APRIL 24, 2020

Digital signatures – faster, simpler, more secure client document approvals.

By Shane Reid

Managing client document approvals at a financial advice practice isn’t easy. You’re constantly emailing back and forth with clients, working with unclear approval processes and completing lots of manual work in printing, scanning and storing approved documents.

Digital document management solutions with digital signature capability simplify and streamline this process. They allow you to easily populate document templates with data from multiple sources, effortlessly share and amend content, and send documents to clients to review and approve instantly.

Better yet, by eliminating time consuming manual processes, digitisation also delivers significant cost reductions by simplifying compliance, increasing process efficiency and putting more time back into your schedule.

Research shows digital forward companies on average achieve:

  • 13% more revenue
  • 50% more profitable
  • 19% higher market valuation.

Paperless back office, happier clients

While digital document management solutions have solved many of the process efficiency and production cost issues associated with paper-based document processes, one hurdle remained – collecting client signatures.

Here’s how digital signatures have transformed client document approvals for financial advice practices.

The rise of digital signatures

Traditionally, seeking client approvals on important documents like a Statement of Advice (SOA) meant either printing it out and organising to meet the client for them to sign it in person, or posting the document to them for them to sign and mail back.

Later, this became emailing back and forth and asking a client to print the form, sign it and then either scan and email, fax or post it back.

Digital signatures have streamlined this process by allowing clients to review and approve documents in minutes, significantly lowering document production costs and improving the profitability of your practice.

Solutions like DocuSign’s eSignature – which is fully integrated into Umlaut’s digital document workflow – allows clients to securely review and approve important documents in just a few clicks.

Once a document is approved, it’s seamlessly transferred to Xplan and stored, increasing accessibility and reducing your compliance burden.

Digital signature solutions provide oversight of the entire document approval process, and automatic reminders and prompts help ensure clients provide approvals to schedule. No more calling clients to chase up signatures.

How do digital signatures work?

With DocuSign eSignature added to Umlaut’s digital document workflow as our example, the entire document approval process takes only 5 steps:

  • Step 1 - you generate a document within FileBound.
  • Step 2 - the document automatically fills with the relevant client data from Xplan.
  • Step 3 - you share, review and edit the document with your team.
  • Step 4 - you send the document to the client to review and sign in just a few clicks.
  • Step 5 - the document is returned to you and immediately stored in Xplan once approved.

DocuSign allows you to add the names and email addresses of your signers and other recipients, and even specify the order in which they should sign.

You can drag and drop fields to indicate to a client where they need to provide a signature, initial or date. You can also add custom fields for signers to fill in.

When you hit send, DocuSign emails a link to each recipient which they can use to securely access the document.

Once the document is complete, you receive a notification and it is stored securely for easy retrieval.

DocuSign tracks the document throughout each step of the approval process, providing you with clear records and making compliance a breeze.

Are digital signatures secure?

Data security is a significant and growing concern for businesses that source and store their clients’ important personal information.

While mail has long been considered the most secure way to transfer client approvals, digital solutions like DocuSign’s eSignature harness advanced encryption technology that makes them more secure than paper.

All the data accessed and transferred through DocuSign is encrypted to the highest security protocols including HTTPS, SSL, SSH, IPsec and SFTP. These are international standard protocols that protect your client’s important personal information.

All documents are encrypted with AES 256-bit encryption which is impenetrable to brute force hacking attacks and ensures digital documents will only ever be accessible to you and your client during transfer.

Docusign also proactively shares information about data security to keep you informed and works with you to configure security to the needs of your organisation.

Are digital signatures legal?

Electronic signatures became legal in Australia in 1999, with the passing of the Electronic Transactions Act.

Under Australian law, contracts are generally valid if legally competent parties reach an agreement, whether they agree verbally, electronically or by signing a paper document.

Provided certain requirements are met, and a relevant exception does not apply, contracts are enforceable if they are agreed electronically.

Digital records are also admissible in evidence under Australian law to prove the existence and validity of a contract.

Want faster, more cost effective and secure document approvals?

Digital signatures added to your digital document workflow eliminate the manual processing headaches of traditional paper-based document approvals.

Solutions like  DocuSign’s eSignature allow you to effortlessly prepare, share, approve and store documents in mere clicks, slashing document production time and costs.

Effortless integration with Xplan and end-to-end approval tracking also simplify compliance and allow you to optimise your approval process to further improve the profitability of your practice.

Plus, advanced encryption and data security technology ensures your document approval process is more secure than paper.

If you want faster, cheaper and more secure document approvals, digital signatures are a vital addition to your digital document workflow.

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