What is a digital signature for and other questions about electronic signatures?

Aug 25, 2021 | Accounting and tax services

It is a complete reality: we live in a digital society. Today, we would not be able to carry out many tasks without a computer or smartphone, socially and professionally. In fact, we communicate via social networks, share information of all kinds and carry out financial and banking transactions digitally. Therefore, both on a personal level and for business agreements and transactions, security is a key issue, and this is where electronic signatures come into play. What is a digital signature for? Do electronic signatures and digital signatures mean the same thing, and are they the same as digital certificates?

Differences between digital signature and electronic signature

Since the dawn of time, the signature has been the validation or authentication of a document, except that it used to be done through an ink scribble and now, in this digital era, through an online encryption. However, when we talk about digital signature or electronic signature we tend to confuse the two terms and use them as synonyms, when in fact they are not.

Electronic signature is a much broader concept than digital signature. It encompasses most authentications that all kinds of companies using electronic means use to validate documents and contracts. An example is signatures with passwordsused for transactions with financial institutions and banks.

A digital signature is a type of electronic signature that relies on encryption algorithms to apply mathematical operations. Because of its complex composition, a digital signature is characterised by its high level of security. Digital signatures also serve two main purposes: 

  1. For protect access to certain documents and files. For example, some companies encrypt payrolls or certain important financial files.
  2. So that, in the event that you are a responsible position or financial director, you can authenticate or validate specific documents and contracts and contracts.

In turn, the digital signature requires a digital certificate, which is the digital identity of the person or company (natural or legal). This is essential if you belong to or have a company with automated and digitised financial controls and internal processes..

How do I obtain a digital certificate?

The function of the digital certificate is to identify oneself on the Internet and to exchange data and information with other companies, organisations and individuals. It guarantees that only the parties involved in a communication can access certain information. It is therefore very useful for commercial and labour relations between customers and suppliers in which we want to maintain the confidentiality of sensitive data.

It is also very common to be required to have a digital certificate for transactions with the public administration. Councils, governments and all kinds of administrations are increasingly advocating the implementation and development of digital systems and applications. A good example is the TicketBAI system, a software for the control of tax aspects promoted by the Basque Government.

So, how do you obtain a digital certificate? This type of digital signature, which is so useful for providing security for certain operations, especially financial ones, is issued by several entities:

  • The Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre, which depends on the government.
  • The Technology and Electronic Certification Agencies of certain autonomous communities (such as Valencia or Catalonia).
  • The Directorate General of Police.

So, if you need a digital certificate, all you need to do is apply for it at the electronic office of these bodies. You can also obtain this kind of digital signature by downloading a file to your computer, smartphone or any other device. Alternatively, you can import or export it directly using an electronic ID card. 

Characteristics of digital signatures

We mentioned at the beginning of this text that the digital signature is, among electronic signatures, the most secure and guaranteed due to its complex mathematical encryption based on algorithms. In fact, it is what many call advanced electronic signatureIt belongs solely to the signatory, as it has been created with a series of personal data.

In addition, the electronic signature allows only the sender and the receiver to have access to a signed or validated document to a signed or validated document, with the assurance that they are the only ones interacting in the process. This is stated in Article 26 of EU Regulation 910/2014, as the issue of electronic signatures is already regulated at national, continental and global level.

How is the electronic signature used?

As mentioned above and in a more developed form, the digital signature serves to identify a signatory, certify the validity of the document signed and guarantee that the signatory is committed to what has been digitally signed. However, another common doubt in this regard is how this electronic signature is used.

To use the digital signature, you must first of all have the aforementioned digital certificate. If you already have it, you can sign your documents online with applications and services such as easyap. services such as easyap. With the solution we offer you, you can take advantage of two main benefits:

  1. Forget about paperwork, formalities and bureaucratic steps to first obtain your digital signature and then use it in your transactions.
  2. Considerable savings in time and savings in time and material, as you won't have to travel to your office or waste ink cartridges and printer paper, for example.

Thanks to applications such as ours, you can directly implement your electronic signature in the programme and use it for the documents you consider. We have more than 20 years of experience implementing systems for the administrative and financial management of companies from all types of sectors and from all over the world. This is the advantage of being a team that was created in its day by professionals from the world of technology and the finance sector. Would you like to meet us?

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