The following are common questions your clients may have about DocuSign and electronic signatures in general:
Is it legal?
Yes. In Australia the use of electronic signatures is covered by Section 10 of the Electronic Transactions Act 1999. Where there is a requirement under law for a signature to be provided, the requirement is considered to be met when:
- A method is used to identify the person
- There is confirmation of the persons intention regarding the information (i.e. they cannot accidentally or unintentionally sign something)
- The method used is reliable and appropriate in the situation
- The method used can be proven (either by itself of with other evidence) to meet the first two requirements above
- The method used is acceptable for the person or entity to whom the signature is required to be given
Electronic signatures are already being used by many businesses in Australia, however the wide scale uptake of electronic signatures has been slow due to the technology investment required to provide a service that is both easy for users and meets the necessary legal requirements.
Our DocuSign solution covers off on all necessary legal requirements.
Does the ATO accept electronic signatures?
Yes. The ATO is very comfortable with electronic signatures as well as less formal electronic declarations (via email etc.).
The ATO provides further information on their website here: Client declarations - FAQs and examples.
Does the electronic signature need to look like a 'real' signature?
No. It is not a legal requirement for the signature to look identical to a persons handwritten / wet ink signature.
Do signers need a DocuSign account?
No - each individual who signs via DocuSign does not need to register their own DocuSign account.
If you sign a document via DocuSign you have the option of signing up for a free account, which enables you to easily save and access documents you've signed.
How much does it cost?
Superfund Wholesale is currently providing access to our DocuSign solution at zero cost to advisers and their clients for their SMSF administrative documents.
Can all SMSF documents be signed electronically?
No. Certain documents including SMSF trust deeds will still require a wet ink signature for both legal and practical reasons (including the acceptance by banks and other institutions).
Once an SMSF is established and all necessary accounts are opened, all ongoing administrative requirements including accounts, tax returns and trustee minutes can be signed electronically.
Can a physical / paper copy still be provided?
Yes. Once a document has been electronically signed by all parties via DocuSign, a PDF will be emailed to all signatories as well the adviser and Superfund Wholesale. This PDF can be printed.
It is also possible to print a the PDF prior to signing.
Does each signatory need a separate email address?
Yes - it is highly recommended. To meet the legal requirements of electronic signatures under the Electronic Transactions Act 1999, each signatory must be identified and the electronic signing process must confirm their intent to sign.
If trustees of an SMSF share an email account / address, it is difficult to confirm these requirements.
Does it work on all computers / tablets etc?
Yes. Docusign can be used on any device, including tablets and mobile phones.
Is it secure?
Yes. DocuSign meets or exceeds national and international security standards, including strict security policies and practices that set the standard for world-class information security.
You can find out more about DocuSign's security on their website.