How to ensure compliance with e-signatures

As businesses navigate the landscape of digital transformation, they are adopting innovative solutions, such as electronic signatures (e-signatures). However, as they transition from traditional signatures to e-signatures, the crucial aspect of ensuring compliance with regulatory standards becomes a critical consideration. Let’s make sure you have all the necessary information to ensure compliance in your e-signature processes.

Understanding compliance challenges in the digital age

The integration of e-signatures presents numerous benefits, from time efficiency to reducing environmental impact. But, shifting from traditional to electronic signatures also means that you now have to navigate a complex web of regulations to ensure the legality and validity of e-signed documents. Key concerns include data security, consent, attribution, and adherence to industry-specific regulations.

Compliance across continents and industries

E-signatures are governed by a multitude of legal acts and regulations worldwide, such as:

  • UETA and the ESIGN Act Sec 106 in the US
  • PIPEDA in Canada
  • eIDAS in the European Union
  • The Electronic Transactions Act 1999 in Australia
  • The Electronic Communications Act 2000 in the UK

When handling e-signatures from different regions with different regulations you need to be aware of the varying legal requirements, acceptance and recognition of electronic signatures in each jurisdiction, ensuring compliance with local laws.

It’s also important to understand the industry-specific regulations. Each sector, from finance to healthcare and legal, operates under distinct rules and standards. Failure to align e-signature solutions with these regulations can have serious consequences.

In finance, transactional integrity standards such as eIDAS and the ESIGN Act are paramount. Healthcare, governed by HIPAA, prioritizes patient data security. Legal professionals, needing court-admissible e-signatures, emphasize attribution and integrity. Knowing and applying the relevant regulations ensures that organizations not only comply with the law but also maintain trust, avoid legal repercussions, and safeguard sensitive data. By doing this, you foster a secure and reliable e-signature process tailored to industry-specific needs.

Key features for assuring compliance

Here’s the 3 key features you need to look for in your e-signature software to ensure compliance: 

1. Legal validity and standards compliance

Your e-signing software should adhere to recognized e-signature standards and legal frameworks, such as the ones mentioned in the section above. Compliance with these standards ensures the legal validity and enforceability of digital signatures.

2. Secure storage and access control

Choose software that ensures that your e-signed contracts are stored securely, with access limited to authorized personnel. This feature aligns with data protection regulations and confidentiality requirements.

3. Audit trails and attribution

Your software should generate detailed logs of all activities related to the e-signing process, called audit trails. They provide a transparent record of every action taken within a document. This enhances transparency and accountability and strengthens the legal standing of e-signatures, which is essential for compliance in various jurisdictions.

E-signing with Trackado

Trackado offers a secure and compliant environment for managing contracts. With features designed to address the nuances of diverse industries, Trackado ensures that organizations can confidently navigate the regulatory landscape while enjoying the benefits of streamlined, digital processes.

iChoosr made their contract management processes more efficient and secure with Trackado

iChoosr is on a mission to accelerate the energy transition to sustainable energy. They act as a marketplace that facilitates the purchase of solar panels, heat pumps and energy contracts for individuals and businesses by matching them with suppliers offering a competitive price. Operating globally in countries like the Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Japan, and the United States, iChoosr were dealing with a wide range of contracts stored in different places.

Challenges before Trackado

Before implementing Trackado, iChoosr faced challenges in managing contracts effectively. Marc Fielmich, Legal, Privacy and Security Officer at iChoosr, joined iChoosr just as they were transitioning to Trackado.

“Before switching to Trackado, we used a cloud solution where everyone would email contracts to people to be signed, get it back and then upload it to the cloud. Each department and each business line had their own files. The signed contracts were put in those files, which made it very difficult to find the right documents when we needed them.”

Initially, people were not very happy with the transition as they weren’t sure how the new processes would look like, but now everyone is on board and loves the simplicity of it, Marc explains.

Before opting for Trackado, iChoosr explored other alternatives as well. Marc says that Trackado offered a better price point than its competitors, but the main reason why they choose Trackado was because they offered “Limited users, unlimited contracts.” This approach suited iChoosr’s needs better, as they don’t need everyone to have access to contracts, but they need to be able to keep uploading contracts.

Streamlining processes and securing privacy

Since implementing Trackado, the experience has been very positive. Trackado has simplified the contract management process, providing a single point of access for signing and managing contracts.

iChoosr’s HR department utilizes Trackado for employee contracts, leveraging its efficiency in the signing and storage process. And as a privacy officer, Marc appreciates the ability to easily manage access permissions, ensuring that only authorized users can see certain documents.

“Trackado has a function where I, as administrator, can assign certain responsibilities, so users can only see certain files or links. When a contract is uploaded into Trackado, I assign it to a department and then give people access to certain departments, allowing them to only access documents in these departments.”

But their favorite feature, according to Marc, is the automatic reminders, helping them manage contract renewals and upgrades efficiently.

Impact on contract management

Trackado’s design has streamlined the contract management process in the entire organization, giving users a comprehensive overview of all contracts. Trackado’s features also contribute to protecting sensitive information by assigning access based on roles and responsibilities.

Marc recommends Trackado, emphasizing its unlimited contracts, centralized management, and user-friendliness. And he further highlights the great customer service provided by Trackado.

“Their customer support always responds really fast, listens to their customers and issues are fixed immediately. Whenever I suggest new features, they listen well and are willing to implement it.”

The user-friendly interface, unlimited contracts, customizable access permissions and the prompt responsiveness of Trackado’s customer service have made it a valuable tool for iChoosr.

Do you want to explore the ease of contract management? Try Trackado 30 days for free here.

The complete guide to e-signatures

You’ve probably noticed the growing number of activities and functions that are becoming digital, everything from finding a date for Friday night to closing business agreements, can now be done online. When it comes to businesses, some of their top priorities are efficiency, productivity, and data safety. So, it’s no surprise that electronic signatures, or e-signatures, have skyrocketed in popularity. Let’s make sure you have the knowledge to make the most out of your e-signatures.

In this guide we will explore the world of e-signatures, what they are, their benefits and how to use them effectively.

What are e-signatures?

Firstly, what do we actually mean when we say e-signatures? All signatures that are made electronically are e-signatures, but there are different types of e-signatures used in different scenarios. They’re called: basic e-signatures, digital and graphical.

  • Basic e-signatures encompass various forms, from scanned images to typed names, widely accepted for electronic consent.
  • Digital signatures are a specific type of e-signature that employ cryptographic techniques and digital certificates, offering heightened security and legal acceptance.
  • Graphic signatures are visual representations of handwritten signatures. They provide a personal touch but may lack cryptographic security.

An e-signature provides a secure and accurate identification method for the signatory to complete a seamless electronic transaction. They are a secure and legally recognized way to obtain consent or approval on electronic documents or forms, and a much more convenient and efficient way to sign documents.

An electronic signature can be as simple as a person’s typed name, an electronic image of their handwritten signature, or even a fingerprint or voiceprint in some cases. They are commonly used in less formal agreements, everyday business transactions, and any situation where a traditional handwritten signature was previously used. This ease of use and broad legal acceptance make electronic signatures a key tool in modern digital transactions, streamlining processes and eliminating the need for physical paperwork.

Global legal frameworks for e-signatures

E-signatures are governed by a multitude of legal acts and regulations worldwide. Examples include PIPEDA in Canada, UETA and the ESIGN Act Sec 106 in the US, eIDAS in the European Union, the Electronic Transactions Act 1999 in Australia, and the Electronic Communications Act 2000 in the UK.

When handling e-signatures from different regions with different regulations you need to be aware of the varying legal requirements, acceptance and recognition of electronic signatures in each jurisdiction, ensuring comprehensive compliance with local laws.

Key benefits of e-signatures

1. Time efficiency

E-signatures eliminate the need for physical presence, allowing parties to sign documents from anywhere, as long as there is an internet connection. This reduces the time required for document processing, sending and approval.

2. Cost savings

The traditional signing process involves printing, scanning and shipping documents, involves costs for paper, ink and postage. E-signatures eliminate these expenses and can save you a lot of money – especially if you’re dealing with documents with several hundred pages.

3. Enhanced security

As mentioned earlier, there are global legal frameworks ensuring the reliability of e-signatures, making them highly secure. Many e-signature solutions also provide audit trails, ensuring a transparent record of the signing process.

4. Easy accessibility

Signed documents can easily be stored in a secure place, while still being accessible to all parties involved. This facilitates structure and seamless collaboration, both between external parties and internally.

5. Environmental impact

Going paperless with e-signatures aligns with sustainability goals, reducing the environmental impact associated with paper production, shipping and waste.

How to use e-signatures effectively

How do you make sure you get the most out of your e-signatures? We got you.

1. Ensure compliance

Make sure your e-signature software is compliant with legal acts, such as UETA and eIDAS, and that it meets essential terms and conditions, including;

  • All parties involved must agree to the electronic signing of documents.
  • Electronic signatures are valid only when the signer has the intention to sign, and they should have the option to decline signature requests.
  • Signers should visibly mark or provide a statement on the electronic document, ensuring a clear connection to the signed document.
  • Whether through a name or a unique mark, the signature should clearly identify the person who signed the document.

2. Craft a clear policy

Develop a comprehensive e-signature policy aligned with regulations and legislation. Not having a policy in place increases the risk of not being compliant with e-signature processes, potentially rendering electronic records unsupported or, even worse, unenforceable. In your policy, you should clearly state its objectives, scope, and usage rules. Communicate the policy formally to all team members and customers, defining roles, secure storage and best practices.

3. Prioritize staff training

Provide training to ensure that all team members understand and follow e-signature processes correctly. This will help standardize how you use e-signatures across the organization. By regularly updating employees on the latest e-signature legislation and encouraging continuous learning you can provide quality transactions between you and your partners.

You can also provide training to stakeholders on how to use the chosen e-signature solution to further ensure a smooth transition.

4. Implement an audit trail

Audit trails collect and store information about the delivery and signing process for each record presented – an important role when the authenticity of an electronic signature is questioned. Ensure that your e-signature software offers an audit trail, capturing key information like timestamps, IP addresses, signer details and any document changes.

An audit trail will also act as proof in case of disputes, ensuring the authenticity and validity of electronic signatures.

5. Evaluate and measure success

Regularly evaluating the effectiveness of your e-signature solution involves assessing various aspects, such as the efficiency of the signing process, customer satisfaction, and any potential bottlenecks or areas for improvement. By doing so you can identify opportunities to improve the customer experience, streamline your e-sign workflows and address evolving needs or preferences.

E-signing with Trackado

In our mission to make contract management as smooth and simple as possible, we have incorporated an e-signing function into our software. It’s a seamless integration where the contracts are signed electronically, and automatically stored in the repository, streamlining the entire process.

With Trackado, you can:

  • Prepare and send documents for electronic signature to any device.
  • Add attachments to the signing process or require attachments from the participants.
  • Manage all your e-signing processes from within Trackado and receive your signed documents directly back into Trackado.
  • When the contract is signed, you’ll automatically receive an audit trail which is saved in the repository.

Explore more of Trackados features in our Product Tour – and check out our video to our e-signing features!

Good Energy improved their internal processes with Trackado

Good Energy, a UK-based provider of renewable energy to commercial businesses and domestic homes, has significantly improved its contract management processes through Trackado. With around 350 employees spanning various departments, Good Energy was struggling to manage contracts efficiently.

Contract management was entirely ad hoc

When Andrew Parkinson, Procurement Manager, joined Good Energy, contracts were scattered across the organization with no central storage or consistency. The signing process was mainly paper-based and lacking a structured process, leading to ad hoc practices and lack of control.

“Every part of the business was responsible for their own contracts. We had no central storage and no consistency in how we handled contracts. Some contracts could even be in the desk drawer somewhere. We had no easy way of accessing the contracts or keeping track of important dates.”

After exploring bigger, more advanced solutions, Good Energy found Trackado to be the ideal fit for their needs. According to Andrew, Trackado offered a simple and accessible solution without the complexity and high costs associated with the larger alternatives.

Getting started with Trackado

Once decided on Trackado, the process of gathering, reviewing and manually entering information from physical contracts into Trackado started. This was the most challenging part, Andrew explains.

“Since we had so many contracts in different places, the most difficult part was gathering, reviewing and manually entering the information from the physical contracts into Trackado. But the actual process of uploading them to Trackado was very simple.”

Once the contracts were uploaded into Trackado, the platform became an essential part of improving their internal processes. Now, every new contract that goes through the legal team is automatically signed, scanned and saved. Trackado ensures that Good Energy can maintain a comprehensive record of all their contracts, enabling each department to track their respective supplies, keep track of renewal dates and be ahead of the game to plan renewal activities, as well as promptly addressing any legal inquiries.

“Now every part of the business knows what they are responsible for and it allows for them to have access to that information quickly and easily. This enables us to respond to legal inquiries much faster because we can find documents right away. Trackado has made everything much more efficient and with lower risk.”

The value of simplicity

“Our favorite feature of Trackado is its lack of unnecessary features.”

Andrew points out that it’s the simplicity of Trackado that they enjoy the most. He highlights that the platform does exactly what they need, and its straightforward approach enhances their operational efficiency at a reasonable cost.

Good Energy is very happy with the support they’ve gotten from Trackado and would recommend Trackado to anyone who wants a simple solution to their contracts.

“Trackado is the best value product we have. In terms of being value for money, it’s the best thing we ever brought into the business.”  

Good Energy’s experience with Trackado demonstrates how a streamlined and user-friendly approach can significantly improve contract management processes. 

Want to learn how you can streamline your contract operations as well? Book a demo or sign up and get a 30 day free trial of Trackado.

How Zapmap streamlined their contract management processes with Trackado

Zapmap is committed to simplifying the electric vehicle (EV) charging experience through their comprehensive app. Their services cater to EV drivers, providing easy access to search, plan, and pay for charging, along with offerings for businesses such as market insights and subscription bundles.

Before adopting Trackado, Zapmap struggled with managing different contracts across various platforms. Both Spreadsheets, Google Drive, and Dropbox housed their contracts, resulting in operational inefficiencies.

Seamless transition to Trackado

While the contract management struggles continued, Zapmap searched for a solution. That’s when Good Energy, one of Zapmap’s investors, recommended Trackado as the perfect match for their needs.

“Our main reason for choosing it was to enable us to have all of our contracts reliably stored in one place”, says Daisy Miller, Project Coordinator at Zapmap.

Getting started with Trackado was effortless, Daisy explains. Zapmap found the platform very user-friendly which made their transition a walk in the park.

“The Trackado team was extremely helpful in getting us set up, the platform is really easy to use and navigate and I had everything I needed to get started.”

Simplifying Zapmap’s contract operations

Daisy further explains how Trackado significantly improved Zapmap’s contract management.

“The email reminders for contract start and end dates have been extremely helpful for our client-facing members of the team. It has helped to streamline the contract renewal process significantly. Having all our contracts in one place has also been very useful, the ability to export a report on all contracts in our repository is a great feature and has been a useful point of reference for our senior management team.”

Zapmap found multiple Trackado features highly beneficial, especially the email reminders and the email-in feature, which allowed their sales team to effortlessly upload contracts to the repository, streamlining workflows.

“The ability to bulk edit contracts in the repository has made contract admin so much easier! The email-in feature is also something we use extensively, when our sales team confirm a new contract, they simply copy in the Trackado email address, and the contract is then uploaded directly to our repository. A slight change in our process has made the whole experience much more streamlined and easier to navigate.”

Zapmap recommends Trackado

Daisy from Zapmap highly recommends Trackado, especially for businesses juggling numerous complex contracts across diverse areas.

“We would definitely recommend Trackado, particularly for companies who have lots of different types of contracts across different areas of the business. Trackado has simplified and streamlined our contract management process, which is crucial when we have so many different and often complex contracts.”

The seamless integration and user-friendly interface of Trackado have been instrumental in enhancing Zapmap’s contract management, aligning perfectly with their mission to simplify EV charging experiences.

Want to learn how you can streamline your contract operations as well? Book a demo or sign up and get a 30 day free trial of Trackado.

How to effectively manage your contract renewals

Navigating the intricate world of business contracts can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to managing their renewal. However, for small and medium businesses, ensuring a seamless contract renewal process is vital for maintaining strong partnerships and sustaining operational success.

A recent study found that efficient contract management can improve profitability by up to 9% of annual revenue. This statistic highlights the significant impact that a well-managed contract renewal process can have on a business’s bottom line. Let’s delve into the art of simplifying contract renewals and discover how to make the process hassle-free and effective for businesses of all sizes.

What are contract renewals?

Contract renewals are all about extending or reevaluating an existing contract before it runs its course. These renewals let both parties reconfirm their commitments and, if needed, tweak the terms to stay up to date with changing business dynamics.

The contract renewal date signifies the point at which an existing contract’s terms and obligations are due to be extended, renegotiated, or terminated. Usually, if no action is taken, the contract automatically renews on this date, which lets your business relationship continue without interruptions, allowing for a seamless transition into the next contractual term. But, without reminders, an automatic renewal can also cause you to miss reviewing and updating the terms, which can result in outdated terms or missed opportunities for improvements.

Why SMBs need a solid contract renewal strategy

For small and medium businesses, every penny counts. Having a structured contract renewal strategy is crucial for gaining financial control over your business. We all know how expensive it is when a contract that no longer serves you automatically is renewed, and you’re stuck with it for another year or two…

This is a common struggle within small and medium businesses, where signed contracts usually end up in a private email folder, an excel document or sometimes even stored in a paper cabinet. When you don’t have a clear overview of all your contracts it is hard to keep track of when they will be renewed.

Staying on top of your contracts, with a structured and well-thought-out strategy, will not only prevent you from overlooking renewal dates, but it will also keep your partnerships intact, help you adapt to market changes, help you optimize your budget and streamline your operations.

Let’s break down the process into 6 simple steps that will make your contract renewals a breeze:

6 key steps for implementing a successful contract renewal strategy

1. Early evaluation and planning:

– Don’t wait until the last minute! Start the renewal process well before your contract’s expiration date.

– Evaluate the performance of the current contract, identifying its strengths and areas for improvement.

– Plan for potential negotiation points, considering market trends and your and your partner’s changing needs.

2. Clear communication:

– Communication is key! Foster open communication with the other party, and make sure everyone’s on the same page.

– Look for opportunities to grow together and find common ground during the renewal discussions.

3. Review and revamp you contracts:

– Take a deep dive into your existing contracts, focusing on any outdated or confusing terms.

– Suggest necessary changes to fill any gaps or address any new challenges that have cropped up.

– Ensure that the revised terms reflect the current market dynamics and the evolving needs of both parties.

4. Negotiation and agreement:

– Approach negotiations with a positive mindset, aiming for solutions that work for both sides.

– Be flexible and willing to compromise, but always keep your business relationship goals in sight.

– Reach an agreement that aligns with your long-term goals and values of all the involved stakeholders.

5. Document and follow-up:

– Document all agreed-upon terms and conditions by writing in simple, clear terms that everyone understands to avoid misunderstandings in the future.

– Ensure that all parties involved understand and acknowledge the finalized contract terms.

6. Manage your contracts in a centralized system

– Store all your contracts in one centralized repository.

– Get reminders of upcoming renewal dates so you won’t end up with a contract renewal that you don’t want.

– Make sure all relevant stakeholders can get notified of any changes to the contracts.

– See spend- and revenue potential and committed spend which allows for better financial planning, improved decision-making, and more effective risk management.

Manage contract renewals in Trackado

Contract renewals don’t have to be a headache. By following these 6 steps you’ll create a smooth strategy for contract renewals, where you can navigate the process effectively, build sustainable partnerships and long-term success in an ever-evolving business landscape.

In order to excel at your strategy, you’ll need a centralized system for managing your contracts. That’s where Trackado comes into the picture!

Trackado is specifically designed to meet the needs and wants of SMBs, where you can gather workflows, use e-signing, have a structured storage for all your contracts in a centralized repository and get automatic reminders when your contracts are about to expire. All in one tool to help you get full control of your contracts.

Trackado offers Software-as-a-Service, which means there is no installation, set up or configuration required. All you have to do is choose a pricing plan that suits your needs and get started managing your contracts!

Our pricing plans.

30 days free trial.

Check out our product tour!