How Accountants Are Using Electronic Signatures

Accountants and tax professionals are making the digital transformation to better serve clients who’ve grown accustomed to paperless processes. And although some accountants were reluctant to embrace digital tools, they now view it as a necessity to remain relevant during a time of heightened competition and client expectations.

Utilizing electronic signatures also frees up time for accountants to research and better understand new tax regulations, onboard new clients and adopt other technologies.

“Docusign has been very helpful in sending and routing documents for signature and furnishing a signed copy to everyone,”senior finance and strategy analyst Harold G. said on the popular tech rating platform G2. “It's the best digital signature app in the market.”

Accountants can use electronic signatures to help customers meet tax deadlines and complete  other documents required for audits, taxes, payroll and consulting. More than half of tax professionals surveyed acknowledged that electronic tools are improving their productivity; another 85 percent said they believed implementing new technologies was necessary to remain competitive. Here are the top ways accountants are using Docusign eSignature in their day-to-day operations:

Electronic tax document signing 

For tax preparers authorized to file taxes on their clients’ behalf, Docusign eSignature conforms with IRS requirements for eSigning Forms 8878 and 8879, IRS e-file Signature Authorization forms. Electronic return originators (EROs) can start using Docusign eSignature immediately to deliver better customer service, minimize the possibility of errors on their clients’ returns, and create a speedier workflow.

“I love that Docusign is so simple and easy for the user to work with,” executive assistant Laura W. said in a G2 review. “You do not have to be a computer expert to use Docusign to sign a form or page due to the simplicity of the technology used.”

eSignature can be used to send and sign many of the documents commonly required for tax and accounting purposes, including:

  • IRS-approved tax forms, including IRS e-signature Form 8879 with versions for e-filing all corporate, individual, partnerships, employment, estate/trust, excise, exempt organization, extension forms
  • IRS Form 8878 for Form 4868 or Form 2350
  • Form 1040

Additional IRS forms can be submitted with electronic signature provided they were signed and postmarked on August 28, 2020 or later.

Client services

Docusign eSignature helps accountants complete documents required for the accounting, tax, audit, and consulting services. Digitizing these processes helps reduce non-billable hours spent chasing clients down to sign key documents. Common forms include:

  • Final reports
  • Audit acceptance
  • Power of attorney agreements
  • LLC formation
  • Invoicing and payments

“It has single-handedly allowed our practice to become nearly paperless, it has simplified our lives and greatly improved our workflow,” chief financial officer Christian A. wrote on G2.

Client engagement

You can use eSignature to streamline and scale client onboarding and management across the organization, including: tax, advisory, and assurance. These practices often use their own client onboarding agreements and the firm may be at risk without corporate-wide transparency and oversight. Docusign standardizes complex client onboarding documents, speeds the signature process, and provides visibility into status. Common forms include:

  • Client engagement letters
  • Practice continuation & addendum agreements
  • Non-disclosure agreements
  • Rate cards

Seasonal hiring and onboarding

If you’re part of an accounting firm, you can use Docusign to take the headache out of hiring seasonal staff, and ensure you are hiring staff you can trust with your clients’ financial data. Docusign helps HR teams provide a great onboarding experience, while alleviating the need for follow-up and rework. Common forms we can help with include:

  • Offer letters, employment contract
  • Independent contractor agreements
  • Security – NDA, Consent for background checks
  • Tax forms (W4, I9)
  • Employee handbook

Learn more about how Docusign eSignature can help your accounting business or sign up for a free trial.