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Getting multiple signatures

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Question: We currently have a problem with documents that need several signatures taking an unacceptable length of time to obtain those signatures. 

I have been assigned the task of finding a more efficient way in which to move these documents through the system. I am looking for any suggestions or ideas to achieve this goal. 

If anyone has dealt with this problem, I would appreciate hearing the solution.  -- Lori


Just an idea, we don't have this issue in our office but one thing that came to mind was putting the items needing signatures in a red folder or another color that would stand out and everyone would know that folder needed a signature promptly.


You may want to get signature stamps and get pre-approval to stamp certain documents, even if they are not seen by the person or send document via email and have them send yes or no replies. The red folder idea is great if documents have to to read before signed but also to add put a DEADLINE DATE! I need this document back no later than such and such. Hold them accountable to that if you do not get it back in a timely fashion that it will stop this(you fill in the issue) from happening.

You can be assertive, just not aggressive. Good luck

May I add something to Kenda's comment? How about putting a note on the front of the folder with the names of people who need to sign, and a checkbox. When they sign, they check the box, and pass the folder to the next available person on the list. (You may need to add a space for the Date Signed, if necessary.) If you need signatures from the same people on a regular basis, have several of these notes printed up ahead of time and use a fresh note each time. You may need several folders for different groups of signatures needed. Set up a written procedure, such as: Give the folder to the next available person on the list, and make sure everyone understands that the last person signing is responsible for returning the folder to you in a timely manner. As long as everyone knows what is expected of them and how important this is, this should help.

I also use the colored folder system and the check list system. Adding a date signed/sent from the last person would give you a way to track and hold accountable the person who holds on to the document too long.

Those are great suggestions. Here is mine. I get all the main characters that need to sign the document to sign a blank sheet of paper, one page for each person and scan the signatures into an individual PDF file. Go to the PDF file and export/extract the image as a tiff file. Open and save a word document. Open the tiff file, edit and copy image and save it on the word document from above as tiff file. You can then adjust the size and all to fit the document when you need it. You will have to play around with it, but I have to get people's signatures when they are out of the office and this is how I have done it. Jo Ann

While all of the ideas above are very good, they have never worked for me. I now make an individual copy for each person on the signature list and ask them to send the signature page back to me by a certain date. I believe this constitutes as "legal" signatures to important documents if you then attach all of the signature pages to the master, but I would check with someone to be certain.

ohiogirl has the right idea; however, the document should contain a paragraph that the document may be executed on separate signature pages, called counterparts, but all together constitute one signature page.

I too have this problem; however, it is getting signatures from board members who are located in different cities and states. We send a copy of the document to each by overnight mail with a pre-addressed overnight envelope included so that they can send it back the next day. Our attorney has assured us that these multiple page signatures are done every day. Fax copies are also considered legal.

I also use the red folder for important items that my boss needs to attend to first. To expedite signatures from multiple people in the same location, I employ the help of their admin or person in their department. This works well because I always make sure to return the favor.

I had this problem until I took an ordinary file folder and covered it with an eye-crossing contact paper. Now people cannot wait to get it off their desk. :-) Seriously, it helps because it is easy to find in any kind of mess, and it is ONLY used for multiple signatures so people know what it's all about as soon as they see it. You can buy fancy file folders with just about any theme you desire if you don't want to use contact paper. The contact paper I used was checkered with white and dark green, one-inch squares. Everyone agrees it works like a charm.

I use a screaming-loud color file folder for the signatures. On the outside I have a 5 x 8 label in 72-point type stating: For signature, return to me. Inside the folder is the document and the signature checklist. If they are in-house, those who are lower on the food chain are sent the document electronically and are allowed to approve online. I enter the electronic approval date next to the name & keep the approval itself in my electronic archive. For those whos must actually sign the document I work with the appropriate admin, and I have also used Faxed signatures as well. Someday we will be allowed to use digital signatures but that day has not arrived at my workplace.

Here are some additional suggestions:

1) If all the signees are in your office, designate a time each day that - if signatures are needed - you can simply walk around and collect them. We have a daily management meeting that most of the signees attend and our admin simply shows up at the meeting and her signatures are the first agenda item.

2) As mentioned above, digital signatures may be an option. Ask your HR or Legal Department. If so, you can electronically route documents for signature.

3) To use the stamp method, fax or email the document to the person, and ask him/her to email you an approval. Then stamp their signature. For tracking purposes, keep a master copy of the completed document, and attach a print out of the email that gives the approval.

Good luck!

I would like to share with you the system that is used in my office. When my company decides upon a new investment a vote takes place. We have what's called a "vote sheet" and is circulated for original signatures. We circulate this document in a bright florescent pink folder - the folder is labeled "VOTE SHEET" on the tabbed part with an additional label under that one stating "PLEASE SIGN and RETURN TO the respective Administative Assistant's name". From there the AA keeps a log of who he/she has passed the vote sheet along for the next signature. I hope this helps.
L. Meehan

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