Australia is one of the slowest countries in the world when it comes to the adoption of electronic signatures, according to a recent study by Adobe EchoSign.
The company conducted research in January 2014 across its user base in Australia and found it trails the United States and United Kingdom in adoption by business of e-signatures.
The US leads the world in e-signatures with 11 per cent of businesses utilising the service. This figure is predicted to grow to around 30 to 40 per cent by 2016.The UK is second with 3.5 per cent, and Australia has around two per cent adoption.
Australia does has one of the highest growth rates for the technology in developed countries. Adobe said that by the end of 2013 adoption had grown by over 80 per cent.
The survey also found that 100 per cent of respondents in Australia agreed that e-signature solutions increase efficiency. This is not surprising considering all these companies were already using the technology.
Adobe said that 76 per cent of respondents believe that government should do more to promote use of electronic signatures.
The company cited written recommendations to government by ‘citizens’ that support the adoption across Commonwealth departments. Adobe said the writings encourage government promotion of awareness regarding the legality of the technology and creative incentives for business.
Adobe commissioned Edelman Berland to survey managers in the US who draft, send or sign contracts in Spring 2013. The research that shows the number one reason companies are using the technology is to save money. 70 per cent of respondents agreed that sending and signing contracts electronically increases efficiency. The environment was also a concern mentioned by e-signature users.
Legality in Australia
In 1999, the Australian Federal Parliament passed the Electronic Transactions Act 1999 (ETA), it came into force on March 15, 2000. As part of this legislation, electronic signatures were recognized as a valid form of legally binding signatures.