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Understanding the ins and outs of multiple signatures

With multiple signatures, several people can sign your proposal so everyone is onboard with the work
PRODUCT 3 mins 28 Oct 2021 by Belle Mifsud
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After many months in the making, our most requested feature is finally here with the launch of multiple signatures for our New Proposal Editor! With multiple signatures, more than one person can easily sign your proposal to ensure everyone is onboard with the work and your engagement terms. It’s ideal for engaging clients with multiple directors or owners in the same company, or couples filing joint tax returns where eligible in countries like the US.

Safeguarding your business

While there may not be a legal obligation for multiple signatures, the best practice guidance for client relationships is to have a documented letter of engagement that is signed by both you and your client. In cases where there are multiple representatives and decision makers, you can provide additional clarity by ensuring everyone who is party to the agreement has signed your proposal. It’s a great opportunity for you to establish clear expectations and responsibilities with the client from day one.

As one of our customers simply stated, “multiple signatures keeps all relevant parties on the same page and can provide acknowledgement of our agreement.”

The reality of client entities is that they are subject to change and can even break down. Multiple signatures helps you further safeguard your business and gives you peace of mind that you and your clients are protected.

We’ve made the process to collect multiple signatures super simple and efficient to start using straight away.

Making tax season effortless

In countries like the US, multiple signatures means accountants providing tax services can now easily engage clients for joint federal income tax return preparation using Ignition. Both spouses can sign a single proposal outlining your engagement terms in just a few clicks. You can even use our 1040 Joint Tax Return proposal templates to get a head start and get paid automatically for the work by collecting payment details upfront in your proposal.

What can you expect with multiple signatures?

With multiple signatures, two people can electronically sign your engagement terms and proposal on the Professional plan, or you can have up to ten signatories on the Scale plan.

If you’re offering proposal options or require payment details upfront, you can select a primary signatory - ensuring that your main client contact accepts the proposal before any other relevant parties can digitally sign. Best of all, you and your client will be kept in the loop every step of the way. We’ll send email notifications and status updates to every signatory, provide a digital audit trail for every signature, and send the signed agreement to all signatories.

All you need to do next time you create a proposal in Ignition is add all signatories once you’ve selected your client. You’ll need to have more than one contact saved against your client record to use multiple signatures, but you can easily add more contacts from this step.

Here’s what one customer had to say about the process: “I love using multiple signatures with options of services - the whole process was simple and straightforward for us and our clients.”

Best practice guidelines

While there is no hard or fast rule, our recommended guidance is to use multiple signatures to request proposal acceptance from multiple decision makers within a single entity, or for couples filing joint tax returns where eligible such as the US.

In the case of client group engagements in Australia, there is a solid case to engage with each entity separately as recommended by the Australian Tax Practitioners Board (TPB). As Rebecca Mihalic, Director at businessDEPOT and Ignition’s APAC Head of Accounting, highlights, "using the grouped approach for engagements is not just a compliance issue, there are also practical business reasons to engage each entity individually”.

Regardless of the use case, multiple signatures makes it easy for all the right decision makers to digitally sign and approve your engagement letter or contract in a few simple steps.

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Meet the author

Belle Mifsud

Account Manager (APAC)  Ignition

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Published 28 Oct 2021 Last updated 01 Nov 2022