“Both our employees and customers are very enthusiastic about the digital signature. Every year, more than 12,000 documents are digitally signed with ValidSign within Accon avm”.
Accon avm is originally an agricultural cooperative. The accountancy firm was founded in 1917 by the parent company from Leeuwarden and quickly grew into a national, full-service consultancy and accountancy organization for SMEs. In 2017 Accon avm celebrated its 100th anniversary.
With approximately 1000 employees and more than 40 branches, Accon AVM is an accountancy firm of size. The organization has a large knowledge network in which location-independent working is central. This means that advisors are close anytime, anywhere. They like to come to the entrepreneur, digitally but certainly also on location.
Sustainability and innovation are of paramount importance and determine the success of Accon avm and its customers. Partly because of this, the organization chose ValidSign’s digital signature in 2016, as the first accounting firm. Documents no longer need to be printed and transported by post or courier. By greatly reducing printing, paper consumption fell by about 20% every year until 2020.
Easy and fast
ValidSign was broadly deployed within the organization immediately after its extradition to digitally accelerate various signing processes. Accon avm started digitally signing documents that need to be signed by the customer, because mainly these processes took a lot of time. Anita van Gelder, Director ict and facility at Accon avm says: “Several parties regularly have to sign, for example a partnership where there are several shareholders who are not all present at the same location at the same time. It could take weeks for documents such as declarations, agreements and financial statements to be signed. With validsign’s user-friendly solution, the document is completed within 15 minutes as a way of”.
In addition to making the organization more sustainable and accelerating various business processes, the digital signature also contributes to the high-quality services that the organization provides. “Customers regularly indicate that digital signing is so much easier than on paper. The customer no longer has to walk to the mailbox or wait for the other signatories to sign. She now receives all documents in a bundled email and the documents are available for inspection and download via the same link immediately after signing,” says van Gelder.
ValidSign is used for more than 90% of the processes where signing takes place. Every year, more than 12,000 documents are digitally signed with ValidSign within Accon avm. In order to make the signing process even more streamlined, Accon avm has been working with validsign’s AFAS connector since April 2021. The link allows users to submit documents for signing in AFAS. Any process that requires signing can be monitored from A to Z in the system. Van Gelder says: “By using ValidSign from AFAS CRM, we are taking the final step in our digitization process. The fact that I can select contacts in AFAS for each signature and signed documents are archived directly in the right place in AFAS is very useful”. Only one-sided signings are occasionally done the old-fashioned way. The organization strives to digitally sign these documents in the near future and to help persuade the last colleagues to sign digitally.
To make it even easier for our users, we want to make the steps of signing and sending documents as visual as possible. To achieve this we have made handy Reference Cards with simple steps to quickly reach your goal. If you still have any questions, our support team is of course always there for you.
Would you also like to use our Reference Cards to make signing easier for your customers? Please send an email to email@example.com.
We are continuously improving and expanding our solution to provide the best possible service to our customers. As an integration specialist, we develop new integrations every quarter and the Google Docs add-on is one of them. From July 1, all ValidSign users can sign their documents directly in the Google Docs environment, without having to leave the platform. With the integration it is possible to log in to ValidSign within the Google Docs environment. You draft a document in Google Docs, select the signers and prepare the document for signature. The integration speeds up the signing process and eases the steps.
The Google Docs add-on has more interesting functionalities. The connector supports text tags and templates, so you don’t have to decide where to place a signature every time. The text tag is simply a typed piece of code that recognizes the signing solution and sees that a signature of, for example, the first signer must be placed. In addition, you can choose who has to sign, just you, you and others or just others. As usual, you can also determine the signing order right away.
Would you like to know more about this integration and what it will bring to your organization? We regularly organize webinars for the Google Docs add-on, among others. You can also immediately try the add-on, with the instructions you can read how to install and use the add-on.
If you have any other questions, you can always contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Informed Group, the leading service provider in the field of information management and high-end consultancy, has entered into a partnership with ValidSign, market leader in the Benelux for digital signing. Both organizations pool their knowledge and expertise to make their solutions even more powerful. In this way they can serve customers better.
Especially now that we are at home a lot, it is difficult to obtain a wet signature when you have several signatories. It must be printed and the document must be physically sent to the sign authorised. And then be scanned correctly. You’re going to have to go to the office anyway. Thanks to the collaboration between Informed Group and ValidSign, that is a thing of the past. Also for the documents that are full of business critical information and intellectual property. It now goes on completely digitally at once, without trips in the work process to other systems. Whether you work in the office or at home. A piece of cake.
With the conclusion of this partnership, the integration between ValidSign and several core applications of Informed Group is realized. It is now possible to digitally sign place-time and device independently within the EIM platform Documentum. In the near future, Informed Group will enable digital signing of documents from almost all EIM platforms via the OutSystems Low-code platform. Efficiency and convenience are central to this collaboration.
Efficiency and convenience
Jeroen Jansen, founder/CEO at Informed Group: “For many of our customers, signing documents is just that one hitch in the digital cable. Documents are often printed and sent to the signatory or presented for signature in some other way outside the secure systems. With ValidSign, customers with digital and online signing save a lot of time and sensitive information remains within the secure environment. Documents can be viewed and signed digitally at the signer’s convenience and on a device of their choice. “
John Lageman, director at ValidSign: “Legally valid digital signing with ValidSign offers enormous benefits for organizations as well as their end customers and suppliers. With our signing platform in combination with the software that Informed Group supplies such as Documentum, we can serve our customers even better.”
ValidSign’s digital signature solution accelerates business processes by automating signing. Digital signing of an agreement is done through a secure environment and is fully legally valid. ValidSign is the market leader in the field of digital signatures in the Benelux and more than 1400 organizations currently sign their documents with ValidSign. The ValidSign platform is an Enterprise solution that integrates with more than 150 applications so that the signed documents are immediately archived in the right place. By deploying ValidSign, sign errors are reduced and the legal and compliance position strengthened. The solution allows documents from any mobile device to be digitally signed by multiple people. This saves a considerable amount of time. More information: https://www.validsign.nl.
About Informed Group
Informed Group is the leading service provider in the field of low-code information management and high-end consultancy. She helps her clients to digitally transform their organization and markets in a successful way. They do this by providing advanced solutions and services in the field of Low-Code and EIM Content Services. Informed Group likes to challenge its relations to get maximum return from all available data. With its own Enterprise Information Management (EIM) solutions such as user-friendly interfaces, clear apps and efficient connections between systems, Informed Group realizes a working environment that is flexible, secure and logical for its customers and the users of this environment.
Attika Boonzaaijer, Marketing Manager at ValidSign tel, 06-33106842
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 email@example.com
Signatures on paper or digitally? John Lageman, director of ValidSign, is convinced that the expiration date of the physical signature has expired. It is inefficient at a time when all information is digitally processed and stored. More than 1200 organizations use its ValidSign platform to sign electronically. Safe and trustworthy.
Many organizations digitize their processes, but forget to take the last step, is the experience of John Lageman of ValidSign. “They draw up their contracts digitally, whereby the intermediate steps are often controlled automatically. But where the entire process has been digitized, it often gets stuck at the last step.” The document is printed, signed, scanned and then emailed to the supplier or customer. “The process is far too cumbersome and you turn a digital original into a paper document.”
Besides being impractical, the process of printing the PDF and scanning it after signing is not secure. “A PDF is easy to edit, leaving the original signature of the sender underneath. Without you realizing it, you get another document back, with two signatures, in which the integrity of the agreement has been compromised on a number of crucial parts. ” He warns: “The adjustments will only become apparent if a conflict arises and you fall back on the signed contract.” The message Lageman gives: “Make sure that the digital contract remains digital and is signed electronically.”
ValidSign is specialized in the complete management of the signing process. Electronic signing takes place with certificate technology, where the sender/contractor adds the various internal and external signers to the contract. You can do this visible or invisible, with certificate technology. “It doesn’t matter whether one or twenty signatures are needed. The sender, the contract drafter, determines who can sign.” Checking the identity is an important additional assurance that the signatory is also the person you assume. He continues: “If you also make sure that the agreement complies with the open standards, you can archive the document digitally and open it in ten or fifty years.”
Identification, authentication and authorization are often used interchangeably, explains John Lageman. “When you identify yourself, it’s about who you are. Authentication is about checking whether you are really who you say you are. And then you can perform an authorization check. In doing so, you look at the authority from your role or position to act. What we use are the authentication methods to verify that the person on the other end is who he or she claims to be.” When signing, ValidSign assumes that identification has already taken place. “We check whether that is actually true, by means of authentication.”
ValidSign uses various secure means of identification, of which SMS, DigiD, eHerkenning and iDin are the most important. “We include that as part of the transaction.” For certain professional groups, authentication and control are extra important. For example, in the annual accounts and auditor’s report. “Those documents have to refer to eachother. We provide an electronic signature that we are sure has been signed by an accountant. We do this by using a so called professional certificate.”
ValidSign is a provider that ensures that the consensus between two or more parties is recorded. “We ensure that the document is honest and that the identity of the signatories is established. We facilitate transactions.” He mentions the Ymere housing association as an example, where the signing of leases is done with ValidSign. The landlord and tenant can easily sign and the contract is digitally signed and archived.
In a previous position, Lageman was involved in the modernization of the municipal database, the idea being that municipalities can convert the personal data with one click when moving house. “In fact, you don’t even have to, you have an administration for everyone.” It inspires him to dream of an electronic passport with which you can identify yourself and share personal data, so that you no longer have to create a profile at webshops and other organizations. “I actually do not want organizations to store my personal data. I would much rather give them the opportunity to use some of my personal data, such as the address details, without them being saved.”
Digital signing offers a double guarantee: you establish the identity of the signer and ensure the document integrity.
Lageman monitors the integrity of Validsign’s role as process monitor. He is an outspoken opponent of commercial parties also wanting to play a role as ‘trust partner’. “ValidSign is there to facilitate the transaction. Not for commercializing the data. Contracts that are completed will be removed from our environment after 90 days. “I don’t want anything to do with the content of the transaction. Ownership of this belongs to the customer himself.”
“We are there at the time of the transaction process. We facilitate with everything there is to complete the transaction properly and then we let it go. We provide an unambiguous way of signing or sealing information. We want to play a leading role in that. ValidSign is there at the time of the signing process, during the establishment and completion of the transaction, and no more after that. We place the burden of proof on the owner of the transaction.”