What is an /s/ signature?

The modern world of business is a digital one.

You might do any sort of business with organizations or people in any corner of the world.

While communicating with those clients may be easy thanks to the many communication apps available, what happens when a deal or contract is agreed? 

Being able to sign a document online, and for it to have legal validity, is an essential factor in doing business globally.

This means you need to know how to create an electronic signature in Word and other formats, and to generally understand the world of eSignatures. 

So, just what is an /s/ signature and how do you ensure that any proposal or agreement is binding for both parties? 

What does /s/ in a conformed signature mean?

A conformed signature is when a “replacement” electronic signature has been used in place of a handwritten one; something businesses need to make deals and proposals online. 

There are different electronic signature examples, so be sure to use the type that’s relevant and valid for the document being signed.

A conformed signature is often typed, and the /s/ is electronic signature notation signifying that it has been used instead of a handwritten one. 

So, for example, “/s/ Joe Bloggs” would be a conformed signature for Joe Bloggs. If it was an “s” signature, then it would be /Joe Bloggs/. 

Are electronic /s/ signatures legal?

Electronic /s/ signatures are recognized as being legally binding in every US state.

The US has a two-tier legal model with the main law being the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) and the other being the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (UETA). 

In effect, what both these acts do is to give e-signatures the same legal status as handwritten signatures.

It’s worth checking which law applies to both your geographical location and the type of transaction being undertaken. 

When to use /s/ signatures

You should always check the requirements for the type of document being signed and what the legal requirements are in your location. 

The laws mentioned above (ESIGN and UETA) don’t only cover the legality of /s/ signatures, but also the circumstances under which one party could refuse or deny that signature’s validity. 

The laws, or the interpretation of those laws, can vary between states and also between agencies, so being sure that you’re using an /s/ signature correctly can save a great deal of time and money. 

For example, in Florida, LLC documents can use a conformed signature but corporate documents cannot. 

You will find most federal agencies will accept a conformed signature but again, check before submitting any documents with a conformed signature to ensure it meets the receiver’s rules. 

Some of the federal agencies that accept conformed signatures include:

  • Federal circuit court of appeals
  • D.C. court of appeals
  • Some district courts, such as the Central District of California or the District of Columbia
  • The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Federal communications commission.

How to use /s/ signatures

While how to indicate a signature on an electronic document is straightforward enough, there are still certain rules and requirements you need to follow to ensure your electronic signature is valid: 

  • You must use only letters, Arabic numerals, or a combination of the two in your /s/ signature. For example, you could add numerals if you have a common name such as John Smith so that it becomes /John Smith 78/. 
  • You must include any appropriate spacing, as in between first and last names. 
  • Where needed, you must also include any other relevant punctuation, such as commas, hyphens, or periods. For example, if you have a double-barrelled surname such as “Smith-Jones”, then you would sign as, /John Smith-Jones/. 
  • Your signature should usually be between forward slashes (/) to make it valid. 
  • If using an /s/ signature, then it must be added by you and never by a third party. 

Easily sign digital documents with conformed signatures

Getting things right with any sort of document is crucial. especially to smaller businesses. Mistakes can cost time, and lost time can cost money. 

If details have to be questioned then it can delay the agreement being put into action.

While most details, such as prices and timeframes, can be quickly double-checked, making an error with the signature can render any document invalid

That’s why you need an eSignature solution you can trust, and PandaDoc is that and a whole lot more.

PandaDoc’s seamless eSignature functionality is just one part of the package.

You can also easily create, manage, and track all your business-critical documents. 

Find out more about how PandaDoc can help your business excel, by signing up for a free 14-day trial today!