This is a rational question with rational answers, but not everyone has the time or the tenacity to sit down and read the Electronic Signatures In Global and National Commerce Act (“ESIGN”), Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (“UETA”) or the stacks of other regulations and guidance that make this technology not only legal, but also stress the vital importance of adopting electronic signature technologies.
Today the average American office worker consumes (12,000) pieces of paper a year, with an average annual printing expense per employee ranging from $600-$2000. Storing paper and retrieving stored paper is also quite costly. The U.S. government estimates that (1 Lbs) of paper costs ($19) a year to store and manage. At that rate, assuming your business stores only 60% of the paper printed by your employees, your business is spending $1,500 annually per employee on paper storage alone.
There are obvious other costs associated with paper, for example the costs associated with faxing, shipping, receiving and time factors such as waiting for a job to finish printing or waiting on a package to arrive. In the end all businesses feel these costs, but most look at it as a fixed cost of doing business. In reality this is a variable cost of doing business based on old fashioned processes, and the United States government along with virtually every other developed country has passed legislation and regulations encouraging businesses to change the way they do business today, and take advantage of new legal and secure alternatives.
All businesses are looking for a competitive edge, and electronic signature technologies can and will play a vital role in helping businesses find and achieve this competitive edge. Look at the simple cost savings your business can achieve by eliminating some of the hard and soft costs mentioned above. (1) Gigabyte (“GB”) of hard drive space costs ($.50), and this (1) GB of storage will store (100,000) pages of single spaced text. This is the equivalent of ($19,000) of storage savings, ($11,000) of printing savings, and countless savings on time and miscellaneous expenses. Using electronic signature technologies will allow your business to send the previously printed materials securely and immediately to anyone anywhere in the world. Once they receive the file the recipient can legally electronically sign the file, which allows your business to act immediately, and never wait for a package to arrive from the client or prospect again.
This simple process will have wide ranging effects on your business, and the businesses you work with. Sales and production cycles will be shortened, employees will be more efficient, and complying with strict federal and state guidelines will become increasingly easier as your business processes move toward electronic communications and storage.
In the end the decision is not whether to move to an electronic format, but which format is right for your business. Some may feel that electronic signatures are too expensive or complex to implement into their business, but this is no longer the case. There are several pay-as-you-go services on the market today that will allow you to send files and capture secure and legal electronic signatures regardless of your budget. For larger corporations these pay-as-you-go services offer fast, affordable convenience, and in many cases these services offer better options and are easier to use than large and complex in-house solutions.
You can do a Google or Yahoo search to find a list of electronic signature service providers, and determine which one is right for you. There is also a helpful competition analysis put together by PrivaSign.com, which you can review at https://privasign.com/esign-competition-analysis.asp. Have fun and explore all of your options. The goal should be to become more efficient, and during this process your business will certainly save money, become more productive and save time.