How To Manage Your Contracts with Contract Management Software

How to Improve your contract management system

Let Me Ask you a question.

Be honest …

How would you describe your contract management system?

• Disorganized?

• Outdated?

• Understaffed?

• Manual and inefficient?

• Non-existent?

Well if you said anything other than, “A streamlined, automated machine...”

You’ve come to the right place.

Assuming you have a contract management system, it’s likely a cumbersome process, with your employees scrambling around.

  •  Sending countless emails back and forth.
  •  Comparing different versions of the contract to find the most recent one.
  •  Trying to track down the person with signing power.
  •  Missing crucial deadlines, terminations, or upcoming renewals.
  •  Losing opportunities to renegotiate tough terms.
  •  Suffering payment errors and penalties, and even increasing your risk of litigation.

They’re busy. And they try hard. But are they really able to keep up with manually tracking and administering the piles of contracts that virtually every business generates?

Yet at the core of every business today are contracts.

They govern everything from employees’ daily actions to even the business entity itself.

So if you want to grow at the speed of business these days without increasing your risk of cost overruns and litigation, you need a streamlined and automated contract management system.

In fact, according to Entrepreneur Magazine, if your company has more than 10 contracts, you will benefit from even a basic contract management system.

But how do you do it?

How do you:

Keep all of your contracts at your fingertips so they never get lost.

Stay on top of expiration dates and milestones

Keep alert to upcoming renewal opportunities

Streamline your approval process

Equip yourself to meet obligations and enforce your rights.

And how do you build a system customized to suit your exact needs?

And how do you do it if you’re not an expert contract manager yourself?

Fortunately, we have an answer. It’s called Contract Assistant.

With Contract Assistant you’re covered in the three most important facets of contract management:

1. Contract Storage

 With Contract Assistant:

✓ Your contracts are accessible at a moment’s notice

✓ Your contracts are stored in virtual file cabinets so the documents can never be lost or misplaced.

✓ Contract Assistant helps to centralize all your contract information for easy retrieval and reporting and supports multiple databases.


2. Contract Tracking and Search ability

✓ Once inside the Contract Assistant database, nearly all of your contract data fields are changeable. Customizing at this level can be done by an administrator and requires very little technical prowess.

✓ Our Standard and Pro editions offer robust Overview and Notes & Comments tabs on the bottom of every contract. These tabs can hold a huge amount of information for a notes section all of which can be searched and reported so you’ll never misplace your notes again.

3. Reporting and Alerts:

✓ Alerts are essential because managers need to be notified that a contract is automatically renewing, expiring, or a key provision is about to take effect.

✓ With Contract Assistant, contracts are accessible and constantly top of mind so you can enforce contractual obligations and collect all revenue that’s due to you,

✓ Users can set multiple alarms to ensure that deadlines are not missed and can search the database for contracts using keywords.

✓ The software offers multiple security options including read-only databases, role-based permissions, field level security and security access groups

Once downloaded, the software is easily navigable and very intuitive, which means a low and fast learning curve for you. And thanks to our Quick Start Guide, you’ll be up and running within hours:

Upon first opening the software, users are immediately directed to a helpful tutorial entitled, “Entering a Contract in 10 Easy Steps.”

And if your company manually keeps track of your contracts in Microsoft Excel, Access, or SQL, Contract Assistant can help with the transition by migrating existing contract data into the Contract Assistant Software so you can be up and running in no time.

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When you’re done, you’ll have a coordinated contract management system that is customized for your company and manages your contracts like a streamlined automated machine.

Imagine being able to finally be able to keep all of your contracts just one click away. So they will never get lost. You can stay on top of expiration dates and upcoming renewal opportunities- as well as enforce your rights.

You can do all of this all while minimizing your risk of litigation and expensive renewals of unfavorable contracts.

Thanks to our simple, flat rate pricing you won’t blow your budget.

This is how a great contract management systems are built.

Now there are more complicated and expensive systems out there…

But ask yourself.. Do you really have the time and resources to learn all the confusing bells and whistles of overly complicated systems? Or do you want to get up and running fast? And not be frustrated relearning how to do complicated things every time you need to change something?  Not to mention all the hours you have to spend learning these systems.

So here’s what you need to do next…

Just sign up today and let our industry recognized software transform your messy file cabinet system of contact management into a streamlined, automated machine.

And best of all, if you worry about your data being safe on the web, Contract Assistant software runs locally. So you can rest easy.

This is how great contract management systems are built.

So sign up today. Contract Assistant.

How To Improve Your Contract Management in 4 Easy Steps

Fastest Way To Improve Contract Management


What’s the fastest and easiest way to improve your company’s profitability by 9%?

According to research by the independent International Association for Contract & Commercial Management (IACCM), the answer is to improve your contract management. 

So what is contract management and how do you improve it?  

It’s been defined as “ The process of systematically and efficiently managing contract creation, execution, and analysis for the purpose of maximizing financial and operational performance and minimizing risk.”

The benefits of contract management include:

• Spend visibility:S Lets you know if you are buying from the right suppliers, at the right times, in the right quantities and prices.

Risk reduction: Contract management ensures you are on top of vendor compliance and performance, so you can take appropriate action if needed. 

Cost Savings: Having a system in place streamlines contract creation, authoring, and the negotiation process, making more it efficient and less expensive. In addition, software solutions have built in alarms that can notify you when unfavorable contracts are due to be renewed. This allows you to renegotiate unfavorable terms and prices. 

Then what is the fastest way to improve contract management?  Well, it’s actually simple. You need to have just two things:

All your contracts in one place, so you have access. 

An organized, systematic plan. 

Sounds easy, right? Yet shockingly, most companies lack a clearly defined contract management system and it costs them a fortune. According to some experts, many companies incur more than 50% of their costs in contracts. (In the case of the Oil & Gas industry this number can be as high as 70%).

So having an organized solution is essential. But how do you do it?

Step One To Improve Your Contract Management System

 The first step boils down to going through your entire organization, finding all of your contracts and getting them in one place.


Access. You need to have quick access to your contracts. You want to be able to click a button and find the information you are looking for immediately, versus searching through mountains of files and drawers to find it. Just doing this first step will save you hours of wasted time.

The ugly truth is that your contracts are probably scattered throughout the company. So you will need to go in virtually every department and find them. Once you accomplish this, you’ll need to come up with a plan. 

Step Two To Improve Your Contract Management System

The second step in designing your plan to improve your contract management is to determine how much data you actually need to track in your contract management system. The amount of information you need to have can vary greatly from business to business. Some companies will need tack the minute details of contracts because of stringent industry standards. While others only want to know the beginning date, the ending date, who is involved and the value of the agreement. The decision you make at this stage is crucial to the success of your system. If you try and track too much data or information that is non-essential and your system will be cumbersome and squander resources.  Not tracking a sufficient level of data and your system will not be effective. 

4 Questions to Improve Contract Management

4 Questions to make a better tracking decision for improved Contract Management


To help you make a better decision, here are four quick questions to ask yourself:

• What is the detail level you would expect to have in your contract management system?

• What is the level of detail that you absolutely must have?

• How many resources would you like to attach to your system?

• How many resources can you afford to allocate to your system?

Answering these four questions will help you come up with a contract management system that you can feel comfortable with, will work for you, and not waste your time and money. If you already have a contract management system in place, you can use the answers to improve it.

 Remember, at the end of the day the most important part is that you have access to all of your contracts -whenever you need them.  You’ll know where they are because they are either attached to files or they are in a database software. You can easily access all of your contracts and the important information in them. By following these steps, you’ll improve your contract management system, and in the process improve your company’s profitability.

See this content in video form:

Source: Value of contracts falling worldwide

Down red arrow

At what point does an “interesting trend” become “the new normal?”

That’s the question raised by the most recent ISG Outsourcing Index, a quarterly report issued by advisory services firm Information Services Group (ISG). The index tracks the number, type and value of contracts worth more than $5 million worldwide.

In its most recent report for the second quarter of 2015, ISG notes that the number of contracts hit an all time high — but the overall dollar value of these contracts is 7 percent lower that last year’s second quarter.

For the first half of 2015, the annual contract value (ACV) of all contracts actually declined 14 percent from the prior year. (It should be noted, however, that the Americas, as a region, bucked the trend. The Americas posted a record number of deals — and an increase in values a well).

This trend of ever-more deals while values stagnate or fall has shown up in other recent quarterly reports. So how can the number of contracts hit an all-time high while values decline?

One result, many reasons

“We’re seeing a clear and continuing trend toward more deals at lower value. From the start of the recession in 2008 until now, counts have nearly doubled, while ACV has risen only modestly,” said ISG President and Partner John Keppel in a press release. “Technology has changed significantly during this period, which saw the beginning of the Digital As-a-Service revolution and its continuing pervasive impact on the global services market.”

That may be true, but there may be other factors at play here. For instance, in a generally harsher economic climate since 2008, there’s been extra pressure on companies to perfect just-in-time inventory practices.

The last thing many companies want when the economic outlook is hazy is a warehouse full of way too many goods. Warehousing large inventories, after all, is expensive (whether you own the space or not).

And although the Americas have been fairing better than other regions in the last 24 months or so, everyone is connected, as they say.

China’s economy may have recently stumbled — but the warning signs have been in place for a while. Europe still seems to be on the verge of its EU identity crisis every other month. And even growth in some parts of Asia-Pacific has been tepid.

In an economic climate like this, there may be pressure on buyers of outsourced services to be very conservative. Why make a large, expensive commitment with a partner for outsourced services when a couple smaller contracts may serve the same end?

It may be short-term thinking — and it may not even be truly economical, but it’s safer than presenting the CEO and CFO with a huge new bill.

Dealing with the “new normal”

In any event, this trend of more contracts for smaller values may constitute “the new normal” for those buying and selling outsourced services and products.

Assuming a contract is “done and done” when signed may be a luxury these days. For those in contract management on the vendor side, this should place extra emphasis on forming close, results-oriented relationships with customers.

That means keeping an unusually diligent eye on contract performance — like ensuring follow-through on periodic contract reviews.

For buyers of outsourced products on services, this also places extra pressure to review contract performance — there’s little extra budget these days for poorly performing outsourced work.

Is there any better argument for close contract management?

[About the author: Todd Hyten is a former business journalist who now writes about B2B topics and consults on content marketing. You can find him on Twitter and ]

What does agile contracting mean?

image of person balancing

It’s not every day you see the word “agile” in the modern business sense connected to the topic of contract management.

That’s why this recent post on the website for staffing and consulting company, Eliassen Group, caught our attention: Utilizing Agile in the World of Contract Management.

In the post, Rob Annis, senior agile coach for Eliassen Group, notes that “Agile” practices are relevant beyond the traditional areas it’s associated with (IT, software development, etc.).

They even apply to … contract management. Annis notes some examples of thinking “agile” that overlap nicely with recent thinking in contract management.

For example, Annis writes: “One of the key tenets of Agile is that of collaborative decision-making between customer and client” and “collaboration is a key part of Agile and should inform the contract writer’s behavior and its inclusion in the contract.”

This is a key theme of what’s been called outcomes-based contracting: the practice or exercise of a vendor and client collaborating closely on the desired end results of a contract — rather than a narrow concern with delivery of products or services in X quantity by Y date.

It’s a great way to discuss quality, not just quantity — and a way to build bridges and solidify relationships. So should we call outcomes-based contracting “agile contracting”? It’s probably not a good idea — but they are definitely in the same family of thinking.

You can find out a lot more about what people are saying about outcomes-based contracting in this blog post that also links to a great video.

The Eliasson Group post also reminded me of something observed among the winners of the 2014 Innovation Awards granted by the International Association for Contract & Commercial Management.

As mentioned in this blog: “It is clear that those companies reaping huge bottom-line rewards from contract innovation were willing to go deeper into the true nature of a business relationship than what a given contract demonstrated.”

So does this mean contract management is now a “hot” topic now that experts on agility are mentioning it? Well, I wouldn’t hold my breath on that … but it’s interesting how some similar ideas are popping up on what makes a good contract.

[About the author: Todd Hyten is a former business journalist who now writes about B2B topics and consults on content marketing. You can find him on Twitter and ]

Using calendars? You’re doing contract management wrong

Image of a calendar

Ever on the lookout for facts supporting the need for contract management (and, yes, CM solutions), we found this recent post by Brodies LLP, “Scotland’s largest law firm.”

In a survey of 138 businesses across Scotland yielded the following findings:

  • 22% said they had no system to manage contracts with suppliers or customers.
  • Of the remaining 78% who said they do have a “system” 57% reported their “system” was based on “spreadsheets, online calendars or paper-based filing systems.”

Did you spot the puzzling response in the fact above reported by Brodies LLP? We’ve heard of plenty of organizations that still file contracts in paper, or track them in spreadsheets. But calendar?

All we have to say is: if you’re managing contracts primarily by using a calendar … you’re doing it wrong.

It’s not as bad as it sounds of course: who doesn’t want to alert themselves to key dates? But, using a calendar sounds like all you’re concerned with is when contracts expire. And that can mean you are not managing your contracts as much as reminding yourself when to panic every year.

A calendar can never do what a database (such as Contract Assistant) can do for you: It can’t record all the elements of a contract, create financial summaries, and help you identify key parts of the contract. It also can’t provide a single record where all your many documents related to a contract can be stored (or linked to).

As some of you who work with contracts may know … the red-letter day that a contract expires is pretty much the wrong day to review a contract. It all needs to happen long before (30-60 days out, at least) that day pops up on your calendar.

The article posted on Brodies’ site also reports that 36 percent of those surveyed said they only review contracts “once or less” a year and another 10 percent said they don’t know. So that’s a total of 46 percent who appear to do the minimal — or less.

And what’s “less than once”? … You got it. It’s zero. Of course, someone could have just forgotten to check their calendar that day.

[About the author: Todd Hyten is a former business journalist who now writes about B2B topics and consults on content marketing. You can find him on Twitter and ]