“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.
Stadgenoot is a housing corporation in Amsterdam and rents out thirty thousand social rental properties with an average rent of 500 euros per month. The housing corporation was formed in July 2008 from a merger between two Amsterdam housing corporations, the General Housing Association (AWV, founded in 1910) and Het Oosten (from 1911).
With more than 300 employees, spread over four business units of Stadgenoot, we can say that this is an organization of size. Two business units provide financial and public housing management: Finance & Operations and Strategy & Portfolio. The customer-oriented work is housed in the Customer & Home business unit. The real estate-oriented projects are at Vastgoed &Ontwikkeling.
Since the beginning of 2020, a large part of the organization has been signing digitally with validsign’s solution. The reason for the adjustment of the digital signature was the desire to be able to guarantee the security around the signing process and personal data perfectly. The wet variant has not been able to offer that guarantee at all times. Stadgenoot ended up at ValidSign through their ERP system supplier Aereon. Soon after the recommendation, a conversation with ValidSign was scheduled for a demonstration of the signing platform and discussing the possibilities for Stadgenoot. Ibrahim Hassan, functional administrator at Stadgenoot: “Finding a digital signature supplier is quite easy, but you rarely find a supplier who also identifies as a partner and always thinks along with the customer. We found this in ValidSign.”
Apart from two departments, ValidSign’s digital signature has now been rolled out throughout the organization. These two departments are currently taking the digital signature service from another supplier. These departments have been using this functionality for some time. In this way, each department applies a watertight security for signed documents and has insight into the signing process from A to Z. The organization has chosen to identify signers through a second-factor authentication. This SMS authentication ensures that in addition to email verification, the signer’s phone number is also verified to make sure it’s the right person. In addition, the IDIN authentication will be used. This way of identifying will mainly be used by our tenants. For example, when signing the leases.
A number of departments mainly use ValidSign for signing forms, assignments and/or contracts by external parties, where the finance department signs internal (out) payment orders.
Place and time independent
The current way of working due to the corona crisis has ensured that there is an increasing need for the digital way of signing. Ibrahim says: “Like the rest of the Netherlands at the beginning of 2020 and in an abrupt way, we were only allowed to work from home. Getting an autograph from your manager or director was a special task. We were forced to re-set up processes. For example, the signatories were not present on location or did not have their own printer. ValidSign allows us to independently sign place time and device”.
In addition to the fact that the solution guarantees the security of documents, the process is also accelerating. “The lead time of a signature in general has been significantly reduced because a number of actions no longer have to be carried out. Paper paperwork is less and employees have more time for other things. The ValidSign users within Stadgenoot are satisfied with the solution and were able to get started with it after an initial guidance, which is also co-organized by ValidSign without a fight.
Within now and a few weeks we expect the two departments that currently use the ValidSign functionality to be in use and many more documents per month will be digitally signed with ValidSign. In addition, ValidSign and Aereon are developing the integration between the ERP system Tobias AX and ValidSign so that Stadgenoot and other companies can start signing from the trusted ERP system. Once the integration is realized, several departments will use it. Ibrahim says: “The digital signature is indispensable in our processes and usage will only increase in the coming years. That is also why we like to work with ValidSign and Aareon to make integration even more future-proof. We like to invest time and effort in this, because we believe that we get a lot in return”.
The Radboud University Medical Center is an academic hospital in Nijmegen that is part of the Dutch Federation of University Medical Centres. More than 3,000 students from Radboud University are trained in medicine, nursing and biomedical sciences here. In addition, Radboudumc had 1065 beds and more than 10,000 employees in 2019. As a result of the corona crisis, the number of beds and staff has increased this year. In order to be of the best possible service to patients, a clear digitisation has taken place within the organisation. The university medical centre in Nijmegen is now working more digitally than ever before.
Shortened lead time of contracts
After conducting a market research, Radboudumc tendered to choose the right platform for digital signing. ValidSign won the tender at the end of January 2020. The primary reason for digital signing was to shorten the lead time of (labor) contracts. The signing process previously looked like this: the contract was printed, placed on the desk of the internal signer for a signature, after signing, the document was sent by post to the external signer and received back by post after signing. ValidSign eliminates both printing and mail shipping.
Marty van Asperen, project leader at Radboudumc: “The purchasing department signs about 250 documents per month. It could take several weeks for the signing process to be completed. For example, when an account manager closes a deal, he or she fails to complete the agreement immediately because he or she is not fully signed and managers first have to sign it for approval. ValidSign allows you to select multiple signers and set a sign order so that the required signatures can be in a few mouse clicks.”
Radboudumc has brought in the ValidSign’s solution to ultimately deploy it organisation-wide. Short lines and close cooperation between the two organisations is therefore crucial. “We were not only looking for a digital signing platform but also for a partner, and we found it in ValidSign. ValidSign is very involved in our roll-out process and supports us with tailor-made consultancy,” says van Asperen. The organization has allocated more than 6 months for the roll-out process so that the digital signature gradually lands within the organization. She uses the digital signature first to digitize the entire hiring process. More than 1000 employees receive their employment contract to sign through ValidSign. This action works both as a test for the end users and for the signers within the organization. both parties are enthusiastic about the user-friendly solution that allowed them to use it immediately after the delivery.
ValidSign in the future
The organisation is therefore still in its early stages when it comes to digital signing. Van Asperen: “At the moment, more than 350 contracts per month are signed digitally. HR employees sign just over 150 contracts every month. This will only increase as ValidSign’s digital signature solution creates the well-known snowball effect. Especially now that working from home has become the new normal. “
Govers is the specialist in accountancy, tax and business advice in the South of The Netherlands and will be working with ValidSign’s digital signature solution from the end of 2019. Since 1927, the organisation from Eindhoven has been striving to provide high-quality services to their customers. The team of 180 colleagues focuses on family businesses and the construction, food and high-tech (Brainport) sectors. She distinguishes herself from other accounting firms because of her business approach and the genuine interest in the story behind the figures of an organization. Govers has both local and international customers. As part of the international partnership UHY, Govers works for a large number of international organisations. UHY is a partnership of 320 independent offices in 100 countries.
Vlot en gestroomlijnd proces
After its own research, the organisation joined ValidSign in December 2019. Govers indicated that he was not entirely unfamiliar with the digital signature and had used a different sign platform for some time. This offered limited possibilities, which inhibited the organization in making a digitization battle. The large number of ValidSign functionalities gave the organization the decisive step to switch. At the time, the process was as follows: a document to be signed was drawn up in Word, printed and signed with the correct stationery, or sent to signatories by mail for signature. The signed document was manually archived upon receipt. Kachung Tau, Accountant at Govers Accountants explains: “With the previous signing solution, there were still too many steps to obtain the necessary signatures. Where the signing process used to take hours, it has now been arranged in a few clicks!” At the moment, the entire Govers assembly process is already being streamlined, including the contract confirmation, minutes and declaration of agreement for publication and tax return signed with ValidSign. “Until recently, colleagues regularly printed documents and then signed with the wet signature. With ValidSign, these people too cannot get around the digital signing of documents and the digital signature is used more broadly within the organization”, says Kachung.
In addition to accelerating different processes and reducing response time, the digital signature creates overview for Govers. Kachung says: “ValidSign ensures better control of document flows. The ValidSign dashboard gives a nice overview of the number of documents sent and (not yet) signed. In addition, it is possible to add multiple documents to a transaction, which has significantly reduced the number of transactions.”
The digital signature contributes to the high-quality service that the organisation provides. “Customers experience ValidSign’s digital signature as an additional service from Govers. The solution allows us to digitize in an accessible way, so that our loyal customers also dare to sign documents digitally,” says Kachung. Previously, the document was printed, signed, scanned, and mailed back to the next signer when multiple people within an organization had to sign the same document. ValidSign eliminates these steps and handles them in a single transaction. Kachung says: “The customer now receives all documents in a bundled mail and the documents are available for inspection immediately after signing and downloaded via the same link”.
With the right integrations, the solution can be used throughout the organization. “In addition to the auditor’s process, purchasing and HR processes could be digitized with the digital signature, says Kachung. In the coming year, Govers will digitize more and more processes in which the digital signature plays an important role. See all the business processes validsign can support.
As one of the 21 water boards in the Netherlands, the Riversland Water Board is governed by the mission “to ensure safe dikes and a balanced water system.” Waterschap Rivierenland operates in the provinces of Zuid-Holland, Gelderland, Noord-Brabant and Utrecht, from a centrally located office located in Tiel. The organisation takes care of various tasks in the field of water management including water quality and quantity, waterway management, flood defences and calamity care. Rivierenland Water Board chose ValidSign to optimize the signing process.
Since September of 2019 Waterschap Rivierenland has been using the digital signature of ValidSign. The reason for this was to optimise the process of signing several agreements in the department of Land Affairs. For the conclusion of agreements, the department is heavily dependent on external signatories who cannot sign at the same time and at the same location. Documents were prepared, printed out, placed in a folder, signed internally, sent to the customer by post, signed by the customer, returned, internally checked, the cover letter was added, re-signed internally and sent back again by a messenger. The lead time of this process was at least two weeks. Cindy Lelie, Land Affairs employee at Waterschap Rivierenland: ” With ValidSign, an agreement can be completed within an hour. All necessary steps are now successfully completed in a single action. There’s no longer need for a printer and the documents no longer have to be sent by post to contractors.”
In addition, ValidSign makes it possible to monitor transactions. The dashboard displays all transactions. Lely says: “I can see when and by whom the transaction was created. You can also monitor who has already signed his or her signature and who is still waiting. If a signature is delayed, the reminder functionality will be used and the signer will receive a request to sign the document.”
Shortly after the implementation, the employees were already able to use ValidSign and various business processes were accelerated by using the digital signature. At the moment, the solution is used to sign the user agreements including rent, lease, maintenance and loan agreements. “We stand for reliability and professionalism and we would like to express this. ValidSign contributes to this with the user-friendly platform,the beautifully designed website and the fast support department, says Lily.” This also gives the customer the right service from the Riversland Water Board.
For Waterschap Rivierenland, digital signing has proved to be an inevitable step. In the future, it will not only remain with the digital signing of user agreements within the department of Land Affairs. “Purchase contracts in the Procurement department and legal documents in the Legal Department are also likely to be digitally signed in the future,” says Lelie.
Saxion facilitates higher vocational education in Apeldoorn, Deventer and Enschede. With more than 26,000 students, the university is a player of magnitude and has a major impact on an event like the corona crisis. For the organization, the pandemic quickly led to a complete (temporary) closure of all three locations. As with other (semi) government institutions, the majority of the organization’s employees and students will work from home at least until 1 September 2020.
Since January of this year, the organization has been signing digitally with the digital signature of ValidSign. The reason for the adjustment of the digital signature were the high costs that resulted from the manual handling of all kinds of administrative processes. Saxion has started to settle the student declarations. The declaration is submitted by students hired by the school to assist at a particular event within the organization. Thousands of student declarations are submitted and signed every year. The majority relate to declarations of amounts between 12 and 25 euro, the administrative costs of which could rise to 45 euro per declaration. Thijs Groener, Business Process Manager at Saxion says: “ValidSign would initially only be used as a pilot to reduce the administration costs of student and guest lecturer declarations. After the pilot, we wanted to roll out the solution more broadly. Due to the corona crisis, we have accelerated the solution in a few weeks within several departments of Saxion.” Currently, both procurement contracts, employment contracts, documents within the examination board as well as data statements and documents from the Executive Board and Supervisory Board are signed with ValidSign.
In recent months, the entire organization has been working from home and validsign allowed the majority of the signatures to facilitate time and place independently. More than 70 employees have already made their signatures through the platform, which has allowed other business processes to continue. In addition to the cost-saving characteristic of ValidSign, the digital signature is also process accelerating. For example, the lead time for signing a student declaration has increased by 90 percent. The signing process of an employment contract and the documents of the Executive Board and Supervisory Board, which could previously take weeks, can now be completed within a few days. “The number of transactions has been greatly reduced and employees have more time for other things. In addition, they now have insight into the status of the signature and the document.”, says Groener. Documents no longer need to be printed, signed, sent and archived manually.
The organization attaches great importance to the satisfaction of its people. The solution therefore serves as an additional service from Saxion for both students and employees. “Shortly after the introduction of the digital signature I received responses from enthusiastic colleagues. A colleague even indicated that she had done a dance after using the solution for the first time,” says Groener. ValidSign requests continue to arrive weekly. To control this number, the organization shared the platform’s login credentials along with concise process descriptions and work instructions on its service management platform so that employees can pick it up independently.
In the near future, the solution will be used even more broadly within Saxion University of Applied Sciences. Groener says: “The digital signing of internship agreements might be a solution for our students and employees because this process takes a long time. It is a period that is being looked forward to for most students and it is nice that it can be arranged without paperwork. In addition, we would like to integrate ValidSign into our own software. Due to the corona crisis, this project has been paused and will probably be picked up again later this year”. Once the integrations are realised, even more departments will use the digital signature, speed up more processes and save money.