E-Signature ROI versus The Cost of Doing Nothing

Jeannine Mulliner, July 24, 2014

At OneSpan, one of the most popular requests we get is, "Can you help me quickly articulate the value of e-signatures and e-transactions?"

In response, we developed a white paper on the ROI of e-signatures. It gathers e-signature ROI metrics and provides tips for building the business case – all based on projects we’ve been involved with over the last 20 years.


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Then we went a step further and created a tool for calculating your own ROI. The Excel ROI Calculator is a practical tool that helps you determine the ROI of electronic signature technology versus the cost of doing business as usual. Request the calculator

Example of calculating an e-signature ROI

To put this into context, let’s look at a very simple ROI scenario involving a mid-sized business that:

  • Processes 1,500 customer contracts a year, each averaging 5 pages of paper.
  • Spends $35,000 on courier fees and $10,200 on document archiving and storage each year.

The business has researched electronic and digital signatures, and management anticipates that by moving their call center and sales team to an electronic business process with e-signature technology, they could cut courier and storage costs by 85 percent.

Annual Costs Business as Usual (Paper Processing) Proposal Scenario (With E-Signatures)
Courier fees



Office space used to file documents(15% of $4,000 monthly lease)



Outsourced document storage



E-Signature subscription for 20 employees(not integrated)  





Multiply that by 5 years to estimate the mid-term impact of digital business processes. For the purpose of this scenario, the outcome is a savings of $168,100 over 5 years.

5 Year Outlook Business as Usual (Paper Processing) Proposal Scenario (E-Signatures)
Cost of doing business on paper


Cost of digital business process  


The business decides to move forward with e-signatures. Within 48 hours, they get the team up and running. A year later, they take a closer look at the e-signature ROI. That’s when they realize the $33,620 annual savings was only the tip of the iceberg. It gets better.

  • Their customer service team is getting unsolicited emails from customers, saying how much they love the convenience of e-signing online from home – not to mention the speed with which applications and contracts are processed. Customers are recommending them to family and friends as a result.
  • Because they now close business online, new Internet business is coming to them from beyond their traditional market reach. Customer acquisition costs drop.
  • Because they can close business immediately, customer abandonment rates have also dropped. They are no longer paying staff to process and ship paperwork for nothing.
  • They are faster and more nimble than some of their larger competitors, and are amazed to see how much revenue has grown – a key reason being that customers no longer need to be physically in front of their employees to sign documents.
  • Paperwork errors (like missing signatures and empty data fields) are now a thing of the past, as are all the hours they used to spend fixing them. As a result, there is no longer any overtime being put in (or paid!) to manually review, correct, process, fax and file paperwork.
  • They spend significantly less on mailroom processing and manual data entry to get customer information off paper documents and into the system. All this time is put to better use to service customers.
  • Because records are electronically archived, there are no lost or missing files and it’s less time consuming to pull them for accountants and auditors. Risk of non-compliance is virtually eliminated.

In our latest white paper, How to Calculate E-Signature ROI, you’ll find these and many other examples of hard and soft ROI experienced by banks, lenders, insurance carriers and agents, government agencies and more.  Plus, we give you tips on how to monetize soft e-signature ROI – those strategic benefits that are more challenging to measure and predict. Try the ROI Calculator for yourself and let us know what you think.  


For 20 years, Jeannine has been writing about technology and how to apply it to solve everyday challenges. In her role as Content Director at OneSpan, Jeannine leads a team of writers and content developers focused on helping financial institutions and other organizations gain value from security