We've started making some changes here around how we use electronic signatures - we're on a roadmap to become a paperless office, and it's a big priority for us. One of the biggest obstacles to avoiding having to print, keep and file stacks of documents is being able to easily deal with forms and paperwork, and signatures are vital for that process. So how do you manage them? There's a range of different options, depending on what devices and software your business is using, but most of them are easy to set up and manage. You'll be able to take care of paperwork with little more than a phone or a tablet!
For offices on the go, a simple solution is to use the free Adobe Fill & Sign app. This is a smartphone or tablet app (Android and iOS only unfortunately) that lets you save and place a simple electronic signature on any PDF form, as well as fill out text fields. You can save the PDF to your phone or your cloud storage and attach it to an email to send to your clients - or your accountants! This app is particularly useful when you're signing receipts or dealing with customer paperwork while mobile - no more carrying pens and paper!
If you're using a Windows computer, you can normally get by using Adobe's Acrobat Pro. This is a little pricier though, and it can run up to $20 a month on a subscription plan. If that's not a long term commitment that you're ready to make, you might want to look at a few other options. If you're using a Windows tablet, the best solution is called Xodo - it's a free download right on the Windows App Store, and it lets you sign documents with your finger or a stylus, and email or save them smoothly and efficiently. Obviously, a touch screen is pretty essential for that!
The last option is more specifically for Word documents. You can use a program such as Adobe Illustrator - or other Vector graphics option - to draw a signature yourself using your mouse or stylus. You can save it as a high quality .PNG image with a transparent background. Then place it as an image in a Microsoft Word file, to save yourself having to print out the document, sign it and scan it back to email. Obviously, it's not as easy an option as some of the PDF signing software that's available, but it will do the trick!
The great thing is that with more and more of these options becoming available, there's never been a better time to look at going paperless. We're not there just yet, but we're on the way to it, and we know it's going to make life a lot easier for us and for the clients who rely on our services. Electronic signatures, combined with a solid record keeping system, are an awesome way to ensure that your business is running with the best possible processes and ideas. You can really keep track of projects, documents and resources without adding to your stress levels.