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The Tools You Need to Sign Documents Electronically

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Many mobile service workers are now armed with smartphones and tablets, removing the need to carry around paper documents. However, for some of these professionals, the need to have a signature on certain documents has presented a roadblock to becoming completely paperless.

Technology has made it possible for mobile service professionals to easily capture signatures on the devices they already have. All they need are a few tools, many of which can be acquired for free or a minimal charge.

Hardware

Many mobile service workers choose to use existing smartphones or tablets, since keeping up with an additional device can be a nuisance. But if a professional must purchase a new device, inexpensive tablets are available that help with the completion of paperwork. One thing to consider when purchasing a new device is whether current technologies you are using or apps / software you want to use are available and compatible with the device you purchase.

In addition to a smartphone or tablet, many workers in the field find a stylus handy. Customers can sign documents using a finger, but a stylus provides a signature much closer to that achieved by a pen on paper. Additionally, a stylus also helps when pointing out items on an electronic document or just navigating through various screens.

Software

There are an unlimited number of apps for capturing and storing digital signatures, with many built into the apps businesses already use. Devices that hold Adobe Reader’s mobile app can utilize the software’s built-in signature capabilities, which are now included with the free versions of Adobe Reader.

Before deploying signature capabilities, businesses should fully test the feature to work out any bugs. Software is now available that will allow contracts to pull in information from a business’s CRM and pre-populate contracts, cutting out the need to type in information for each contract. By having information completed in advance, you’ll be able to speed up your time at each job, allowing you to squeeze in more stops in a given day.

Electronic signatures are helping mobile service workers remove paperwork from their daily workload. Rather than wasting valuable time printing and turning in documents, which then have to be logged and filed, mobile service workers can submit and store signed documents digitally. This is not only good for a business’s expense budget, it also is an environmentally-friendly way to run a business.

IMAGE: Getty
Last updated: Feb 24, 2014

RAMON RAY | Columnist

Editor and technology evangelist at Smallbiztechnology.com, which covers technology trends for small business. His latest book is the Amazon.com best-seller Facebook Guide to Small Business Marketing.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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