2020 pointed out that businesses that are comfortable in the digital space can respond more flexibly to the challenges affecting their operations, more easily reorganize their processes, and adapt them to new circumstances. One of the great facilitations in digital procedures is electronic signature. This article is part of a multi-part series in which we would like to present the types of electronic signatures and the arguments for them, as there is a growing need to be able to place a handwriting on a document without a personal presence, even from the signatory’s home.

Electronic signature is essentially a data assigned to an electronic document (e.g. PDF, Excel, file) which proves the authenticity of the document, as well as identifies the person who signed it. The resulting signature is a secure, multi-component code sequence that is difficult to tamper with. In addition, unlike a traditional signature, it is tied not only to the person signing, but also to the content of the document. After the document has been electronically signed, not only the signature, but also the content of the document cannot be modified, the same can often be provided only with additional tasks in the case of multi-page, paper-based documents (e.g. binding and stamping).

The use of electronic signatures speeds up, for example, contracting processes, certificates of completion, individual orders, and labour processes. While, for example, in the case of a traditional signature, the parties have to arrange a meeting or send copies due to the signing of a bilateral legal declaration, the electronic way does not require organization, it can be done at any time with just a few clicks, thus the document can be used before the authorities within a few hours.

With an electronic signature, processes can be made completely paperless. This protects the environment and saves us the costs of storing countless paper-based documents in multiple copies. Of course, documents with an electronic signature must also be kept until the end of the statutory retention periods, but electronic storage is simpler, more transparent and significantly more cost-effective.

It is also important that processes become more transparent with the use of electronic signature. A further advantage is that the suitability of a document to produce legal effect (merely because of its electronic form) cannot be questioned at all.

Depending on the procedure in which the company wants to use the e-document, it is important to be aware of the differences between the signatures, attestations and certificates. In the following parts of the article series, we will present these aspects.