Many businesses keep paper only for the signatures

For many businesses out there, having a signature is the only reason they keep stacks of paper around, a new report suggests.

According to information management analysts AIIM, 56 per cent of business executives are holding tight to signatures on paper for contracts and order forms, and 31 per cent of respondents agree their paper documents are around only for the signatures.

With the proper organisation of e-signatures, that might all change. Instead, when the new EU eIDAS regulations come into force on July 1 2016, things might only get worse. The regulations aim to bring more clarity into e-signatures and end over-regulations, but different countries have different views on the matter, only adding to the confusion.

That's why AIIM is launching a whitepaper with Kofax from Lexmark. The paper, E-Signatures in Europe: Understanding the legal requirements for proof of intent, aims to bring clarity to eIDAS and what it means for busiensses.

“Keeping paper files because of a mis-guided belief that signatures are required for compliance needs to be addressed, but the different legislation across the EU has been confusing for multinational organisations,” said Bob Larrivee, Chief Analyst at AIIM. “eIDAS serves as the functional requirement for businesses seeking to implement E-Signature technology, with a comfort level that if the solution they choose complies with eIDAS, it complies with the regulations of any EU member country.”

The benefits of electronic signatures are obvious. Not only will it save businesses money and space on paper, but will also help them achieve a much better customer experience. The key here, according to AIIM, is to understand which type of e-signature must be used for compliance reasons.

“eIDAS addresses these requirements head-on, coming with streamlining of E-Signing terminology and making it easier for businesses to identify those elements of E-Signature use relevant to their business goals and practices,” said Bob Larrivee, AIIM. “E-Signatures are just one way of reducing paper in business processes, and we hope that our white paper can bring welcome clarity to eIDAS, and that World Paper Free Day 2016 can bring paper reduction to even greater prominence.”