For each contract in your portfolio, there are a number of key elements to track including approvals, reviews, notice periods and renewal & end dates.
Across the lifecycle of a contract, you will also need to track performance, compliance and risk in order to protect your business and maximise the value of all agreements.
If your business is still using manual processes such as Excel spreadsheets for contract tracking, or a combination of shared drives and emails, it can be difficult to achieve a clear line of sight resulting in:
- Poor communication and collaboration
- Missed renewals and delinquent spend
- An inability to monitor contract risk
- Inefficiencies within Legal and Procurement teams
In this article, we explore how businesses can achieve effective contract tracking, reap the rewards of greater efficiencies and how contract tracking software can help.
The Advantages of Contract Tracking Software
1. Gain complete visibility and track your entire portfolio
Manual contract tracking can quickly lead to a fragmented view of the business’s portfolio. Evidence of this can be found when:
- Shared drives have multiple versions of the same document with different dates, naming conventions and clauses
- Tracking spreadsheets have empty cells or out-of date information and a lack of audit trail to see who has made changes.
Contract tracking software allows you to securely store your contracts in a central repository, giving your business a single and accurate view of its entire portfolio.
ContractNow increases the efficiency and accuracy of metadata capture through artificial intelligence. Its AI Extract engine automatically extracts key information and creates a digital contract record that is stored securely in the central repository.
Contract tracking becomes seamless as stakeholders can have confidence in the accuracy of every existing and new record, while knowing that they are working from a single source of truth.
2. Save costs by preventing unnecessary renewals
Successful contract management relies on a foundation of ongoing activity taken in response to key dates.
The ability to track notice periods and renewal dates, as well as see this critical information at-a-glance, requires a more robust approach to managing contracts than can be offered by the manual nature of spreadsheets or fragmented nature of shared drives and email.
As teams turn their attention to more strategic goals that align with the business’s overall objectives, they are less likely to dedicate time to regularly going through inboxes or multiple sources to check and monitor contract dates. Even if they do, it can be a huge time-sink and distraction from things that really matter.
Contract tracking software eliminates the need to manually refer back to individual documents or spreadsheets to find out key dates. Instead, your business can automatically centralise end-dates and renewal dates so you can complete contract reviews and negotiations ahead of time.
ContractNow takes the hard work out of tracking renewals by using key dates to trigger automated notifications to stakeholders ahead of time.
This prompt for early action allows businesses to stop contracts from auto-renewing and gives them time to agree better terms and deliverables with suppliers - creating cost-savings as a result whilst helping to protect the business’s bottom line.
Easily see all contracts coming up for renewal
3. Monitor compliance and mitigate risk
Spreadsheets and shared drives may give businesses a place to store contracts, but they don’t provide alerts about the compliance status of each third-party. When manual processes are in place, too much time is spent on administrative tasks such as tracking:
- Expiry dates for certificates required for regulatory compliance
- Key clauses including Force Majeure
- Whether contract obligations have been fulfilled
Without a quick way to access and see this information, your business could leave itself exposed to risk without even knowing it. Instances of non-compliance could lead to financial and reputational consequences.
Contract breaches can lead to costly resolutions if identified late and could lead to operational failure if they’re not identified at all.
Contract tracking software automates risk monitoring and prompts stakeholders to take action, helping businesses to take remedial action ahead of time.
ContractNow gives businesses the power to easily search their contracts and records for key clauses and language and sends alerts to stakeholders when certificates required for regulatory requirements are coming up for expiry.
By tracking compliance, businesses can monitor risk and plan effective mitigation strategies.
Track the status of all contracts and related documents
4. Customise dashboards to analyse, track and optimise contractual costs
The collaborative nature of contract management means agreements pass through multiple departments including Legal, Procurement and Finance. If all departments are relying on manual processes or making standalone versions of agreements, it becomes difficult to know what is being spent, where and by who. As a result, your business could be:
- Failing to realise the full value of its existing agreements
- Spending money on duplicate services without knowing it
- Spending at a level greater than forecast
Contract tracking software centralises financial information, creating a single source of truth so your business can see its spend across all departments along with who approved it, when and what the value is.
ContractNow also allows you to go one step further when tracking contractual costs. With data-driven dashboards, you can drill down into spend data and view:
- Overall spend data across your chosen period
- How much your key contracts are worth
- How much spend is dedicated to each supplier type, category or team
Tracking contractual spend and costs with dedicated software gives your business the opportunity to identify consolidation opportunities, prevent future duplicate spend and share accurate financial information with relevant departments.
ContractNow's Executive Dashboard allows you to see contracts at a glance
5. Be audit and review ready
Businesses with large volumes of contracts or portfolios that are complex have to dedicate a lot of time and resources to prepare for contract audits and reviews. This is especially true for businesses that are working with fragmented data.
Locating information, making sure it’s up-to-date, gathering information from across different departments and reviewing all documents associated with every contract record can quickly overwhelm teams.
Contract tracking software streamlines audit preparation, reduces contract administration for in-house teams and gives teams confidence that they are always working with complete and accurate records.
ContractNow provides a complete history of all contracts, as well as the files and documents stored against them. Each stage of the contract’s lifecycle, including approval route and signatory can be viewed in one place - along with name, time and date stamps to drive accountability and compliance.
The transparency offered through contract tracking software means that individuals within contract administration roles, Legal or
Procurement no longer need to spend hours sifting through their inboxes or shared folders to find the most up-to-date version of a contract. The ability to review a contract and prepare for audits becomes slicker and saves valuable time.
See a complete history of all actions made against your contracts
Contract tracking software allows businesses to automate their internal processes, create a single source of truth about their contract portfolio and gain total visibility to always stay one step ahead.
With the entire business being able to view accurate and up-to-date records, collaboration is smoother and teams are made accountable as all elements of the lifecycle are tracked and recorded.
Tracking key elements such as renewals, compliance and performance will allow businesses to maximise their value from existing agreements, negotiate better terms and minimise contract risk.
To find out how ContractNow can help your business to track its contracts, book your demo today.