If SMEs are the backbone of an economy, professional service providers are the ones who grease the cogs of that machinery. Notaries, accountants, insurance agents, consultants etc. provide value added services that are indispensable to the operations of a business in the 21st century. We touched upon how eIDAS can be leveraged for professional service providers in a previous article here. Today, we talk a bit more about how professional service providers can use eSignatures according to eIDAS to act as a force multiplier and enhance their service offerings.
Professional service providers like notaries, accountants, insurance agents and consultants have one legally-relevant point in common - many documents generated in their business process require a handwritten signature.
This is where Qualified Electronic Signatures come into play in Europe, as they have the same legal value as handwritten signatures. A Qualified Electronic Signature (QES) requires a qualified certificate issued by a qualified trust provider. The signature is created using a Qualified Signature Creation Device (QSCD) and ensures that:
- Only the signatory has control of their signing key
- The signature creation data that is generated is managed by a qualified trust provider
- The signature creation data is unique, confidential and protected from forgery.
Notaries can benefit from eIDAS by digitizing their business processes. An element of trust between customers and businesses is required which can be provided by eIDs and Trust Services. eIDAS allows these businesses to comply with KYC (Know Your Customer) laws and perform these checks digitally. The signing of documents through eSignatures can greatly reduce the operational overhead for professionals in this sector.
What is especially important for notaries are eSignature solutions that provide WYSIWYS (What You See is What You Sign). Both notaries and customers need to be able to read and verify the documents while ensuring non-repudiation of source as well as non-repudiation of origin.
Financial documents are the perfect candidates for electronic signatures. There is a large number of documents that are produced. These documents have to protect the data integrity of the content contained within them, they often require multiple checks and sign-offs from multiple departments, and finally financial documents need to be safely stored and archived for audit purposes while maintaining an audit trail.
The use case for Qualified Electronic Signatures for such documents is, therefore, obvious. Such solutions can help provide the necessary auditability, data integrity and easy process management which is necessary for financial and accounting reports.
Consulting is a pretty broad field with professionals specializing in fields as diverse as recruitment to engineering and from IT to public relations. However, most consulting arrangements require multiple contracts and service level agreements to be signed. This is especially true for transactional consultancy arrangements like recruitment services where employment contracts would need to be signed for each new hire or for Transactional Advisory Service (TAS) practices.
Remote electronic signatures can help these consulting professionals to better manage their operations, reduce costs and overheads and enhance security by enabling data integrity and non-repudiation of source or of origin.
Professional service providers are essentially small businesses and there are certain elements of eIDAS which can be of benefit to all of them irrespective of their specialization.
As businesses embrace the new normal and rush to implement the next phase of the digital revolution, professional service providers need to keep up in order to provide their clients with the best level of service that they possibly can.
References and Further Reading
- Selected articles on eIDAS (2014-today), by Gaurav Sharma, Guillaume Forget, Jan Kjaersgaard, Dawn M. Turner, and more
- Benefits of the eIDAS Toolbox – Case Studies from Various Industries (Part 1) (2018), by Gaurav Sharma
- Benefits of the eIDAS Toolbox – Case Studies from Various Industries (Part 2) (2018), by Gaurav Sharma
- Digital Trade and Trade Financing - Embracing and Shaping the Transformation (2018), by SWIFT & OPUS Advisory Services International Inc
- REGULATION (EU) No 1316/2013 establishing the Connecting Europe Facility, amending Regulation (EU) No 913/2010 and repealing Regulations (EC) No 680/2007 and (EC) No 67/2010(12/2013), by the European Parliament and the European Council
- Selected articles on Electronic Signing and Digital Signatures (2014-today), by Ashiq JA, Gaurav Sharma, Guillaume Forget, Jan Kjaersgaard , Peter Landrock, Torben Pedersen, Dawn M. Turner, and more
- Selected articles on Authentication (2014-today), by Heather Walker, Luis Balbas, Guillaume Forget, Jan Kjaersgaard, Dawn M. Turner and more
- eIDAS webinar 1: Using electronic Identification, Authentication and trust Services for Business (2018), by the European Commission
- The European Interoperability Framework - Implementation Strategy (2017), by the European Commission
- Proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL amending Directive (EU) 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing (2016), by the European Commission
- REGULATION (EU) 2016/679 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation) (2016), by the European Parliament and the European Council
Proposal for a REGULATION concerning the respect for private life and the protection of personal data in electronic communications and repealing Directive 2002/58/EC (Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications), (2017), by the European Parliament and the European Council
- Revised Directive 2015/2366 on Payment Services (commonly known as PSD2) (2015), by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union
- REGULATION (EU) No 910/2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market and repealing Directive 1999/93/EC (2014) by the European Parliament and the European Commission
DIRECTIVE 2013/37/EU amending Directive 2003/98/EC on the re-use of public sector information (2013) by the European Parliament and the Council