Keep your board informed of key contract dates

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It’s great to hear endorsements from our customers, but this comment really brings home a very important point about our contract management solution.

Here’s the feedback from customer Valerie Russell of Onslow Memorial Hospital (OMH):

“I would like to add that the software enables OMH to organize and control the contracts as well as allowing us to report monthly to the board on all the contracts which come up for review or renewal. This process was done manually before the software.” (Emphasis added)

If your business reports to a board of directors, be it public or private, there really is no excuse for not having a complete record of all in-house contracts. Board members – and especially public company board members – should really have access to all the information that affects the financial health of a business.

If you work in a public company, then you might be aware that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires boards to set up independent auditor reviews and the Act even governs some duties of a board’s audit committee.

While knowing the status of key in-house contracts and when they are up for renewal is not a requirement of Sarbox, it is exactly the kind of important information that board members should know.

Experts look at the books

Board members are often experts at looking at the expense side of the corporate books with a keen and skeptical eye. They are also usually not shy about asking questions such as “is the cost for X within industry standards?”

So board members are usually interested in exactly where the operating dollars are going, why and why they cost what they do.

That also means board members can be curious about how much of the operating revenue is going to which vendors, partners and suppliers – and why.

Database to the rescue

Note that in Valerie Russell’s feedback the observation that before implementing Contract Assistant, OMH reported contract information to the board “manually.”

We can’t know exactly how OMH did it “manually,” but there’s no doubt an organized database such as the one Contract Assistant builds, makes things a lot easier. A Contract Assistant user or administrators can classify contracts into default categories or customize category fields as they wish. And when users input important contract dates, managers can place “alarms” on important dates, such as 90 days before a contract comes up before renewal.

With the ability to classify contracts and to also see and search for all upcoming “alarmed” key dates, it’s easy to quickly identify “key” contracts that are up for renewal within a given period of time.

That’s exactly what a savvy board should be reviewing – or at least it is the kind of information a board member should have ready access to.

A “manual” method can’t duplicate that. Defining “key” contracts could easily become a subjective measure, and knowing key contract dates could be cumbersome if contracts are not stored centrally — or even easily accessible.

And remember, the job of keeping board members informed and up to date is the job of other fellow employees. A contract database such as Contract Assistant makes all contract information searchable. This means if you’re in charge of the contract database, you are making the jobs of other employees far easier with quick access to key information.

Your fellow employees will thank you for that – as well as your board members.

[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 ]