Understanding Electronic Signing of Documents

The wave of digital transformation has enabled enterprises to achieve many benefits in terms of cost reduction and resource effectiveness. The digitalization of the workplace, along with the introduction of solutions to replace legacy infrastructures, creating a new milestone. One of the prominent solutions that have been prominent highlights in the digital transformation of businesses worldwide is electronic signing.

The definition of electronic signatures, according to the ESIGN act, implies that it could be any sound, process, or symbol logically associated or attached to a contract or any other record and is executed or adopted by an individual with the intent for signing the record. Well, the definition may seem very vague, and it is not much you can picture about electronic signatures from the above-mentioned definition.

However, the definition clearly shows that electronic signatures are legally valid. It basically implies that signing electronically also holds the same legal weight as wet-ink signatures. So, with a prominent doubt regarding electronic signatures out of the way, let us gain a basic understanding of electronic signatures in the following discussion.

Also Read: What Makes an Electronic Signature Legal

What are Electronic Signatures?

An introduction to electronic signatures would focus on their definition. However, you have to understand that when you sign electronically, it is nothing like a paper-based signature. Electronic signing implies that you have to follow certain process requirements to ensure that an electronically signed document is valid.

Therefore, the electronic signature is not the sole determinant of the legal validity of a document with which it is associated. Therefore, you need to understand the components of an electronic signature to gain a clear idea of the benefits of esigning.

Components of Electronic Signature

The four primary components of electronic signatures include the following,

  • Consent

The individual signing an electronic document should explicitly provide consent for signing the document. If the individual does not choose to sign an electronic document, then a non-electronic option should be made available.

  • Intent

The intent of signing implies that the signer clearly recognizes and understands their intent to sign the document. The intent of electronic signing clearly implies that the process through which an individual signed the document was clear to the signer.

  • Verification

The next important requirement for the legal validity of an electronic signature is verification. Verification implies checking for whether the same person whose signature is on the dotted line has signed the document or not. Many e-signature solutions have in-built verification and authentication mechanisms such as two-factor authentication or OTP verification.

  • Auditability

The final aspect of validating the process of electronic signing refers to the audit trail. The audit trail is basically the representation of the paper trail of a wet-ink signature. The audit trail allows every party involved in the electronic agreement or any legal entity to access every step of the e-signature process at any time. As a result, users can have transparency regarding the modifications made in a particular electronic document.

Difference between E-Signatures and Digital Signatures

The next important concern before understanding the benefits of esigning of documents is the difference between e-signatures and digital signatures. This is one of the prominent issues that new audience of electronic signatures faces. However, you can clarify the doubt by reflecting back on the definition of e-signature presented forward by ESIGN Act.

The definition vaguely translates into the fact that there are many types of electronic signatures. And, digital signatures are one of the particular types of electronic signatures. Digital signatures have their own set of legal standards, governances and rules.

Also Read: Benefits of E-Invoicing

Working of an Electronic Signature Solution

Now, let us reflect on how electronic signing actually works! For this purpose, we shall outline the basic steps in the working of an e-signature solution. Even if the steps in the process could differ according to the design of the software solution, the workflow would basically remain the same.

  • Upload a document to the website or app of the third-party e-signature software
  • The second step involves tagging of the document for pinpointing the exact location for the signature
  • Now, the solution emails the document to all participants required to sign the document.
  • Signers have to complete all required fields in the electronic document and then sign the document electronically.
  • Then the e-signature solution automatically emails back the completed document after electronic signing to the original sender.
  • In the final step, the e-signature software stores the document automatically for easier, safer, and secure access.

Benefits of Electronic Signatures

The final aspect of understanding e-signatures refers directly to the benefits of esigning. Electronic signatures have a promising potential for improving organizational productivity and could also provide the following important advantages.

  • Simpler Learning Curve

As you can see clearly from the workflow to sign electronically, you can use e-signature solutions easily. Even complete beginners could learn to use electronic signing software, thereby reducing the barriers in the adoption of electronic signatures.

  • Time Savings

The time invested in printing, scanning, and copying paper documents would not exist anymore with electronic signature solutions. As a result, enterprises can focus on productive tasks with reduced turnaround times by almost 90%.

  • Cost Savings

The most crucial advantage of electronic signing is evident in the cost savings due to reduced dependence on paper. Enterprises can do away with the costs of purchasing, processing, storage, and maintenance of the paper documents with e-signature solutions.

Also Read: Cost Saving with Electronic Signatures

  • Easier Storage and Organization of Documents

The storage and organization of paperwork is also another prominent setback for organizational productivity. However, electronic signature solutions ensure easier and secure storage along with flexible sorting and filing functionalities. Therefore, you would not have to struggle with the storage and retrieval of significant documents.

  • Additional Security

Furthermore, the most important factor that validates the use of electronic signatures is the additional layer of security. The protection of electronic documents through various methods such as biometric authentication, passcode, and encryption provides the assurance of safety to electronic signature users.

The use of electronic signature helps businesses to cut the business costs to an extent. Check out the cost-saving benefits of electronic signature if you are thinking to adopt.


Therefore, you can clearly notice the various functionalities electronic signing has and how easy it is to learn and use. Electronic signatures have the potential of transforming many sectors, and proper awareness about them can foster their adoption. The basic business benefits of cost savings and increased productivity alongside end-user satisfaction further strengthen the case for electronic signatures.

So, you need to start exploring more about e-signatures right now and find new opportunities for the digital transformation of businesses. The choice of an electronic signature solution can be very difficult. However, with the right amount of research and a proper eye for reviews and testimonials, you can find a competent e-signature solution.

Posted by Brian Felix

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