technology contracts
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This article is written by Anubhab Banerjee, currently pursuing BBA-LLB (Hons) from the School of Law, Alliance University. This is an article which deals with the professionals who need to learn about tech contracts.

Introduction

Globalisation has increased our dependence on the Internet in today’s world. There are various jobs and various kinds of work which are carried out by MNCs, small companies as well as by governments online. 

Increasing use of online platforms has facilitated e-contracts/electronic contracts/tech contracts in becoming a very important aspect of interconnecting people around the world. E-contracts are edging towards replacing conventional contracts because of certain advantages such as security i.e. through digital signature, ease of tracking and eventually the ease of constructing such contracts.

These are the kinds of contracts for which the user is just not limited to legal professionals, they have been simplified in such a manner that they can be used by varied professionals around the world. This article presents an idea about the use of e-contracts by professionals other than those related to law and the advantages of the use of such e-contract.

Other professionals who need to learn about tech contracts

The concept of e-contracts should not just be limited to lawyers. E-contracts have endless boundaries and various professionals in different aspects of life need to have a general idea about e-contracts.

Some of these Professionals who should have knowledge with regards to e-contracts are:

  • Chartered Accountants

They are the professionals who are responsible for handling accounting and auditing work across various sectors of the economy. They are responsible for performing tasks such as managing the finances of an entity, providing financial advice and helping their clients out with money management. They not only do this work for different businesses but also individuals and governments. With the advent of globalisation i.e. the world having been connected better and the rise of transactions through online mediums, it is important for them to have sufficient knowledge about e-contracts, as that would help them firstly assess the details about the contractual obligations of their clients well. And secondly, having sufficient knowledge about e-contracts also helps them in expanding their business through online forums, where e-contracts have become the most effective way of signing up for a particular service.

  • Company Secretaries

Company Secretaries are considered to be one of the most important organs of a business. Their main responsibilities lie in the areas of administration of a company. They look after compliances with regards to the statutory and regulatory provisions concerning the company they are working for. They are concerned with ensuring that the decisions of the board of directors are implemented in the policies of the company well. Company Secretaries are professionals who should be well accustomed to the concept of e-contracts as they need to check with the statutory and the regulatory provisions laid down by the respective bodies for a company to enter into particular kinds of transactions and advise their companies accordingly.

  • Contract Analysts

As the name suggests, contract analysts are people who help companies in avoiding disputes with regards to the contracts which they enter into. If any such disputes with regards to contracts arise then they can lead to lengthy court battles, huge legal costs, negative publicity, etc. and can end up being disastrous for a company. Thus, the work for contract analysts is mainly associated with saving the companies from such troubles which they might end-up entering into because of faulty contracts or any other obligations in a contract which might function against the principles of such a company. They are responsible for assessing every contract that a company they are working for are entering into i.e. they are responsible for analyzing all the clauses, stipulations and liabilities provided under a contract to ensure that such provisions suit the company. Thus, it is vital that they have proper knowledge with regards to the requirements and validity of e-contracts. 

  • Work from Home employees

As mentioned earlier, globalisation has played a huge role in bringing the world closer. Nowadays it is possible for potential employees to seek jobs from employers online i.e. employees can seek jobs in which they can work from home and are never actually required to be physically present at the offices of a company they are working for. These kinds of jobs can either be temporary, permanent or part-time. The considerations for such jobs are mostly done online and thus, the employment agreements between the employers and the employees are mostly through e-contracts. Therefore, the HR’s of a company who are hiring such employees and the employees who are applying for these work from home jobs, both should be well aware of the legal implications associated with e-contracts.

  • Brokers at the stock market

The stock Market and its functionaries nowadays have become online and have been made easily available to most people. People can now access the stock market from their homes. Although, for this, they need to enter into certain contracts and follow the required legal provisions associated with it. Most of these contacts are the ones which are performed online. An individual who is interested in the stock market and wants to invest or trade in stocks has to do so with the help of a broker. A broker is an individual or a firm which provides a platform for investing or trading for the people who are interested in doing so. They are basically the intermediaries between an investor and a securities exchange. A broker or a brokerage firm acts as an agent for its customers and charges a particular commission for their services. Since most of these services provided by the brokers are online, even the contracts which these brokers enter into with their customers are mostly by the means of e-contracts. Thus, it is important for them to have proper knowledge with respect to the functioning of e-contracts so that such contracts do not end up landing them into trouble because of a lack of knowledge and blindly following the market trends.

  • Retailers on different e-commerce platforms

Retailers are the people whom we generally know as merchants. They deal with buying and selling of goods with the purpose of earning profits. Retailers are the people who buy the goods from wholesalers and get those goods to the markets for the purpose of selling them to people with an intention to earn profits out of such transactions. These retailers or merchants can either have a physical presence or online presence. The retailers who have an online presence are the ones who should hold sufficient knowledge about e-contracts. As with the immense rise in e-commerce and mainly online shopping when we are concerned with such retailers, it has become important for them to have an online presence to keep a stronghold on the competition in the market. Most retailers nowadays are associated with e-commerce platforms for selling their goods. These retailers and the companies operating the e-commerce platform never actually meet in person, though, they have contracts which exist between them. This process is facilitated with the help of an e-contract. As e-contracts have become one of the most important aspects of e-commerce it is expected that even such retailers associated with e-contracts have a basic knowledge concerning e-contracts.

  • Governmental Officials

Government officials are the professionals who act as intermediaries between the government and the public. They carry out several functions such as coordinating legislative efforts by working with state, local and federal governments as well as the media. Government officials are responsible for performing research and managing internal and external communications on behalf of the government, as a part of their jobs. They are also responsible for creating policy proposals on behalf of the Government and work with different government agencies and the public in general. For the above-said functions they might require a certain degree of knowledge with respect to e-contracts as with most countries around the globe desiring to become digital economies, these people would need to maintain government records, along with checking or verifying such records which deal with e-contracts signed on behalf of the States. Thus, a certain degree of knowledge with regards to electronic contracts is required by government professionals.

  • Production Houses

Production Houses are basically businesses concerned with producing either live or recorded entertainment. They can be companies which are associated with hosting live concerts, facilitating the making and distribution of films and television programs, etc. Production houses are often responsible for financing films and television shows and hence are responsible for making budgets with regards to the cast and crew for these films. These production houses in their daily course of business come across several forms of e-contracts, which they are supposed to enter into. Thus, the members of these production companies who are the ones usually responsible for entering into such contracts should be well accustomed with the provisions with regards to e-contracts, as the lack of such information can end up causing huge financial losses to their companies in case of any mishap.

  • Sports Managers

As their name suggests these are the people who are responsible for handling the different business matters which are associated with the athletes whom they are representing. Certain professionals are even involved in managing different teams in the field of sports around the globe. A sports manager is the one who is responsible for arranging media events, managing relations, organizing promotional events, etc. for the teams or the players whom they are representing. They shall also be responsible for managing the finances for the individuals or organizations which they work for. It is a common practice among sports managers to hire players, coaches and staff for clubs, facilitate player transfer if the individual they are representing is changing his/her club, etc. Most of the work which is done by sports managers involves a huge number of contractual obligations. With the online platform being regarded as one of the safest means of storing data, a lot of the contracts handled by these managers on behalf of their players or clubs are constituted through online means and are in the form of electronic contracts. So having a clear idea and proper knowledge about e-contracts is very important for such sports managers in today’s world.

  • Nutritionists & Doctors

Health has become a rising issue in the lives of people because of the unhealthy food routines that we have developed now. This is where nutritionists come in and help us design our diets accordingly. Such healthy diets eventually help people in the aspect of improving their health conditions. Nowadays people do not have time to pay timely visits to a nutritionist. So most nutritionists have started providing online services for their clients or the people who opt-in for such. Doctors as well up to a certain extent provide medical advice to their patients online. There are certain e-contracts which they enter into when a customer signs up for their services. Thus, they should have proper knowledge about such kinds of e-contracts as there are various legal complications attached to providing medical and dietary advice to people and only when they are well aware about the functioning of e-contract should the doctors start giving such nutrition-related or medicine-related advice to their clients online. Otherwise, they might land themselves into trouble if those e-contracts are not tailored as they would have wished them to be and it might become very difficult for them to handle consumer complaints which arise due to the flaws in such contracts.

  • Fashion Designers

The fashion and textile industry is one of the most globalised industries in the world. As fashion is something which isn’t limited to just one area in the world but once a trend is set, it is followed throughout the world. Thus, designers and fashion related companies around the world are conducting their businesses across various areas in the world. The fashion industry might have a design made in India, manufactured in China and sold in Europe depending upon the cost and quality of products available across different areas in the world. Fashion Designers are the heart and soul of this industry. As most of the work carried out in this profession has such a global perspective to it, electronic contracts make it easier for people sitting at two corners of the globe to enter into a contract without actually meeting every time they need to enter into a contract. Fashion Designers have certain things to worry about such as the Intellectual Property Rights for their designs which are being sold to their clients. For such purposes when such a person is entering into an e-contract with his/her clients it is expected that they have minimal knowledge about such e-contracts so that they are not fooled by any aspects of such a contract because of which their hard work goes in vain.

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Advantages

The importance of the internet and e-contracts across several professions has already been discussed above. There are several advantages associated with having a certain degree of knowledge with respect to e-contracts. Some of the advantages which a professional who has knowledge about e-contracts would have over those without such knowledge are as follows:

  • Ease of Use

Online Agreements or E-contracts are very easy to use, as online templates for these agreements are easily available online. A person creating an e-contract just needs to choose a suitable template, fill in the required details and attach their digital signatures. Anyone can use e-contracts with minimal knowledge.

  • Low Transactional Costs

Electronic contracts automatically reduce the costs of an organization while considering the construction of a contract. As with such easy to fill contracts available, organisations or individuals do not have to hire legal professionals, who charge high legal fees, for the purpose of framing a contract for them.

  • Time-Saving

It saves time as for the purposes of entering into an agreement the parties do not have to meet each other physically and can perform all their obligations through an online platform where all required considerations for such e-contracts can be discussed, and then signed accordingly.

  • Helps in Avoiding Errors

Manually made contracts though are made with precision might at times have certain errors in them. E-contracts, on the contrary, are made and updated by legal experts and are proofread multiple times to avoid any errors in them. 

  • Enhanced Securities

All e-contracts need a confirmation to be attached to them by the means of a digital signature. Digital signatures help enhance the privacy and security of such contracts as once a digital signature is attached to an e-contract, it cannot be copied. Hence there is no manipulation possible for such contracts.

  • Reduced Operational Costs

E-contracts help reduce operational costs such as that of paper, printing, post, ink, etc.

  • Electronic contracts help improve customer service

E-contracts help businesses and individuals to connect with their customers faster as it is a simple process where such a digital contract i.e. an e-contract can be sent to a customer at any corner of the world and can be entered into in a matter of minutes. Thus, it helps save time and effort for both the customer as well as the business/individual.

  • E-contracts are much easier to monitor, track and find data associated with them

E-contracts are mostly available in online databases, which makes them all the more easier to be searched or tracked when required. Such is mostly not the case with usual contracts on paper as they are subject to being lost, misplaced, etc.

  • Environmental impact is almost negligible

With the world looking forward to more environmentally sustainable means in all sectors, e-contract plays a huge part. E-contracts eventually help reduce the usage of paper and ink which is a huge pro in this aspect.

What is the overall impact of such professionals knowing about e-contracts

There are numerous advantages of knowing about and using e-contracts. With the popularity of e-contracts rising through different professions and being applied at different instances because of the ease of using them, they are starting to have a huge impact on all sectors of life.

Before the advent of e-contracts professionals always had been heavily dependent on lawyers and legal professionals for the purpose of tailoring a contract as per their needs. This process of hiring legal professionals for such contractual needs used to cost these professionals a lot and now with e-contracts having come into the scene such costs have been reduced significantly and in some cases have even become negligible. There are free templates for e-contracts available online which can be tailored according to the requirement of these professionals by themselves. The only requirement is just some basic knowledge about e-contracts and digital signatures.

It’s not just the convenience of entering into contracts that is facilitated by the use of e-contracts. It has an enormous effect on the environment as well. The environment and its degradation has become a global concern. With the degrading quality of the environment, it won’t be long before the Earth is no longer able to support life on it. Thus has come up the concept of environmental sustainability according to which we should use the resources available on Earth in such a way that we end up saving those resources for the future generations to come as well. Paper has also been considered to be one of the materials which has a huge environmental impact. Be it the making of paper or be it dumping everything associated with paper, it has its own environmental consequences. Thus, if all professionals pledge to shift towards a digital medium for entering into contracts such as e-contracts instead of using the traditional forms of contract on paper, then such a step would eventually help save a lot of trees and help the environmental footprints for such individuals.

Along with all its environmental benefits, e-contracts in today’s date is considered to be a much-secured form of contract, which are easy to track as well. Considering all these factors the impact that e-contracts have on all of the above-mentioned kinds of professionals and others can be incredible with the increased use of such types of contracts. 

Conclusion

In today’s date, e-contracts are no more the future, they are an instrument of the present. More and more professionals and people around the world should start getting accustomed to e-contracts and their use. E-contracts have proved themselves to be an example of ‘technology making lives easier’.

References

https://medium.com/feelium-e-contract/advantages-of-e-contract-the-digital-way-of-contracting-d444b21409ab


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