A Guide To Contract Signing In 2024

A Guide To Contract Signing In 2024

Signing a contract is a pivotal moment in any business deal. It seals agreements, outlines terms, and ensures legal enforceability. In this guide, we'll navigate the ins and outs of contract signing. Explore the technology and strategies to ensure smooth and successful contract execution.

Emails, messages, and verbal agreements can all be legally binding if there’s intention and consent. But in the business landscape, where there’s a lot on the line, and clarity is of utmost importance, signing written contracts is the best way to enforce terms legally.

Ultimately, it impacts their capacity to onboard partners, suppliers, and consumers. Because of this, organizations constantly prioritize making contract execution as painless as possible. Most have come far from wet signatures on paper, but there’s more to do to make the process efficient and secure at all levels. So, here’s an all-inclusive guide to contract signing, including the best tools, practices, and trends to look out for.

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What makes signing a contract crucial?

Signing contracts is how parties express their acceptance of contractual terms and conditions. It is the final step in formalizing agreements and establishing legal validity. They signify that each party has read the agreement, understood it, and given their consent.

In written agreements, signing is customary and essential to doing business. The legal enforceability of contractual obligations is contingent upon this unequivocal consent. As a result, all parties concerned can steer clear of arguments, conflicts, and future violations. 

Signature provides legal protection for all parties involved. If one party fails to uphold their end of the agreement, the other party can take legal action to enforce the contract. It can be challenging to prove the terms of the agreement or hold the other party accountable without signing. A legally binding document can give everyone peace of mind and confidence that the agreement will be honored.

What are the various ways to sign a contract?

Signing contracts must be quick, efficient, and secure. Organizations and individuals employ a variety of methods to execute legal agreements. Contract signatures have improved significantly due to the advent of newer technology and the requirement for non-contact procedures. Since digital contracts make up the majority of agreements these days, signing protocols are also adapting to them.

Wet signatures

The most traditional form of signing a contract is through a wet signature, which involves physically signing a document with a pen. This method is still widely used in many industries due to its tangible and secure nature. For international relationships, wet signatures are inappropriate and time-consuming.

Electronic signatures

Electronic signatures are a convenient and efficient way to sign contracts digitally. It is a digital representation of a person's handwritten signature. Electronic signatures are legally binding in most countries, including the United States. The parties must meet requirements, such as an intent to sign and consent to do business electronically.

Digital signatures

Digital signatures take electronic signatures a step further by adding an extra layer of security and authentication. Digital signatures guarantee the integrity of the signed document and confirm the signer's identity using encryption technology. They provide a higher level of assurance and are prevalent in industries where security and compliance are top priorities, such as finance and healthcare.

Click-wrap agreements

Click-wrap agreements come in handy for online transactions and software installations. These agreements require users to click a box or button to indicate their acceptance of the terms and conditions before proceeding. They are quick and easy to execute, making them ideal for online transactions where time is of the essence. Just like traditional contracts, click-wrap agreements are legally binding as long as they meet the requirements of contract law, such as offer, acceptance, and consideration.

Benefits of Electronic Signature

There are several benefits to switching to an electronic signature method for signing contracts at your company. Let us take a look at three of the important benefits.

Save time

Contract signing with paper and ink requires a printer, paper, ink, a scanner to read the signature on the document, and an email to return the signed contract to the other parties.  Electronic signature requires a contract management system portal with eSign capabilities. Electronic signatures mean far less time spent than signing with ink on a piece of paper.  

Contract document security

E-signed documents are encrypted, making them more secure than paper-based documents. Paper documents are easy to tamper with, the signatures can be misused by just using a copier. Using the right contract management software that is equipped with e-signature you can sign and store documents in a safe digital repository. The contract management software is equipped to detect even the tiniest of changes or alterations.

Reduce costs

Electronic signature removes the need for a printed contract from the contract management process. Thereby saving money on printing machines that can scan and copy, paper, ink, and other stationery. The physical signature process is also prone to errors, which could result in more costs. 

How to Choose an Electronic Signature Provider?

The best online contract signing software available in the market is built with efficient electronic signature capabilities. You can also adopt e-signature software for individual uses. These e-signature providers have a lot of services that can be customized for an enterprise organization as well as individual users.

Enterprise organizations need to send and manage several contracts to keep the business smoothly flowing. So, when choosing an e-signature provider you need to keep in mind the requirements you have. Your business might already have other digital systems in place, the electronic signature you adopt should integrate with existing systems smoothly. Other factors to keep in mind while choosing an electronic signature provider are its user-friendliness, mobile-friendliness, and security. Mobile-friendliness is important as more employees are using smartphones to update their work-related activities. A Forbes study revealed that in 2017, 51% of the workforce in the US used a work-related application on their smartphone.

It is a good practice to compare your choices and choose the best solution. Most of the e-signature providers offer a free trial period. We have put together the Top 5 Electronic signature providers in 2021 that you can make use of while choosing an electronic signature provider for yourselves.  

Contract Management System and E-Signature

Contract management stands the most to benefit from adopting e-signature software. You can save a lot of time and money on the contract management process just by adopting an e-signature capability. E-signature is not an innovation; it has been available since the late 1990's. E-signature is relevant now more than ever. Gallup news reports that 33% of US workers are always working remotely, further creating importance to offer electronic signature and digital contract management.

The best online contracting software available in the market is integrated with e-signature capabilities. If you are still using a conventional manual system for contract management, you can achieve more results by using contract management software. Equipping your contract management for the digital age is an important step. If you adopt an electronic signature solution and you are still using a manual contract management process you are still losing a lot of time and money on other processes.

If you already have a contract management system, make sure that electronic signature integration can be implemented smoothly. If you are adopting contract management software with integrated e-signature capabilities, make sure that you have all the required features to manage your contracts.  Otherwise, the contract management provider you choose should be able to customize new features for your needs. Customization capabilities are something you should be checking when choosing a contract management solution.

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Adopting the best online contract signing software is a great step in digitizing and streamlining your contract management efforts. Contract management is an important enterprise process, and it is also very vulnerable to risks. Contract management risks should not be taken lightly because these risks could lead to legal problems and could become a burden on budgets. To avoid risks, adopt contract management software that offers an e-signature feature to streamline your operations and save time and money while keeping your documents secure with contract management encryption.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is not intended to be legal advice; rather, all information, content, and resources accessible through this site are for purely educational purposes. This page's content might not be up to date with legal or other information.
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Written by Deepti Gopimohan

As a creative content writer, Deepti has spent years assisting brands to share their unique voice with audiences, complying with the latest marketing trends and strategies. Her educational background in Literature & Journalism has helped her research and publish content for diverse industries & mediums.
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Reviewed by Naveen K P

Naveen, a seasoned content reviewer with 9+ years in software technical writing, excels in evaluating content for accuracy and clarity. With expertise in SaaS, cybersecurity, AI, and cloud computing, he ensures adherence to brand standards while simplifying complex concepts.

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