Why Electronic Signatures?
More business transactions are being done online than ever before. That means speed, efficiency and low cost in executing these transactions become top priorities for market participants. The corporate services industry is very document-centric. Therefore, paper-based document creation and management is a huge barrier to smooth, and efficient operation of this industry. That’s why progressive businesses choose the flexibility of electronic documents. However, without electronic signatures, the full benefits of electronic documents can not be realized.
Electronic signature involves creating a secure and accurate identification method for the signatory. The identification information is logically associated with other data in electronic form and used to “sign” a document. An actual e-signature can take any of several forms: clicking an “Accept” button on a website; inserting an electronic facsimile or scan of physical signature on the electronic document; signing using a touchscreen and stylus; or agreeing to the terms and conditions by means of electronic communication, such as email.
This flexibility in the execution methods enables businesses to match the method that best meets the needs of their customers. The end result is an expeditious, seamless, and efficient document signing process, saving enormous time and money for the company and simplifying life for its clients, employees and partners. Therefore, it is no surprise that e-signatures are rapidly being adopted across the globe as the figure below shows.
E-signatures in Singapore
In Singapore, electronic transactions and maintenance of electronic records are fully approved and actively promoted by the government. Singapore was one of the first countries in the world to enact the legal framework for electronic and digital signatures. It did so by passing the Singapore’s Electronic Transactions Act (ETA) in 1998. Singapore was also the first country to adopt the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce. The ETA was amended in 2010 to bring the law in line with the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts. The revised ETA governs all digital services such as e-commerce, electronic records, electronic contracts, signatures, etc. and recognises electronic and digital signatures as having the same legal status as written signatures. However, the Act states that, to be treated as a secure signature, the electronic signature should be:
- Unique to the person using it;
- Capable of identifying the person;
- Under the sole control of the person using it; and
- Linked to the electronic record to which it relates in a manner such that if the record were changed the electronic signature would be invalidated.
E-signatures on CorporateServices.com
CorporateServices.com’s Corporate Services Platform (CSP) is a revolutionary software platform that is designed to simplify the incorporation and compliance of your Singapore company. Striving to deliver superior service for a lower cost, we integrated e-signature capabilities as a core feature of our innovative and easy-to-use platform. CSP intelligently coordinates all tasks related to your company’s incorporation, compliance, immigration, accounting, payroll, tax filings, licenses and other regulatory issues between your company’s stakeholders, our corporate services team, and government services. Wherever signatures are required in any task, the platform automatically obtains e-signatures from the right person. Participants simple click on the right buttons, the platform does the rest.
Let’s say you’re incorporating a new Singapore company through CSP. Before incorporation, directors, shareholders, and officers need to sign a series of documents, including the company constitution, consent of directors, service agreement, engagement letter, etc. Here’s how it works:
- First, you will be asked to provide details for all the key persons associated with your company, such as the directors, shareholders and officers. As part of this information, you will also provide an email address for each person. This is the email address that will be used for coordinating the electronic signatures.
- The CSP system will automatically generate all necessary documents and assemble them into a single “electronic envelope.” Our staff will review and verify the document set.
- Once you approve the document drafts, CSP will obtain e-signatures from the appropriate signatories. All individuals who are required to sign the document set will receive the following emails:
- If the identity of the signatory has not yet been verified on CSP, the signatory will receive an email containing instructions for Identity Verification. These instructions will direct the individual to participate in a video call with our staff, during which the person will be asked to show the identification document and the address proof document submitted for them as part of the application. A staff member must be able to confirm that the individual is the same person as shown on the identification document. Once the individual has completed the verification, they can proceed with signing the documents. Verification is required only once.
- If the identity of the signatory has been previously verified, the signatory will receive an email with instructions for signing the documents and a private link for the signatory to sign the document electronically.
- The actual electronic signature process is very simple and easy to use. The signatory will see and review the documents that are to be signed. When (s)he is ready to sign, click “Start” to begin signing.
- The signatory will be able to choose a signature from the proposed options or draw his or her own signature. After that, (s)he simply clicks a button wherever a signature is required.
- The system will automatically guide to all signature locations and will notify the signatory if any have been missed. It is a very smooth and 100% accurate document signing process.
A paperless document flow and storage architecture allows CorporateServices.com to provide fast, reliable and cost-effective service for our clients. E-signatures are an integral feature of our system. Free yourself from unnecessary time loss, manual processing errors, scanning/printing hassles, and mailing costs. Now you can easily create, review and sign all your company documents, and statutory registers electronically – anywhere, anytime.
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