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Electronic signatures for SMSFs

Electronic signatures for SMSFs

Using electronic signatures for SMSFs is not only legal, it’s virtually mandatory to deliver SMSF documents such as accounts, annual returns and trustee minutes in an efficient and compliant way. Intello has utilised electronic signatures from day one via leading electronic signature platform DocuSign to provide an easier way to get your clients SMSF documents signed.

DocuSign is an incredibly easy to use solution for advisers, support staff and most importantly clients.  SMSF trustees will be able to sign common documents  electronically, on any device anywhere in the world -- all they need is an email address.

How we deliver electronic signatures for SMSFs

  • SMSF clients can see your branding or ours
  • Emails can be sent from your business (e.g. advice@abcplanning.com.au )
  • Intello takes care of all the back-end set up
  • You have the option of reviewing and approving all documents before they are sent to your clients
  • We are currently providing our SMSF electronic signature solution at no additional charge to advisers
  • Your clients can be re-directed to your website or blog once they’ve finished signing
  • If you like the solution, you can easily upgrade to your own DocuSign account and use electronic signatures across your business (not just your SMSF clients!)

 

Common questions on electronic signatures for SMSFs

You and your clients may have questions about using electronic signatures for their SMSF documentation. We’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions on DocuSign / electronic signatures in our Intello Help Centre including:

Question

Answer

Is it legal to use electronic signatures for SMSFs?

Yes. In Australia the use of electronic signatures for SMSFs is covered by Section 10 of the Electronic Transactions Act 1999. Where there is a requirement under law for a signature to be provided, the requirement is considered to be met when:

  • A method is used to identify the person
  • There is confirmation of the persons intention regarding the information (i.e. they cannot accidentally or unintentionally sign something)
  • The method used is reliable and appropriate in the situation
  • The method used can be proven (either by itself of with other evidence) to meet the first two requirements above
  • The method used is acceptable for the person or entity to whom the signature is required to be given
Does the ATO accept electronic signatures?

Yes. The ATO is very comfortable with electronic signatures as well as less formal electronic declarations (via email etc.).

The ATO provides further information on their website here: Client declarations -- FAQs and examples.

Does the electronic signature need to look like a ‘real’ signature?

No. It is not a legal requirement for the signature to look identical to a persons handwritten / wet ink signature.

Do signers need a DocuSign account?

No. Each individual who signs via DocuSign does not need to register their own DocuSign account.

If you sign a document via DocuSign you have the option of signing up for a free account, which enables you to easily save and access documents you’ve signed.

How much does it cost?

Intello is currently providing access to our DocuSign solution at zero cost to advisers and their clients for their SMSF administrative documents.

Can all SMSF documents be signed electronically?

No. Certain documents including SMSF trust deeds will still require a wet ink signature for both legal and practical reasons (including the acceptance by banks and other institutions).

Once an SMSF is established and all necessary accounts are opened, all ongoing administrative requirements including accounts, tax returns and trustee minutes can be signed electronically.

Can a physical / paper copy still be provided?

Yes. Once a document has been electronically signed by all parties via DocuSign, a PDF will be emailed to all signatories as well the adviser and Intello. This PDF can be printed.

It is also possible to print a the PDF prior to signing.

Does each signatory need a separate email address?

Highly recommended. To meet the legal requirements of electronic signatures under the Electronic Transactions Act 1999, each signatory must be identified and the electronic signing process must confirm their intent to sign.

If trustees of an SMSF share an email account / address, it is difficult to confirm these requirements.

Does it work on all computers / tablets etc?

Yes. Docusign can be used on any device, including tablets and mobile phones.

There are also dedicated smart phone apps available for Apple and Android.

Is it secure?

Yes. DocuSign meets or exceeds national and international security standards, including strict security policies and practices that set the standard for world-class information security.

You can find out more about DocuSign’s security on their website.

Implementing electronic signatures for your SMSF clients

Before implementing electronic signatures for your SMSF clients, you need to determine whether you would like to use the solution across your business -- or only with the SMSF clients looked after by Intello.

If you would like to use DocuSign for more than just your SMSF clients, we recommend visiting the DocuSign Australia Website and commencing a free trial.

If you would prefer to start using DocuSign for just your SMSF clients, then you need to either:

  1. If you are already using Intello -- enrol via this link: Electronic Signature Enrolment
  2. If you are not currently using our services, please contact us or register to use our services here.

By enrolling your business to use electronic signatures for your SMSF clients, you can get rid of virtually all paper documents including the need to email / print / sign / scan / upload every time we need a signature!

When it comes to branding your clients electronic signing experience there are a few key items we will need:

  • 1. A sender email address which is not your address (e.g. advice@abcplanning.com.au )
  • 2. A high resolution version of your logo
  • 3. A re-direct page on your website (example DocuSign thank you page)

To get a feel for the experience both you and your SMSF clients would get with our electronic signature solution, we’ve put together a video demo:

Intello Docusign Client Experience Demo for Advisers

 

Please note that it is also possible for your clients documents to be sent with Intello branding. Please read this Intello Help Centre article for more information on this option.

Getting started

To commence using electronic signatures for your SMSF clients, you need to enrol using the following form: Intello -- DocuSign Enrolment
If you have any questions, please contact Intello on 1300 362 943 or contact us via our website.

Jamie Libiets
Jamie Libiets

Business Development Manager at Intello.

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