize your signature.
- Set up security, such as two-factor authentication.
- Upload a document for testing and try the various customization tools.
- Send the document to yourself to test how signature requests work.
Other steps best taken early on include signing up the entire team and giving administrator rights to your company’s accountant. Another best practice is to catalog documents that need signing and e-sign the most important first.
You should also see whether the e-signature software easily integrates into your business’s existing processes for a full digital transformation. For example, if you already use a CRM service, electronic signature software can usually be included as an add-on, so contracts can be signed directly from the platform.
Whether your company is taking its first steps or already has a number of contacts, choosing an e-signature platform can make everything faster. When processes are streamlined, businesses have more time to focus on negotiations and client acquisition strategies, giving them a better chance of growing and succeeding.