Security and compliance are both paramount in the legal industry. With no room for error, a growing number of law firms are introducing electronic signatures to ensure legal contracts are secure, traceable and legally-compliant.
In fact, in 2016, the Law Society of England and Wales released a practice note that addresses the use of e-signatures for commercial contracts, a response to the take-up of the technology among legal practitioners.
One of the biggest benefits associated with automating the signature process is that it helps to mitigate the potential litigation risks associated with clerical or other errors. An e-signature solution like DocuSign’s ensures compliance with industry-leading standards of enforceability – including robust authentication, encryption, tamper-seal certificates, chain of custody, and an audit trail.
Documents are digitally sealed to indicate the e-signature is valid and the document has not been tampered with. Multiple levels of authentication based on email, access code, SMS, phone and geo-location increase the thresholds required by signers to prove their identity before accessing documents.
Plus, DocuSign maintains a complete, automated history of every activity, including viewing, printing, sending, signing or declining, making contract management transparent. Every signed DocuSign document comes with a court-admissible certificate that provides evidence of the signing process, and establishes the who, what, when and how of the document signing ceremony.
It also helps organisations comply with legislation, such as Sarbanes-Oxley, when it comes to electronically signing off on board minutes and ensuring a proper audit trail.
There are general efficiency gains too; users can quickly execute NDAs with job applicants, new employees, vendors, and partners by using pre-configured templates and workflow. In addition, DocuSign automated workflows help make non-billable hours as efficient as possible, ultimately reducing overall cost to the organisation.
Legal firms and departments can also use eSignatures to assign trademark and trade names, create patent applications and intellectual property licences.
In addition, signed documents and audit trails are maintained in DocuSign’s tamper-proof storage system, providing easy but secure access to an organisation’s documents, as well as records of access, providing valuable audit compliance and real-time visibility.
The legal industry isn’t the only sector where e-signatures are making a big impact. DocuSign can help finance departments securely manage and streamline their own critical processes. For example, accelerating invoicing and cash flow, improving compliance and gaining real-time visibility into critical document processes.
The finance department can collect information to properly invoice customers and feed data directly into its billing system, reducing errors and accelerating billing. It’s simple to embed DocuSign into an organisation’s existing inventory management forms and processes, saving time, reducing errors and increasing visibility.
Elsewhere, companies can plug DocuSign into their existing forms and link to their financial systems to help maintain proper control and records for any assets they’re transferring or retiring. eSignatures can also speed up the process when it comes to drawing up important paperwork such as M&A documentation, corporate policies and even hiring freeze exemptions.
Existing and forthcoming regulatory pressures are affecting how businesses manage their data. DocuSign helps companies streamline their audit and compliance processes, which are completely secure and tamperproof, with a comprehensive audit trail and retention policies.
Internally, employees can quickly and easily electronically sign expense reports, improving cash management and increasing compliance. They can also electronically acknowledge and sign company policies, helping improve adherence and compliance.
Plus, DocuSign’s native apps for iOS, Android, and Windows 8 let users sign documents on their smartphone or tablet anywhere, anytime.
In a world where accountability, transparency and legal certainty are key, a digital platform like DocuSign is invaluable.
DocuSign and Office 365
Using DocuSign’s integration with Microsoft Office 365 provides an easy, fast, and secure way to send, sign, track, and store documents in the cloud.
“DocuSign’s partnership with Microsoft Office 365 means users benefit from a seamless, end-to-end transaction compliance management solution integrated into their most familiar and widely-used applications,” said Cobweb CEO, Michael Frisby. “Cobweb’s depth of expertise, support and fantastic customer service will ensure you get the most out of your investment in DocuSign and Office 365.”
DocuSign eSignatures - for legal and finance is the second in the series of DocuSign blogs looking at DocuSign implemented for various industries and department. The first, DocuSign eSignatures are transforming businesses - across every department was posted 11 April 2017.