Contract management software allows you to manage contracts from inception to completion.
They are far more complex than mere document management software used to store draft and signed contracts, since they contain workflows to automate and route contracts and a number of more advanced features. There are several ways in which the software can benefit your business. Here are four reasons to get you started.
Your salesperson has filled out the form to request a contract be created for a particular customer. The appropriate individuals are assigned the task automatically, and the draft contract gets forwarded to the salesperson or legal for review. You don’t have to worry about critical steps being missed because the workflow typically won’t allow steps to be bypassed without an administrator’s approval. And those who are responsible for tasks are automatically notified of the assignments waiting for them, while they can delegate tasks to anyone else with the same skill-set. And you eliminate the need for management to know the status of every contract and perform those delegation tasks. The only precaution you need to take is ensuring that tasks and assignments aren’t routed endlessly between different employees, and this is where another feature built into most contract management software is useful.
Contract management systems give you the ability to run reports and check on the status of individual projects. Who is generating the most contracts? Who is behind on their reviews? How many contracts have you started this week versus closed? Who is getting a lot of work, and who is being underutilised? You can run other reports to see which customers generate the most work or are taking up the most time of your key legal personnel. Contract management systems also generate notices when critical steps may not be completed in time to meet schedule deadlines or when problems arise, so that managers don’t have to worry about contracts getting lost in the shuffle. And employees can see what work they have along with the priority and deadlines for each task. Reporting capabilities are built into every contract management system, though not all CMS have the same reports or let you import data from other sources.
Contract management software increases the efficiency of your knowledge workers. The use of contract templates so that they don’t have to reinvent the wheel is only one benefit. You can use time estimates for potential projects to better schedule existing personnel, determine if overtime is necessary or if you need to take someone off a project with more slack in the schedule to finish critical tasks on another assignment. You can assign data entry tasks or financial reviews to individuals you know will do it right, freeing up your most expensive talent to focus on their area of expertise. In some cases, contract management systems integrate with labour tracking tools and financial software, so you can automatically send invoices as work progresses or when the project is complete.
Poor contract management systems could have negative implications on your business. The systems provide a level of security that is hard to appreciate until you experience it. When someone finishes their work for the day and checks in the contract they’ve been revising, it is saved to a centralised data repository where it can be backed up yet again. You never again have to worry about a day’s worth of work on a critical project being lost because someone’s laptop computer was stolen. By automatically saving work in process as people sign out for the day (though they should be checking it in any time they take a break), you don’t have to worry about a corrupted file costing you a contract or losing the work of an entire review session because malware infected someone’s system.
Another benefit of contract management software is the security you gain from access control limits. No one can see the contract without the proper permissions, so you don’t have to worry about someone reading sensitive documents without authorisation. Nor can anyone accidentally make changes if they are only supposed to be able to read it and present it. Access control limits also prevent malicious parties from deleting files to hurt your firm on their way out the door. Conversely, only the appropriate people can delete the latest version of a contract and revert to the prior version, assuming the system has version control of documents.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of the best contract management software, click here.
A good CMS can benefit your business in more ways than one. Automation via workflows reduces the need to babysit the status of various contracts while ensuring all necessary steps are completed. Managers and employees are able to check on the status of work and prevent any contracts from falling between the cracks. Contract management systems make your employees more efficient. They do this while improving the security of your entire system from preventing unauthorised access to data to ensuring only approved individuals alter or approve actions.