Electronic signing is familiar territory for most accountancy firms in the Benelux or it is an important item on the agenda. With the electronic signature, accountants and tax specialists can obtain necessary signatures faster than ever, while still meeting strict legal requirements. Such a solution can be used for filing annual accounts as well as getting engagement confirmations, tax returns, HR documents and nondisclosure agreements signed.
Accountants digitally sign their documents with the advanced and qualified signature. During the signing process, electronic data is used to record the name and e-mail address of the signatory as well as the time and date of signature. In addition, a document is sealed when all the necessary signatures have been placed.
As a result, the electronic version also remains unchanged and you obtain the required signatures within a few minutes instead of days or weeks. However, there are a number of other ways to take the security and ease of use of electronic signature to the highest level. In this blog I explain the three most important ways.
From approval to digital signature
As mentioned, the two electronic signatures mentioned above are legally valid and just as secure or in some situations more secure than the wet signature. Nevertheless, there are still accountants who, despite the fact that they already sign digitally, still just need to approve some types of documents. An accountant can first of all eliminate the approval of his or her documents to enhance the security and thereby the ease of use of the electronic signature.
When approving a document, you depend on a log file in a third application for the burden of proof. You are dealing with a so-called vendor lock-in. In this case, a vendor lock-in makes the accountant and his customer dependent on the portal in which the approval is given. This is especially cumbersome for the customer because he or she cannot view the approved document afterwards, independently of this platform.
By having every document to be signed go through your digital signing platform, you can sign every document (or have it signed) on the basis of a low-threshold signature request via email, without having to provide customers with login details. In addition, the signed document is delivered as a PDF with the document of proof and you can have the documents validated independently of the signing platform. This is therefore not only more accessible than approval, it also ensures a safe and legally valid document.
Identification and Authentication
An important part of the electronic signature process is the verification of the identity of the signatories, which takes place prior to signing. When it comes to internal signers, this can of course be arranged quickly and securely, but how do you verify the identity of customers before a signature? An accountant can do this by doing face-to-face identity verification on location, so that at a possible signing moment he or she can rely on only the email address and telephone number of the customer to verify his or her identity. You will therefore have to invite your customers to your office. Especially in a time like this, with the Covid-19 rules and the fact that you have to wear a mask, it is not the most efficient way to verify the identity of your customer. Therefore, the second way to take the security and user-friendliness of electronic signature to the highest level is “verify the identity of your external signers through an additional authentication method”.
An additional authentication method offers you as an accountant the opportunity to verify the identity of customers and other external signatories, based on certain factors. Most accountancy firms use e-mail and SMS authentication, as mentioned earlier, but the extra authentication method that goes just a little deeper is iDIN bank authentication. iDIN bank authentication allows the user to verify the identity of the signers based on his or her bank details.
After receiving a signing request, the customer is asked to log into his or her online bank account, the bank details are checked and immediately after the approval moment, the customer is redirected to the signing platform to digitally sign the documents to be signed. iDIN bank authentication can be integrated with ValidSign’s digital signing platform so that the signer is automatically forwarded from the signing platform to iDIN, without having to perform any additional actions. The verification process is greatly strengthened in this way in a user-friendly way.
We have arrived at the third, and also the last, way to take the security and user-friendliness of electronic signature to the highest level. This method is mainly there to improve user-friendliness, but it certainly provides a bit of extra security within the signing process. By integrating the signing platform with your trusted CRM system, for example, you can load the document, send it out for signature and automatically archive it in the right place in the CRM system. With more than 150 integrations, the ValidSign signing solution can be seamlessly integrated into your trusted application. In this way, documents can be digitally signed, without having to leave the trusted platform. In addition, from that moment on, your organization will always have a compliant file, since the documents are automatically placed back in the right place within the CRM system.
Now that you know how, as an accountant, you can raise the security and ease of use of your electronic signature to the highest level, you can of course start today!
If you would like more information about ValidSign, iDIN bank authentication or an integration, please contact us by email to firstname.lastname@example.org