13 applications of e-signature in marketing agencies
One of the sectors, which reaps greatest benefits from the online signing of documents, is the one to which belong marketing agencies and advertising agencies. Amongst the Autenti clients, there are a number of firms, which significantly reduced the process of sales, signing agreements with clients or subcontractors. In addition, they markedly raised their security of doing business, by overcoming their habits of scanning documents with a view of their subsequent sending. Below, we are presenting some examples of documents, which can be signed, using the Autenti electronic signature in agencies, and the reasons, for which Autenti is a safer solution, than scans of agreements and “email settlements”. You can get familiar with a full list or by clicking on a given item, skip on to a section of your interest.
1. Non-disclosure agreement with client (NDA)
2. Non-disclosure agreement
3. Framework agreement with client
4. Annexes to framework agreement
5. Assignment or order received from customer
6. Civil contract with subcontractors
7. Contract of commission with subcontractors
8. Acceptance and reception of assignment (reception & acceptance protocol)
9. Settlement of assignment completion with subcontractors or client
10. Sales invoices
11. Corrective invoices
12. Accounting notes
13. Reply to a client’s brief for tender documentation
Non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with client or subcontractors
One of the first documents, which the agency signs with potential client is non-disclosure agreement (NDA). An agreement of this type is to protect both parties of a given transaction against confidential information leak. It is a highly significant document for clients, who share sensitive information relating to their business activity for the purpose of receiving best possible service.
Traditional process of signing non-disclosure agreements (NDA)
Non-disclosure agreement has no legal form ascribed to it which must be strictly adhered to, and so it may be concluded in any arbitrary form. Until now, the NDA agreements used to be concluded most often in writing. It didn’t have to be that way, but we were used to such form, nevertheless. More about the various forms of submitting the declarations of will, we wrote about right here
- Document form, electronic, and written form – what must be remembered when signing documents electronically. A client or an agency prints two copies of an agreement, signs them and sends back to his contractor. After a couple of days, the contractor does the same and sends back one copy. At best, such process takes a couple of days, at worst, several weeks. As, for instance,:
• client is staying abroad
• company CEO or some other person authorised for signing document is away
• shipment is lost
• stamp is missing
• delivery is delayed by either courier or postal service
Some people, wanting to speed up the process, use document scans. Once NDA agreement terms are settled with contractor, usually agency prints agreement, sings it, and sends over scan to client, and then, it sends the signed documents (2 copies) by courier. On the surface, such mode of action serves to accelerate the whole process. Paradoxically, in practice, it extends it, since there are certain extra activities in connection with scanning and dispatching of document scan to client. What’s most important, the sending over of signed scan alone does not constitute the very act of agreement conclusion. The risk that carries along the operating on document scans, we have already written before in here – Scanning of agreements vs the Autenti electronic signature, what are the differences to be considered?
Process of signing non-disclosure agreement (NDA) using Autenti electronic signature
Using Autenti for signing NDA agreement with a client, agency may significantly reduce the time of agreement conclusion – even from over ten days’ time to a few minutes. Thanks to this solution, it can proceed to act in the interest of client in a much more rapid and effective manner. In order to sign electronically non-disclosure agreement between agency and client, all that is needed is to:
1. Upload a prepared agreement, complemented by all data, onto the Autenti platform
2. Indicate email addresses of persons, who are to sign the agreement (both, on the part of the client and agency alike)
3. Dispatch document for signing
4. Sign agreement from the Autenti account or using email address stated at a time of document sending
Non-disclosure agreement with subcontractors
It happens, that in order to complete a project for a given client, agencies hire subcontractors. They often have access to confidential information of clients, so it is justified to sign NDA also with them. The process of signing a non-disclosure agreement with subcontractors through Autenti looks exactly the same as in case of signing such an agreement with client.
Framework agreement with client and annexes to agreement
Marketing, advertising and interactive agencies, often co-operate with their clients for years, realising in the process many projects. In order to secure the basic rules of co-operation and limit paperwork, the firms tend to draft a framework agreement. In a similar vein, as in the case of non-disclosure agreement, framework agreements also may be signed using the Autenti e-signature.
Signing and annexing of new framework agreements
Process of sending and signing of framework agreement through Autenti does not differ from the process of sending and signing of other agreements (such as for instance NDA – see the point above). The thing, which should be also watched is that whether framework agreement does not comprise declarations of will requiring the preservation of written form. Examples of such declarations are:
• agreement for copyright transfer (art. 53 of the Act of law on copyright and related rights) or
• Exclusive license agreement (art. 67 pt. 5 of the Act of law on copyright and related rights).
Depending on given provisions of framework agreement or annex, it can turn out that in order to realise it effectively, it would be indispensable to preserve written form. Written form may be preserved in using qualified electronic signature.
Electronic annexing of already concluded framework agreements
By using Autenti, agencies may also facilitate considerably the annexing of this type of agreements. In case of there being a need for annexing of already concluded framework agreements, it has to be remembered and ensured, whether in such agreement the form of annexing has been reserved. We frequently encounter with statements saying:
“Changes to agreement require written form or else shall be null and void.”
In such cases, agreement may be annexed in two ways:
1. Traditionally – each of the parties of the agreement receives a printed-out annex for signing
2. Electronically – by using qualified signature by all parties of the annex
Framework agreement (while using one of the above ways) can also be changed, thus modifying the above-mentioned provision, for instance into such as this:
“Changes to agreement require documented form or else shall be null and void.”
From a moment of changing of the form of annexing of framework agreement into documented one, agency and client in a much more simple and rapid way may modify the stipulations of framework agreement, for instance, by using basic version of Autenti platform. However, one should also bear in mind, whether stipulations of annex would not instigate a necessity for concluding it in written or electronic form (e.g. granting of exclusive license or transfer of copyright).
Assignment or client’s order
In order to commence their work for a client, several agencies need a signed assignment, which serves to define, what exactly, for when, and for how much shall be done. Its signing is essential, in order to engage resources for timely fulfilment of an assignment. unfortunately, what frequently occurs, is that work on a project:
1. starts despite lack of official assignment or
2. is delayed due to lack of official assignment
If your agency never found itself in above situation – „lucky you”. If the answer is yes, then you already know, that you’re risking a lot. Once you already manage to get your assignment, you often are faced with that it is:
• dispatched by agency according to the agency’s own template with a request to confirm it by client
• dispatched as an email message by a client
• sent over as a scan (and original does not get to agency)
In such situations, it’s worthwhile making sure it’s secure, and at the same time not slowing down the assignment’s completion. By using Autenti, a signed assignment you can get as fast as an email message from your client with confirmation of the scope of service provision.
Who may sign assignments on the part of agency’s client
A frequent practice, which we tend to encounter, is to indicate in framework agreements certain persons on the side of client being authorised for submitting assignments and for their acceptance. In such cases, you send your assignment for signing through Autenti just to that specific person. Then, the assignment is based on a power of attorney document granted under framework agreement. Signing of assignment by plenipotentiary is binding.
In case of no authorised person being pinned by the framework agreement to assign agency’s work, orders may be submitted by rightful representative of entrepreneur (e.g. company’s management board). In such a case, you send your assignment for signing through Autenti to persons (sometimes even to a couple of people at one time), who are authorised for representing the company.
All assignments signed at a single place
A very significant issue is also the archiving of orders. In a number of agencies, there is no system for clear-cut and general collecting of assignments from customers. If you are storing your orders in your email box, then surely every time you are trying to find them, in your mind these questions tend appear:
• Was the order in relation to strand A or B?
• Did they send it in July or in August?
• Did they send it as an enclosure or as a link for uploading from the cloud?
• Scope and acceptance were in the form of an enclosure or as email text?
• Or why not go for coffee and search out these files later on?
Once order is signed through Autenti, all signed documents are stored in archive, within Autenti platform. You can also upload them onto your disk or else upload it to your own cloud. There is also a possibility of filing them under a specific email address. This means that each document under company account, after its signing shall be sent over onto a specific email address (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org).
Contract of commission or assignment with subcontractors
The case of agreement with subcontractors we have already discussed in the context of non-disclosure agreements (see above). Autenti can be also used for concluding civil law contracts with subcontractors. They represent a standard form of co-operation, when under a given project, agency is using e.g. freelancers. In case of that type of agreements, the person signing is usually a physical person – contractor.
As Autenti, we are co-operating with a number of employment agencies, which on daily basis sign through Autenti hundreds of this type of agreements. We encourage you to get familiar with case study, in which we have described the way that Work Service managed to reduce by 70% the time of signing of civil law contracts.
What’s important, the majority of civil law contracts does not require the preservation of specific form. The conclusion of that type of agreements without any impediments may take place through the intermediary of the Autenti platform. An exception to this rule is contract of commission with the transfer of copyright or else contract of commission with the granting of exclusive license, which require the preservation of written form, or else shall be null and void. In order to sign electronically these types of agreements, each of the parties concerned should use qualified signature.
Acceptance or reception of object of assignment (by client or of commission work from contractor).
Acceptance or reception of object of assignment may assume various forms. It can be an email confirmation of compliance with assignment, a shake of hands, or a drafted hand-over protocol. Form of acceptance of work in a client-agency relationship and of commission work in agency-subcontractor relationship, the parties may determine according to own discretion.
Very often we encounter a situation, where agencies (or else contractors) receive remuneration for completed assignment only after receiving it by client. It can take place in full (after accepting the entire assignment) or in lots (if a given project is handed back in stages).
Best practice is to draft a hand-over protocol, which is signed by the principal and contractor. Through the intermediary of Autenti, there exists a possibility of sending and signing such protocol, which enables for securing payment of remuneration for the completion of assignment by agency.
Settlement of civil contracts with subcontractors or clients
Many of our clients in the HR sphere uses Autenti also for confirming the magnitude of remuneration with contractors acting on the basis of civil contracts. In case of marketing agencies, this scheme operates in the same way in case of subcontractors. For instance, at the end of a month, contractor receives information on a number of hours worked, a per hour rate and factual magnitude of remuneration due. Signed settlement by contractor and principal via Autenti enables for payment of remuneration.
A similar solution may be used in case of agency working on projects for clients, which are cleared according to per hour rates for a given service (e.g. technical support, programming work, or else operation of advertising stands).
Invoices for client of subcontractors
Autenti also lets for sending and signing financial documents, such as invoices, corrective invoices or accounting notes. Some of these documents require acknowledgement of receipt, in order for them to be processed accordingly. For every single document dispatched, Autenti enables for obtaining “Confirmation of receipt”, which specifies, who and when has opened a given document dispatched via Autenti.
Acknowledgement of receipt of corrective invoice by client
It is very significant in case of corrective invoices making deductions, issued by seller, which require The acknowledgement of receipt by buyer (for more information click here). The VAT law does not determine the form of confirmation of receipt, so using the basic version of the Autenti platform is completely sufficient. What’s more, invoice recipient does not have to sign his name under Autenti dispatched document. All that is needed is “Confirmation of receipt”, which is generated by Autenti automatically, at a time of opening of document by receiver.
Acceptance of adjustment note by subcontractor
In a similar way as in the case of corrective invoices, as agency, you may also send adjustment notes to subcontractors through the intermediary of Autenti. Adjustment notes require acceptance of issuer of a given invoice, which they relate to, however the VAT law does not determine a given form, in which such acceptance is to take place (for more on adjustment notes click here). So, you may use the Autenti platform for dispatching adjustment note, and at a time of document opening by recipient, “Confirmation of receipt” is generated, which specifies, who and when has opened a given document.
Briefs or tender documentation
A fundamental document, which provides the right framework for the co-operation going on between client and agency is a brief. Many clients determine also the process of agency selection, which shall be realising tasks specified in brief. A good practice is also to determine in brief the form and deadlines for submitting by agency of replies or tender documentation. The Autenti platform is useful in this type of procedure, offering the possibility not only of signing of the dispatched documents, but also of obtaining of “Confirmation of receipt”, which confirms, who and when on the part of client has received documentation.
For marketing agencies, client’s satisfaction is one of the most important effects of work. We are glad that we are in a position to do our bit and facilitate agency’s success by reducing the amount of time that firms waste on futile paperwork. Thanks to Autenti, workers of advertising agencies can allocate more of their time to their clients, and less on administrative work. The universality of electronic signature facilitates using it throughout the entire process of co-operation with customer (from NDA to the acceptance of assignment). E-signature is also useful in relationships with subcontractors and workers. The more electronic signature there is, the more time there is left for working with client.
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