Maintaining signatures on a wide range of contracts is increasingly difficult for county boards and organizations, especially as senior leaders may spend a fair bit of time on the road. Budgets are always tight, making it tough to have someone who is dedicated to pushing through the various contracts required by the federal, state and local government to maintain funding at your location. Fortunately, the adoption of digital signatures is growing dramatically — making it the ideal time to consider making the switch to a digital-only signature platform. This quick overview will help you determine whether legally-binding digital signatures are right for your organization.
What Are Digital or Electronic Signatures?
If you are not familiar with electronic signatures, the concept may seem a bit foreign. It’s easy enough for anyone to open a digital document and “sign” it, right? Well, actually — no. Digital signatures are similar to a biometric-based identification system, such as fingerprints, except they exist in the form of a message that includes a code passed between a signer and a third-party transaction. These publicly-recorded transactions are highly secure, legally valid and include an audit trail for the safety of all parties involved in the transaction. What’s better, you can often sign a document directly from your device as well as create a document and send it to others for signature. This is particularly helpful with the high volume of documents that are required for schools and boards. Digital or electronic signatures come in a variety of different types depending on the level of compliance needed. They are simply a legal way to quickly and easily indicate your acceptance of an agreement or contract without having to physically sign a piece of paper.
Are Digital Signatures Legally Binding?
Electronic document management platforms allow you to create, send, sign and receive documents securely and legally. Technically, “digital signature” is the accepted term that means the more-secure option of signing documentation, but you may see electronic and digital used interchangeably in regards to eSignatures. Each signer of the document has a unique and personal encoded message and together these digital signatures form a legally-binding and encrypted document. The U.S. is one of 27 countries that have passed laws regarding electronic signatures. These include the ESIGN Commerce Act as well as the UETA, or Uniform Electronic Transactions Act made into law in 2000. While there are some exceptions on the types of documentation that are permitted to utilize electronic signatures such as family law, court documentation, and wills, the vast majority of documents may legally receive a digital signature.
Benefits of Electronic Signatures
Going paperless is a goal for many offices today, and not just to save the cost of toner cartridges. Paperless offices are often much more efficient as well as the positive result of lessened reliance on natural resources such as paper. The cost of paper and the requirement to ship or mail documentation for signatures or approvals, as well as the additional time required, are all negated by the use of electronic signatures. Plus, digital documentation is easier to keep in a cohesive file structure, allowing you to instantly access documentation — often regardless of your physical location.
Digital signatures allow you to compress the timeline for your projects, as getting a signature is as easy as sending an email from within the platform. Your partner for IT infrastructure support for developmental disability organizations, GO Concepts, is a leader in electronic signatures and can help answer any questions that you have about moving in this direction. A big part of the challenge that organizations face is determining where in the contract review and signature process you can find a particular document. With digital signatures, there’s never a question. You can easily view the status of all documentation from a central dashboard location.
Connect With Your DD Board IT Services Team
Contact us today at (513) 934-2800 or fill out our easy online contact form. We work exclusively with the developmental disability community to provide the high-quality IT management services that you deserve.