Understanding the terms of an agreement between two parties has always been an important part of how we do business. In fact, business and contracts have always come hand in hand. The first ever written document is a form of contract. But as times have changed, and the world has moved to digital devices, it was only natural for the way we negotiate, send, and sign contracts to change too.
Digitally created contracts and e-signatures are becoming the new norm as more businesses are moving towards paperless and remote working, in order to ensure they promote efficient contract management and remain ahead of the curve. While some businesses are holding back from adopting e-signatures for their agreements, it cannot be denied that legal technology at this level can improve efficiency and reduce legal drag.
What is an e-signature?
An electronic or e-signature is a visible representation of a person’s name or mark signalling their assent to a document. Different from a digital signature, which is a symbol or mark that guarantees an electronic document is authentic, an e-signature holds equivalent weight and is as binding on a digital contract as a handwritten signature is on a paper contract.
So, how do e-signatures work - are they valid?
In short, yes. E-signatures have been recognised in Australia by law since the Electronic Transactions Act, 1999. The Act in the Commonwealth, States and Territories of Australia confirms that as long as certain requirements are met, and relevant exceptions do not apply, electronic documents and signatures are valid and enforceable documents.
Standard Electronic Signatures (SES) are typically appropriate for:
· HR documents
· Commercial agreements
· Consumer agreements
· Real estate documents
Plexus Gateway and DocuSign®
Plexus Gateway is the world’s most advanced legal operating system. The platform’s features enable in-house legal teams and their broader business functions to drive efficiency and competitive advantage. Plexus Gateway’s modules allow the user to create, negotiate and execute agreements completely through the platform.
Plexus has partnered with DocuSign® to integrate our globally-adopted legal automation and workflow management platform with their secure and trusted signatory brand to complete the contract execution workflow. This perfect partnership gives in-house lawyers the tools they should have always had to get the job done.
How to use Plexus Gateway with DocuSign® integration
Plexus Gateway's Approve and Sign tool comes inbuilt with DocuSign® integration. This allows business users to upload their contracts, assign approvers and signatories, and send agreements to their counterparty for execution.
As a bonus, Plexus Gateway enables users to set fully configurable reminders so they never miss a contract expiry or renewal. When Lawyers can get ahead of the renewal process, they can prevent loss of revenue or clients or loss of support or service from suppliers.
All signed contracts are then stored within Plexus Gateway, giving the business a single source of truth, plus a full audit trail.
What does the counterparty see when I send them a document for e-signature?
Your counterparty will receive an email from Plexus Gateway. They simply click the green Review and Sign button and follow the prompt to enter the Counterparty Portal.
Your counterparty will be taken to a secure, ring-fenced area, allowing the signer to view the document. They are then able to Sign the document via DocuSign® or Decline the document and add comments as a response.