Digital Signature Certificates (DSC)
Digital Signature Certificates (DSC) can be used to sign documents in bulk. It can be used for e-filings, e-tenders, and e-procurement websites that require digital signatures for login, like the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), Income Tax, Sales Tax, etc. Digital Signature Certificates make use of the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to create signatures using a USB device.
Where is DSC Mandatory to Sign Invoices?
As part of Goods and Services Tax (GST) regulations in India, all GST filings that include forms and invoices are required to be digitally signed. This makes digital signatures compulsory for e-filing of income tax returns, e-filing for a Registrar of Companies, online auctions (like e-tenders), challans, consignment notes, delivery orders, etc.
Companies are resorting to the use of Digital Signature Certificates to make digital signature as it is a secure digital key that is issued by Certifying Authorities (CA) to validate and verify the identity of the person (or a company’s authorized signatory) holding the certificate. It can be presented electronically to prove one’s identity so as to access information and services via the internet. The digital certificate contains information about the user’s name, pin code, country, email address, date of issuance of the certificate, and the name of the Certifying Authority.
Types of Digital Signature Certificates
Digital Signature Certificates (DSCs) come in the form of a USB token where the certificate is stored in a USB drive. It can be accessed through a computer to sign documents electronically. DSCs are classified into three types, Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3.
Class 1: This class of DSC is used by individuals and not by companies. It is used to secure email communication. The name and email address of the individual can be verified.
Class 2: The Class 2 of digital signature certificates is required by companies and trusts for GST registration Digital Signature Certificates (DSCs)ion and filing, company or LLP registration, IT Return e-filing, obtaining DIN or DPIN and filing other forms with the MCA and IT department. It verifies the person’s identity as against a pre-verified, trusted database.
Class 3: Class 3 DSCs are the most secure type of digital signature certificates available in India. They are used for e-tendering and to participate in e-auctions. To get a Class 3 DSC, the person needs to present themselves in front of a registration authority so as to prove their identity.
Advantages of Using DSC to Sign Invoices
1. Bulk signs all kinds of documents like Form 16, challans, contracts, statements etc.
2. Save time as documents do not have to be signed individually by hand.
3. Search, retrieve and archive documents with ease.
4. An integrated workflow that works with signing, transfer, processing of electronic documents that can happen within the system.
5. Cut down on as much as 70% of the cost involved in the manual process.
6. Ensure that the authenticity and integrity of data are well-protected.
7. Digital signatures are a go-green initiative, an eco-friendly option and a clear alternative to the paper-intensive processes.
8. Digitally signed documents are legally validated by the Indian IT Act, 2000.
How Can Different Industries Use DSC?
DSCs are used to bulk sign forms, agreements, contracts, etc, in departments such as Human Resources, Finance & Accounting, IT & Admin, Sales, Marketing, Supply & Logistics, and others. This eases out the process of paperwork while making a huge impact on the costs saved.
Banking, Insurance, Education, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Legal firms, Consultancy firms are some of the industries that can reap maximum benefits by using DSC for invoice signing and integrating it with their core functions.
Banks are using DSCs to bulk sign documents like financial instruments, account statements, and agreements. This makes customer account management, loan origination and consolidation, loan account management, handling KYC, etc, convenient and faster.
The Insurance industry is highly dependant on signatures from the adequate authority for multiple business processes like insurance applications, claims processing, document endorsement, policy changes and maintenance, invoices, receipts, etc. This leads to a huge number of forms that need to be signed by the authorized signatories on a daily basis. With the help of DSC, all the documents that require signatures can be signed in bulk.
Telecom companies can use DSC to bulk sign documents for processes like new connection authorization, document verification, invoices, service approvals, VAS approval, etc. The efficiency of these services plays a critical role in the delivery of telecom services.
Even Educational institutions are switching to DSC to bulk sign marks sheets, transfer certificates, conduct certificates, notices, grants, rewards and recognition, accreditation certificates, etc.