What do I need to know about contract management in a business environment?

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Contract management is often underestimated in importance and is also misunderstood as a business process within an organisation.

So what exactly is contract management? Every business has suppliers, customers or partners and for each of these there will be a contract or agreement which documents the terms and conditions relating to products and services supplied or defines parameters which have been set. The management of these contracts starts with the negotiation stage and carries on through all the other processes which lead up to the production of the final legally binding agreement between parties.

After an agreement has been reached it remains equally important to continue to manage all contracts efficiently to ensure compliance and to avoid over payments or missed renewal dates. The problem for most businesses, however, is that contracts and agreements are in paper format and there are no formal procedures in place for managing them. The solution to this is to use contract management software to automate the contract lifecycle and standardise the processes enterprise wide. A contracts management system stores all documents electronically and has workflow to ensure that every process is completed before moving on to the next stage. Current paper based contracts and associated documents can be scanned into the contracts management system and if in house resource is an issue, the scanning can be outsourced to a document scanning bureau. Automated email alerts ensure that deadlines are not missed and audit trail and reporting features make it easy to track activity within the system and monitor costs.

For further information and advice on contract management and contract management systems, please click here or call The IPC Group on 08081 45 46 47.

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