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5 Reasons to Adopt E-Signature Solutions for Internal Documents

Mary Ellen Power, September 15, 2014

Electronic signature policy can help organizations of any size streamline the process of gathering employee information and getting workers to sign forms like policy contracts or non-disclosure agreements. On the surface, it may seem like internal forms would be the easiest to deal with, but the reality is that getting documents to each worker - including remote employees - and ensuring they are signed and returned in a timely manner can be a huge headache. Organizations can't afford to lose productivity to workers spending too much time on forms, even more so if those documents pertain to documents that need to be completed to move a project forward. Electronic signature software eliminated inefficiencies and eases many records management challenges.

There are a variety of ways that e-signature solutions make it easier to handle internal document and records management. A few particularly noteworthy reasons to adopt such a strategy include:

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1. E-signatures improve accuracy
Have you ever filled out an online form, clicked to move on to the next step and had the page refresh telling you that you've forgotten something? This functionality has become expected when you're doing something like filling out tax forms or entering payment card data online, but you can bring that automatic check to internal documents through e-signature technology. Advanced electronic signature platforms feature sophisticated tools to ensure forms are filled out correctly and signed in the right places. 

2. Streamline responses
Contemporary offices are built around technology-based processes. Workers are used to getting the job using a computer or smartphone, so giving them a bunch of paperwork to do can lead to individuals just tucking the form away for a more convenient moment that never really comes along. Disrupting efficient electronic processes to fill out a form can quickly become problematic, but taking a few minutes to deal with an electronic document is not nearly such a problem. As such, collecting responses to various documentation needs often gets much easier when using electronic signatures.

3. Avoid paper-related costs
Ink, toner, paper, staples, storage space for records, access control solutions that ensure only authorized individuals view forms, fire suppression systems that don't damage paper and the personnel-hours that go into preparing and handling paper-based documents can add up to create significant costs. Electronic signatures don't entirely eliminate expenses as you still have to create the document, pay for the software and store the file digitally. However, the total cost of ownership for an electronic file can be significantly lower than that of a paper file, especially as organizations become more dependent on advanced technologies in general.

4. Easier edits
Have you ever sent out a form to a large group of users only to later find an embarrassing typo, have to edit the original copy, reprint, repackage and resend all of the documents? Yeah, it's an unpleasant and infuriating experience. If that happens with an electronic form, just edit the original copy and email the user group with the updated version. A process that would have taken an extended period of time now only takes a few minutes.

5. Portability
You can't reasonably expect that users will bring paper documents home from the office to fill out if they don't have time during the workday. If those employees do bring forms home, they may well get lost there. This is particularly problematic if those files contain sensitive data. Electronic forms that are accessible through secure Web channels, on the other hand, are portable to any device with access to the Internet, letting workers fill them out at their convenience with much less risk.

There are plenty more reasons to adopt e-signatures internally, but check out our Beginner's Guide to E-Signatures to learn more about how you can implement the technology and start leveraging these benefits.