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August 20, 2014 | Accounting Tech | Posted by Adam Bobay Adam Bobay

The 6 Best E-Signature Solutions for Accountants

E-Signature platforms have made our lives easier, but with so many options available now it’s difficult to identify the best ones out there. In an attempt to make the over-complicated and cluttered tax process a little bit easier, on March 22nd, 2014, the IRS announced their acceptance of E-Signatures on Forms 8878 and 8879.

For standard preparers, this is an awesome feature and already integrated with the online forms. For financial service companies there’s a catch. The IRS released an outline of requirements for software providers in order to serve their clients.

Because of this, we have received a number of questions about how to choose the right e-signature platform. The Sqrl team has compiled several options for you to find the service which suits your accounting firm the best. Below are our 6 best e-signature solutions for accountants.

*All ESIGN Act Compliant
 

1) CPA Safesign (By CPAperless)

About: CPAperless as a company builds their software for accountants, it’s obvious why they made their way to the top of our list. Different from all the other platforms here, their claim to fame is the integration with Microsoft Outlook as an Outlook Plugin. Within this plugin, users can create, upload, view, manage, assign signatures to team members and even send reminders for outstanding signatures. The integration with Outlook is seamless and non-intrusive, saving time and headaches.

Features:
Signatures Supported:
Digital Certificate (PKI) Signature
Electronic Signature Pad Capture
Handwritten Mouse Signature
Standard Scripted (Typed) Signature
Multiple Signers
Signer Instructions

Document Signing:
iPad Tablet Signing
iPhone Mobile Signing
Automated Reminders to pending
Signature Placement within Outlook

Document Sending:
Outlook Plugin
Mail Merge & Batch Processing Automation
Instant Document Preview
Document signing instructions
Secure Identity Protection
Upload PDF, DOC, DOCX, XLS
+ Drag and Drop

Document Management:
Administrator Access Privileges
Document Signing Notifications
Custom reports
Client to Partner Assignments
Filtering of Documents Near Expiration
Filter and Manage Reports
PDF Download

Price: Free Trial | $2.25/document | $90/user for 10-24 users per year

Bottom line: CPA Safesign is a system made for Accountants and tailored towards the needs of firms of any size, at an affordable price.
 

2) Docusign

About: This San Francisco-based company that has morphed into the all around, go-to platform for web signatures. Starting as a Microsoft Word Plugin named “DocuTouch,” they have adapted to the ever changing e-signature landscape. Their impressive client base involves the Federal Credit Union, PayPal, LinkedIn, and Expedia among others. In the accounting field, their recent partnership with Equifax simplified the electronic delivery of the Request for Transcript of Tax Return form 4506-T for the IRS.

Features:
Signatures Supported:
Electronic Signature Pad Capture
Handwritten Mouse Signature
Standard Scripted (Typed) Signature
Stored Signature Image

Document Signing:
Document Overview for Signers
iPad Tablet Signing
iPhone Mobile Signing

Document Sending:
Expiration Dates
Instant Document Preview
iPad In-Person Signing App
Non-Signer CC Parties
Upload PDF, DOC, DOCX, XLS

Document Management:
Administrator Access Privileges
Document Signing Notifications
Document Viewing Notifications
Edit Document After Sending
Send Email Reminders to Signers
Unlimited Secure Storage

Price: Free Trial | Starting package is $10 / User / Month | Up to $30 / User / Month

Bottom Line: A product that is used by the IRS is obviously good enough to use for the IRS.
 

3) E-SignLive

About: Created by Silanis, E-SignLive processes over 600 million documents every year, more than any other e-signature platform. Silanis started in 1992 (before e-signatures existed), where they aimed to automate and streamline repetitive business transactions. Their e-signature platform takes that ideology and gives users an easy to use process, saving time and money. E-SignLive is used by 40% of the top 20 North American banks, 53% of the top U.S. Insurers, and the United States Army. It has the ability to integrate with your current core system or web portal in order to allow seamless end to end processing.

Features:
Signatures Supported:
Digital Certificate (PKI) Signature
Electronic Signature Pad Capture
Handwritten Mouse Signature
Standard Scripted (Typed) Signature
Stored Signature Image

Document Signing:
Custom Logo Branding
Document Overview for Signers
Handwritten Signature Default
iPad Tablet Signing
iPhone Mobile Signing
Optional Attachments Uploaded by Signers
Percentage Progress Meter
Realtime Instruction Bar
Tooltips on Text Fields
Unlimited Fax-Back Signing
Webcam Signature Photo

Document Sending:
Address Book
Bulk Signing
Custom Branded Emails
Expiration Dates
Instant Document Preview
iPad In-Person Signing App
Multiple Signers
Non-Signer CC Parties
Signer Sequencing
Upload PDF, DOC, DOCX, XLS

Document Management:
Administrator Access Privileges
Bounced Email Notifications
Correct Bounced Email Address
Disable Unsigned Documents
Document Signing Notifications
Document Viewing Notifications
Edit Document After Sending
Filtering of Documents Near Expiration
Markup/Negotiation Tools
Multi-User Accounts
PDF Download
Realtime Activity Feed
Send Email Reminders to Signers
Two-Factor Tags
Unlimited Secure Storage

Price: Free Trial | Pricing begins with the Professional package at $240 / User / Year

Bottom Line: A great platform with an easy to use (and learn) interface, price is higher than competitors however.

 

4) Right Signature

About: A web application aimed at any type of firm, solo to enterprise. Allowing users to sign their documents with just their mouse, it’s an easy way to seamlessly get documents signed quickly and efficiently. As if that’s not enough, they won Best of Show at VentureNet for their intuitive interface that allows you to upload a document and enter the recipient information in less than a minute. Need we say more?

Features:
Signatures Supported:
Electronic Signature Pad Capture
Handwritten Mouse Signature
Standard Scripted (Typed) Signature
Stored Signature Image

Document Signing:
Custom Logo Branding
Document Overview for Signers
Handwritten Signature Default
iPad Tablet Signing
iPhone Mobile Signing
Optional Attachments Uploaded by Signers
Percentage Progress Meter
Realtime Instruction Bar
Tooltips on Text Fields
Unlimited Fax-Back Signing
Webcam Signature Photo

Document Sending:
Address Book
Bulk Signing
Custom Branded Emails
Expiration Dates
Instant Document Preview
iPad In-Person Signing App
Multiple Signers
Non-Signer CC Parties
Signer Sequencing
Upload PDF, DOC, DOCX, XLS

Document Management:
Administrator Access Privileges
Bounced Email Notifications
Correct Bounced Email Address
Disable Unsigned Documents
Document Signing Notifications
Document Viewing Notifications
Filtering of Documents Near Expiration
Multi-User Accounts
PDF Download
Realtime Activity Feed
Send Email Reminders to Signers
Two-Factor Tags
Unlimited Secure Storage

Price: Free Trial | Personal: $14 | Small Business: $49 | Enterprise: $199

Bottom Line: As a growing company seeking opportunity, they were the first to offer signing with your finger. Thus, we expect them to keep an eye towards innovation.
 

5) Adobe EchoSign

About: Where would we be without PDF’s? With Adobe’s EchoSign, you’re able to send, track, and sign on the go (smartphone or tablet) as well as on any web browser. All with the same security strength we expect from Adobe on their cloud platform. It’s incredibly easy to use (especially for the frequent PDF’er) with no download or signing up, integrated with PDF, Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint among others. You can measure performance with real time alerts, customized reports. Adobe also gives you the ability to compare your company with peer companies in regards to performance.

Features:
Signatures Supported:
Digital Certificate (PKI) Signature
Electronic Signature Pad Capture
Handwritten Mouse Signature
Standard Scripted (Typed) Signature
Stored Signature Image

Document Signing:
Custom Logo Branding
Document Overview for Signers
Handwritten Signature Default
iPad Tablet Signing
iPhone Mobile Signing
Optional Attachments Uploaded by Signers
Realtime Instruction Bar
Tooltips on Text Fields
Unlimited Fax-Back Signing

Document Sending:
Address Book
Bulk Signing
Custom Branded Emails
Expiration Dates
Instant Document Preview
iPad In-Person Signing App
Multiple Signers
Non-Signer CC Parties
Signer Sequencing
Upload PDF, DOC, DOCX, XLS

Document Management:
Administrator Access Privileges
Document Signing Notifications
Document Viewing Notifications
Filtering of Documents Near Expiration
Multi-User Accounts
PDF Download
Realtime Activity Feed
Send Email Reminders to Signers

Price: Free Trial | Personal: $14.95/month | Multi: $19.95/month/user

Bottom Line: EchoSign gives you the most bang for your buck with the features they offer.
 

6) Signix

About: Signix gives you an incredible user experience with a crisp platform design that’s actually appealing to look at. So crisp that AIG and Allstate are among their impressive user base. If pulled into a courthouse, the highly detailed logs and documents that are kept for years (“even centuries” according to their website), make for a solid defense. They also meet international standards for document signatures and offer a strong security at every stage of the signature process.

Features:
Signatures Supported:
Electronic Signature Pad Capture
Handwritten Mouse Signature
Standard Scripted (Typed) Signature
Stored Signature Image

Document Signing:
Custom Logo Branding
Document Overview for Signers
Handwritten Signature Default
iPad Tablet Signing
iPhone Mobile Signing
Percentage Progress Meter
Realtime Instruction Bar

Document Sending:
Bulk Signing
Custom Branded Emails
Expiration Dates
Instant Document Preview
iPad In-Person Signing App
Multiple Signers
Non-Signer CC Parties
Signer Sequencing
Upload PDF, DOC, DOCX, XLS

Document Management:
Administrator Access Privileges
Correct Bounced Email Address
Disable Unsigned Documents
Document Signing Notifications
Document Viewing Notifications
Edit Document After Sending
Multi-User Accounts
PDF Download
Realtime Activity Feed
Send Email Reminders to Signers
Two-Factor Tags
Unlimited Secure Storage

Price: $9.95 / User / Month with packages ranging up from there

Bottom line: “The SIGNiX platform establishes a trustworthy process for binding the identity of an individual to a digital signature. This is crucially important.”
—Timothy Reiniger, lawyer and member of the Electronic Discovery and Digital Evidence Committee of the American Bar Association
 

Were these helpful? Skipped over any ones you were looking to hear about? Let us know in the comments below.

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Written by

Adam Bobay

Adam Bobay

Adam is a marketing intern at Sqrl. He's a curiosity enthusiast and never turns down a challenge. He also enjoys tinkering with DIY projects, all things video and photography, and the occasional daily donut.

  • http://www.hbaencompass.com.au Victoria Berry

    Thanks Adam. You guys must be psychic – I have been looking into this in the last week and your comparisons are going to make my life easier!

  • http://aweeksworth.net/ Caleb Weeks

    Hi Adam – one newcomer for all owners of WordPress sites is WP Digital E-Signature by Kevin Gray and the guys over at ApproveMe (http://www.approveme.me/wp-digital-e-signature/). They are launching publicly this Saturday (9/6/14).

    They’ve got a video on their site which introduces everything. Keep an eye out on their pricing, too, because I think it includes Unlimited Documents and Signers with no monthly fee.

    Again, this is all brand new and I am just a customer like you (not affiliated, etc.). But since your post caught my eye, I imagine it would catch others and WP Digital E-Signature may be a welcomed addition to the list when it launches at the end of the week.

    Thanks again for the post!

  • Marco

    I’m a real estate agent. Have been using digital signature software for a while now. Recently switch over to http://www.SkySignature.com due to their lowered costs. They all all the features I need, very easy to get started with.

  • Brock Graham

    Helpful piece , I loved the points . Does someone know if my assistant would be able to access a template a form version to use ?