Benefits and disadvantages of electronic signatures

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  • Post last modified:4. November 2022
Benefits and disadvantages of electronic signatures

Electronic signature vs. handwritten signature on paper

Digitalisation is advancing in great strides. Big Data, artificial intelligence and innovative technologies are being used with increasing frequency, including the electronic signature. This is intended to replace the paper signature and enable a location- and time-independent way of working. In this article, we take a closer look at the benefits and disadvantages of the electronic signature.

Digitise business processes, shorten lead times

With an e-signature, many business processes can be digitised and signatures can be obtained completely independent of time and place. The processing time of signature workflows is significantly shortened, since, for example, sending the documents by post or travelling to the customer is no longer necessary.

Original quality – even after many years

Since the retention period of important documents is usually more than 10 years, it must be ensured that the signature can still be easily read afterwards. A handwritten signature can fade over time. An e-signature, on the other hand, still has its original quality even after many years.

Working in an environmentally friendly way

The digital signature makes a valuable contribution to environmental protection because resources – such as water and trees – are conserved. Did you know that a standard pack of copy paper (500 sheets DIN A4, 2.3 kg) consumes 7.5 kilograms of wood, 130 litres of water and 26.8 kilowatt hours of energy?

Save time & costs

The electronic signature saves on costs for paper, printer and equipment such as ink or toner. But an e-signature can also eliminate the need to travel to the office or to the customer.

Increase customer satisfaction

Customers like everything to be convenient and nowadays they prefer to conclude contracts – such as insurance, electricity and mobile phone contracts – from home.

Better organisation

Some signature providers offer document management and/or a digital archive for signed documents so that documents can no longer be lost. Also, the search for a document is more often simple when in digital format than in a physical archive or a folder of paper contracts.

Different verification value of the signature types

The electronic signature can be divided into three types. There is the simple (SES), advanced (AES) and qualified electronic signature (QES). Although the simple electronic signature is faster and easier to execute, it is not the best choice for all use cases, as this form is more difficult to verify than the advanced- or qualified electronic signature. A few documents, such as fixed-term employment contracts and guarantees, require a qualified electronic signature by law. Therefore, it is important to ascertain which form you require in advance.

Technical know-how necessary

The electronic signature may take some getting used to for less technically savvy people, or may even be met with scepticism. In addition, there may be questions raised about the legal certainty of the signature and how the signature process works.

Technical infrastructure required

The digital signature requires a minimum of technical infrastructure such as a computer with internet access. Some providers also require an additional device such as a signature pad or smartphone.

Software costs

If additional software is required, it is usually subject to a charge. The functions associated with free tools are usually only sufficient for a one-time electronic signature for b>private purposes.
The electronic signature is an important component for a company’s digital transformation and it will soon be impossible to imagine everyday business without it. The costs incurred by the software are fully compensated by savings in time, money and resources. The technical expertise and associated infrastructure can be a challenge, but this usually only affects a small proportion of signatories.
The software solution inSign is aimed at all company sizes, the self-employed and freelancers. Interested parties can choose between three licensing models which differ in terms of the scope of functions and price.