How much of DocuSign’s revenue comes from haram?

DocuSign earns its revenue from the following revenue sources:

  • Subscription:

DocuSign offers cloud-based solutions for e-signing and managing documents and collects a recurring fee to use its software suite and technical infrastructure.

DocuSign’s cloud-based products include:

eSignature for sending and signing agreements.

CLM (Contract Lifecycle Management) for generating, negotiating, acting on, and storing agreements. 

Insight uses AI to search and analyze agreements by legal concepts and clauses.

Analyzer uses AI to analyze inbound agreements, detect the presence or absence of clauses by their type, score their risk, and extract key terms.

Gen & Negotiate for Salesforce allows sales representatives to generate customizable agreements within Salesforce and offers support for approvals, document comparisons, and version control.

Identify for checking government-issued IDs.

Payments to collect signatures and payment in one step.

eNotary to execute notarial acts electronically. 

DocuSign also offers industry-specific solutions including “Rooms for Real Estate” for brokers and agents to manage real estate transactions digitally, “Rooms for Mortgage” to create and close mortgages, eSignature solutions for the U.S. Federal Government, and eSignature solutions that support electronic signature practices established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

  • Professional Services & Other:

Includes fees associated with consulting and training services to assist customers with implementing and using DocuSign’s software suite. 

The contributions from each of DocuSign’s revenue segments in their 2020 annual report were as follows:

An area of concern for Practical Islamic Finance is DocuSign’s “Rooms for Mortgage” service, which involves assisting in creating and fulfilling interest-bearing loans.

The company states, “DocuSign helps banks get loan documents completed faster so you start earning interest sooner.”

DocuSign does not disclose how much revenue it generates from this service.

Consequently, it is difficult to determine how much DocuSign’s  “Rooms for Mortgage” service contributes to its overall revenue.

Practical Islamic Finance concludes:

Since we don’t have any hard numbers to go by regarding the revenue from facilitating riba-based contracts, we can’t be certain whether this revenue is material to DocuSign’s business. 

That said, having a separate distinct service called “Rooms for Mortgage” suggests that it is likely material.

At Practical Islamic Finance we would rather err on the side of caution especially in matters relating to riba given the seriousness of this sin. 

Accordingly, our conclusion is that a material part of DocuSign’s revenue comes from haram i.e. facilitating riba-based contracts.

Does DocuSign rely on interest to operate?

According to the company’s annual report for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020 (Numbers in thousands, U.S. dollars):

Interest Expense: $28,601

Total Expenses: $1,626,902

Interest Income: $7,731

Total Revenue: $1,453,047

Interest Expense / Total Expenses: 1.76%

Interest Income / Revenue: 0.53%

Practical Islamic Finance concludes:

Riba is used but is not relied upon in DocuSign’s operations. 

What is DocuSign’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) impact?

Environment

DocuSign states, Since 2003, the company’s services have helped replace over 20 billion sheets of paper with digital processes.

Accordingly, this has led to its services preserving over 2.5 million trees and 2.5 billion gallons of water required to make paper.

Social

DocuSign has an impressively high Glassdoor rating of 4.6 out of 5.0 from over 1,700 current and previous employees compared to a 3.3 average for all other Glassdoor rated companies.

Governance

No notable governance highlights.

Practical Islamic Finance concludes:

DocuSign has a net positive ESG impact.

Comfort Rating

From DocuSign’s business, financial, and ESG reviews, Practical Islamic Finance rates DocuSign stock as:

Uncomfortable to invest in from a Halal perspective.

Justification for Our Rating

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) cursed the one who consumes riba (interest), the one who pays it, the one who writes it down (documents the contract), and the two witnesses of the agreement, and he said: they are all the same (in sin).

It’s clear from this hadith that documenting riba contracts is a serious sin that Muslims should not be involved in.

While we weren’t able to find hard numbers that can quantify the contribution of revenue from documenting riba-based contracts, given it is identified as a separate line of business with its own name, we think this revenue is likely to be material to Docusign’s overall business. 

The risk of this revenue being a material part of DocuSign’s business is one that Practical Islamic Finance is uncomfortable taking. Hence our rating.

Sources 

DocuSign Inc. – Environmental, Social, and Governance

10-K

DocuSign for Banking 

DocuSign Reviews 

Authors