Why lose time and money printing, scanning, and faxing documents when you can just use a digital signature?
As the nature of work goes more remote than ever, digital signature has become the key facilitator of companies doing business across borders. Being secure and legally binding, digital signatures empower businesses to sign new contracts quickly and virtually.
Before eSignatures, businesses around the world spent enormous amounts of time and money dealing with paperwork. But that’s not the only problem with physical documents: they also lack security. They can be easily lost, damaged, forged, or tampered with.
Plus, our business needs in the digital era are ever-evolving. Replacing paperwork with efficient and streamlined digital solutions seems to be the only way forward from here.
What are eSignatures?
eSignatures are a digital alternative to handwritten signatures. Though saving time might be one of the biggest advantages of eSignatures in today’s fast-paced world, it isn’t the only one.
They are convenient, secure, and legally binding. In fact, they provide more security than traditional signatures, thereby minimizing risk and protecting individual and business interests.
How Digital Signatures Work
When you sign a document using a digital signature solution provider, they use a mathematical algorithm under the PKI (public key infrastructure) protocol to generate two keys: private and public.
When you sign a document by typing or drawing, the digital signature is created using your private key. How’s the private key created?
The mathematical algorithm gets to work, takes your data, and creates something called a hash. It encrypts that data and the resultant product is your private key, which is basically your eSignature.
When your recipient receives the document, they have a copy of your public key. But how do they verify that the signature is yours or valid? The public key helps them match hash values and decrypt that data to verify the authenticity of the eSignature. If the values don’t match, it means the eSignature is invalid.
Digital signatures are also backed by electronic certificates, which have personal details like name, email address, and location to verify and back that the eSignature is indeed yours.
How are Digital Signatures legally compliant
eSignature solution providers use the PKI protocol and data encryption to ensure privacy. To stay legally compliant, they ensure they comply with electronic signatures laws set out by Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act.
In addition, they adhere to several industry standards, like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), International Standard for Information Security (ISO 27001), and System and Organizations Control (SOC) under AICPE.
These rules and regulations allow digital signatures to be legally binding. However, please note that regulatory requirements vary from country to country.
Use Cases of eSignatures
Digital signatures use multiple layers of encryption technology to ensure minimal data loss and eliminate chances of document loss, tampering or forgery. Keeping these advantages in mind, here are some use-cases for teams where eSignatures help enhance productivity:
Onboarding, performance evaluations, NDAs, etc.
Sales & Marketing
Tax forms, purchase agreements, contractor/power of attorney agreements, etc.
NDAs, contracts, compliance, waivers, etc.
Tax forms, purchase agreements, contractor/power of attorney agreements etc.
Invoices, expense reports, policy management approvals, etc.
Contracts, proposals, orders, quotes, special deals, release forms, and PR sign-offs etc.
Asset transfer, approval sign-offs, system change requests, etc.
While digital signature work for all industries and businesses of all sizes and types, let’s take a quick look at the industry-based use-cases of eSignatures:
All of these industries above can take advantage of eSignatures to help them with onboarding, employee and policy management, supply chain distribution, invoices, quotes, proposals, NDAs, and contracts.
Digital Signatures With PandaDoc
With numerous eSignature providers on the market, how should you choose one? Especially when, if you’re not picking a provider that’s legally compliant, you could expose yourself and your business to legal troubles.
Consider PandaDoc, one of the top digital signature providers that are trusted by 50,000+ users. With AICPE’s SOC, GDPR, and PKI compliance, it ensures your signatures are secure and legally binding.
Plus, it can help you with all the processes of document management, from digital signatures to contract lifecycle management (CLM), with its advanced functionalities, unlike other basic tools.
With its all-in-one document automation software, you can cut time and cost while building meaningful relationships with your customers.
PandaDoc: Core Functionalities
In addition to an intuitive interface, excellent customer support, and a wide range of integrations, PandaDoc is well-known for these reasons:
Offers Unlimited Free Signatures
PandaDoc allows you to eSign your documents on the go! You can close important deals with a few clicks while ensuring your data is secure. They also have a mobile application that lets you stay on top of a contract lifecycle management process.
However, PandaDoc claims to be the only eSigning platform that allows you to upload and sign an unlimited number of documents on their free plan!
Prioritizes Privacy & Ensures Legal Compliance
PandaDoc is UETA, ESIGN and HIPAA-compliant. Meaning, not only do documents signed by PandaDoc meet legal requirements enforceable in your country. But also they protect your individual right to privacy.
Plus, PandaDoc is AICPA SOC 2 Type II certified. Implying it conforms to the services criteria set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Why’s that important?
When companies deal with a lot of confidential information that’s sensitive or personally identifiable, they need to meet a certain set of criteria for maintaining the confidentiality, integrity, and security of their client’s data.
However, there’s more!
Guarantees Advanced Security
When you sign a document with PandaDoc, it gives you an electronic certificate to verify that the document is legitimate. The electronic certificate will help you access the recipient’s name, signature, verified email address as well as and IP address. Plus, it’ll also have a date and time stamp of the document signed.
For PDFs, PandaDoc ensures an enhanced level of security by providing a private encryption key to verify the authenticity of the document.
Supports Different File Types
If you had to choose a different platform for every different file type you need to sign, you’d be losing a lot of time. That, too, for nothing!
With PandaDoc, you can sign PDFs, JPGs, or DOCX and streamline them into a single, unified workflow. PandaDoc supports the following content types: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDFs, JPGs, and PNGs.
Helps Track eSignature Automatically
PandaDoc puts data security first, which is why they have an automated eSignature tracking feature. For every signed document, there’s an embedded audit trail that helps you see who viewed, accessed, or signed a document and when.
This is especially useful when you’re handling multiple document signings simultaneously. An automated tracking feature can help you be in control and get a 360-view of all that’s happening.
With PandaDoc’s version history feature, you’ll be able to switch between different versions of your documents. You’ll always stay in the know of who made changes and where.
Top Features of PandaDoc
For businesses looking to streamline their document workflows, reduce closing time and improve ROIs, PandaDoc is more than a simple eSignature platform. Here’s why:
#1. Signing & Tracking
Enable signing order: If your contracts or proposals require multiple signatures, this is extremely useful. You can choose recipients, assign roles (sender, client, signer), place them in the right order, and automate the entire distribution. PandaDoc will send an email notification when it’s someone’s turn to sign. And you don’t have to overlook the process manually.
Send out a signing request: Want a signature from someone in your company or a client? PandaDoc allows you to send out requests, and you can automate it in a few clicks as well.
Track documents: Want to know whether someone signed a document or not? You’ll receive notifications when they do. Plus, an audit trail will help you track who viewed or signed a document you sent out.
#2. Automated Content
Add Smart Content placeholders: With Smart Content, you can minimize errors and save time on creating documents. Set placeholder items to remind you or your team about what to include. And choose preselected items for your teammates to add for specific docs/proposals.
Personalize your content: Take your workflow to the next level by opting for conditional content. Over here, you create templates that have rules which help your senders generate content that is tailor-fitted to your client’s needs.
Set rules to improve data collection: You can also set up conditional fields to help recipients navigate through your document and find what they’re looking for easily. That improves the quality of your data collection or customer personalization immensely.
#3. Advanced Quotes
Tailor quotes for your clients: Have your team build personalized quotes for clients without missing important information with the quote builder.
Set specific pricing: You can choose between fixed, recurring, or volume-based pricing strategies, and we’ll help you receive payments through the ACH network.
Embed product catalogs: Create a product catalog and embed it in your quotes every time you need to.
Group products into a bundle: You can also create product bundles to help streamline sales and make them easily shareable.
You can also create a workspace with PandaDoc to distribute work across teams and manage your team members and the permissions they have. Plus, you can view version histories of documents to track them better, and you can search for them using specific filters.
All of these PandaDoc features are available with the Business or Enterprise plan. They help transform your business operations and do away with labor-intensive, archaic practices.
Pricing & Plans
PandaDoc does come with a free plan that allows you to upload and eSign an unlimited number of documents.
However, its advanced features like smart content or advanced quote builder are only available as a part of its premium plans. Let’s take a look at the pricing plans of PandaDoc offers:
Essentials: $19 per user/month billed annually, allowing excellent features like drag and drop editor, audit trail, 750+ templates, 24×7 support
Business: ₹49 user/month billed annually, allowing CRM and Zapier integrations, approval workflows, content library, and custom branding
Enterprise: Customized pricing with renewals, locking, unlimited workspaces, custom roles, and access to QES, the most secure form of eSignatures
Smart Content or Advanced Quote Builder can be availed as paid add-ons to your plans.
How easy is PandaDoc to use?
You can get started with a 14-day free trial to see if PandaDoc works for you and your business needs. Once you sign up, you’ll be prompted to try the eSigning services or automate your workflow.
The first one, as the name suggests, lets you upload files (PNG, JPG, DOCX, etc) and sign them. While the second one can help you with contract lifecycle management, document creation, invoices, quotes, and so much more!
Find everything you need at your fingertips
With an extremely easy-to-use interface, PandaDoc simplifies things further with its left-side navigation menu. Here, you’ll find just about everything you need to see – documents, templates, forms, content library, contacts, add-ons, and reporting.
Under documents, see which renewals are coming up, and which contracts are expiring soon, or just create a new document.
Next up is the template gallery, which features 750+ templates in different categories, from forms to invoices to proposals. No matter the type of industry your business falls within, PandaDoc’s template gallery is sure to have specific templates you can build on.
You’ll also find forms, and you can choose the type that works for you between casual, modern, and simple! Creating a form is as easy as creating a document with PandaDoc’s drag-and-drop editor, which lets you be quick and creative.
Below forms, you’ll also find the content library, catalog, and reporting in addition to your inbox, add-on store, and contacts. The content library has content blocks that can help you create your own templates and result in fast document creation.
As for the catalog, that’s where you can build a product catalog in simple steps. You can also use PandaDoc’s advanced reporting tools, like version history and audit trail, to stay on top of your documents.
Send flawless proposals in minutes
On the home screen, you can also stay up-to-date with your activity as well as the activity going on in your workspace! If you want to send a quick proposal/document/contract/invoice, pick a template, customize it, and add a recipient, and you’re good to go. That’s how easy PandaDoc is to use.
You can add other content blocks (as you can see on the right) from text to tables to rich media. You can also outline the fillable fields for your recipient right below. In case you want to understand how to best use it to your advantage, you can also request a demo with the PandaDoc team.
With its all-in-one approach, easy interface, and live chat support, PandaDoc does make some brilliant points for itself. The drag-and-drop editor is a creative advantage, and coupled with specialized signing orders and customization tools, PandaDoc increases closing times by 28%.
If you’re still skeptical, we suggest you try the forever free eSign feature, which is ideal for startups, small businesses, and individuals. If you like what you use, you can always take a 14-day trial and switch to a plan that suits you better.
Gargi is an experienced writer & editor who specializes in creating copies that inspire confidence and conversions. With 7+ years in the industry, she’s currently the Lead Sub-Editor of a global magazine. Her expertise lies in the home… read more