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10 reasons e-signatures should be part of your contract approval process

Posted by Elizabeth Allcock on September 28, 2020 09:00:00

In today’s deal economy, traditional methods of signing and validating B2B contracts mean that every day a potential B2B contract is sitting in somebody’s inbox waiting for approval, preventing either trading partner involved from making money or even worse, killing the deal altogether. As you know, a contract isn’t a done deal until all trading partners have signed.

Luckily for you, technological advancements mean that e-signatures are forcing those involved in the b2b contract approval process to move towards paperless solutions like our collaboration platform which offers numerous benefits including increased productivity and communication, cost and time savings, and an enhanced relationship with your trading partners.

Here are 10 reasons you should consider moving to e-signatures for your B2B contracts:

1. E-signatures are legally binding

Uncertainty around the legality of e-signatures is often cited as an obstacle to mass adoption, but in the United States and Europe, the ESIGN Act and eIDAS regulation respectively both state that e-signatures are fully legal as long as all parties agree to use them. An audit trail associated with the e-signature makes it more acceptable in case of any legal dispute, so you should ensure that your e-signature provider includes one.

2. E-signatures are more secure than paper

Security has traditionally been a major barrier to the adoption of e-signatures for the contract approval process. With businesses across all industries worried about breach of confidentiality or an increased risk of fraud. However, e-signatures actually represent a safer and more secure alternative to traditional paper documents. 

For starters, it is harder to keep track of your paper trading agreements if they are placed in a drawer or filing cabinet where they’re more likely to get lost, which risks confidential material falling into the wrong hands. In addition, traditional wet signatures are easier to forge, presenting a greater fraud risk. On the other hand, e-signatures can be tied to password protected accounts – sometimes even involving two-factor authentication.

3. Save office space and reduce paperwork

It’s not an easy process to manage multiple B2B contracts on a regular basis. It demands a lot of time and energy to manage the paperwork involved and also requires a lot of storage space to retain your records. More business expansion leads to more paperwork and more space required to store those documents. Get rid of those boxes and use all this space for better things! This is especially topical in the post COVID-19 world where working from home may become the new normal and office spaces may increasingly be left behind.

If you adopt e-signatures as part of your contract approval process, you won’t need a hard copy of the documents at any point, which means you won’t have to deal with messy paperwork at all. All your B2B contracts will be stored online in the cloud that can be accessed within minutes (or even seconds!), meaning you will never have to waste your valuable time looking for misfiled B2B contracts manually.

4. Reduce costs in the contract approval process

In every business, it is crucial to preserve cash where possible. You might think adopting an e-signature platform will be more costly, but in the long term it will actually save you money! By eliminating the need for documents to be signed, transported, and filed in paper format, e-signatures can eliminate costs associated with manually handling paper documents. These include saving money on paper, postage and mailing supplies as well as the time spent by admin staff processing paperwork.

Additionally, e-signatures have helped in cutting down the financial impact of human error, which happens due to the signing blunders that slow everything down. Traditional wet-ink signatures can mean mistakes and inaccuracies, which could affect businesses negatively.

5. Faster turnaround

The convenience of e-signatures means there's a much faster turnaround in the contract approval process. Instead of sending a trading agreement to one party, getting them to print, sign, and scan it, sending it to the next party, and repeating the process down the line, everyone can sign off the B2B contract within seconds. This faster turnaround gives businesses greater versatility in time-sensitive situations and can lead to you realising the cash benefit much sooner. No more looking through heaps of paper when searching for one trading agreement. Just access it with a click of a button. 

6. Make quicker decisions on your B2B deals

Waiting for key stakeholders to make decisions, especially around complex rebate and B2B deals, is not an easy thing. Numerous trading agreements must be signed and approved by multiple stakeholders. And as you might be already aware, the more time the signing and the contract approval process takes, the more time it will take for decisions about your deals to be made.

If you wish to lessen the gap between a decision and its execution, then you need e-signatures to accelerate the formalities associated with the contract approval process. With the stakeholders quickly signing off the trading agreement with an e-signature and giving the decision a mark of approval, you can start earning money from your B2B deals much more quickly.

7. Improves employee productivity

As well as saving money, e-signatures can also save employees time that would otherwise be spent processing B2B contracts, correcting human errors and having to redraft trading agreements. By using e-signatures in the contract approval process, employees can spend more time doing more valuable work for the business, such as forging strong relationships with suppliers.

8. Ensure compliance in the contract approval process

Complexities in tracking paper B2B contracts may lead to compliance issues at the time of audit. Usually, if it’s established that a paper document, such as an agreement or B2B contract has been tampered with in any way, then it is likely to result in expensive fines and endless lawsuits. The feature that makes e-signatures safe and secure also allows them to comply with financial regulators.

9. Simple contract approval process

Signing off a B2B contract with an e-signature has made the traditional signing process even simpler and straight-forward. From uploading or creating a trading agreement on a platform to sharing it with the signatory and getting it signed with an electronic signature, the contract approval process is very easy and simple without any complications.

10. Sign from anywhere, anytime

Those involved in B2B deals operate in a geographically dispersed business world. Even small, local businesses deal with different suppliers, customers, and partners in various cities, states, and countries. Furthermore, the unpredictable impact of the recent pandemic has forced businesses to work remotely and move to a contract approval process involving e-signatures in order to maintain their business continuity.

E-signatures allow for remote authentication, which makes it a much more convenient solution than the alternative of mailing and/or printing and scanning. With an e-signature solution, the whole contract approval process takes place online so wherever the location of your shareholders or trading partners, it doesn’t matter. The B2B contracts are sent online in a secure manner and signed with an electronic signature in a few minutes or even seconds without any waiting or delaying period of days and weeks.

The path to faster and more secure B2B contract approvals starts with Enable

Now that you’re armed with plenty of reasons for adopting e-signatures, it is a good time to think about switching. E-signatures are so common that your trading partners won't ask questions when presented with a trading agreement that needs to be signed electronically – especially in the post COVID-19 world.

Enable’s collaborative platform provides a much quicker and easier contract approval process that reduces friction in agreement negotiations. It is also possible to post comments on plans and deals, providing a hub for you to nurture your trading relationships and facilitating negotiations if proposed deals aren’t quite right.

Enable incorporate a range of features designed to minimize the risk of fraud and capture a comprehensive audit trail. This means you can see who exactly who signed, where they are located, and the specific time they signed. E-signature documents are then automatically archived so the document can always be accessed.

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Topics: Contract Management