Contract creation is vital in the beginning stages of a contract lifecycle, so it follows that an essential element of contract management should be a contract template feature.
Most businesses and organisations have traditionally relied on sharing documents and contracts via email and document management systems. As well as being made redundant with the advancement of technology and platform integration, this style of contract creation creates numerous bad practices.
To streamline the document creation process and avoid the issues and pain points associated with the initial phase of a contract lifecycle, many businesses are implementing automated contract template software.
What are Automated Contract templates
An automated contract template is simply a legally written document that acts as a control or master version, to be used as a basis for future contracts. It has editable fields to allow for detailed changes and clauses, as well as any specific obligations required by either party.
What are the Benefits of Automated Contract templates?
There are many benefits to creating automated contract templates. Automated contract software enables you to create standard contract templates with key fields and elements that can be configured for different obligations and clauses, as well as being easily edited to include the different details of each contract such as names, dates, contract start etc.
One of the main advantages to automated contract templates is control. The owner of the templates (usually the legal team) can adjust the template at any point to mirror current business and economic circumstances, allowing for progression and change. Having the ability to adapt can help keep your business stay at the top in your industry.
Another benefit to automated templates is how much quicker the initial stage of your contract lifecycle process becomes. For businesses that deal with a high number of contracts daily, or are experiencing a period of high growth, the creation of contract templates that work for you, allows timesaving without compromising on contract quality.
Not only does having pre-approved contract templates that can be configurable to specific clauses improve productivity during contract creation, by allowing employees immediate access to standard contracts without time consuming oversight from the legal team, but it also helps ensure compliance with any legal or regulatory rules.
One of the biggest problems' businesses may face during the initial contracting phase is version control. There is no control over the integrity of the contracts, and as contract creation usually requires the input of a variety of people, from sales, legal teams, to any third parties involved, versions can be easily changed and lost. As version control is vital for maintaining good business practice, automated contract templates can really make a difference to your contract creation with full control over the master templates.
So, if you think automated contracts could work for your business, how do you do it?
How to Create Automate Contract templates
The first step to creating automated contract templates is to find an automated contract solution.
By finding automated contract software that is also compatible with whatever systems and applications you currently use, Microsoft Word for example, you can make the integration of the software simple and more user friendly for your employees. For example:
The automated contract solution offered by Symfact, means the software can integrate with a range of different contract management systems and software. Existing tools that are already being successfully used within your business can also be retained and implemented into the new, automated contract platform.
So, you have your software solution, the next step would be to assign the role of contract owner i.e.: who would have control of the templates. For most businesses, this would be the legal team, although a good contract manager or procurement team may be an alternative.
They would then create and design the contracts in the software editor. Symfact has an easy-to-use contract creator, with a dashboard to easily search for contracts and contract templates by using keywords. If you would prefer or would also want to add existing contracts into the software, you would need to make sure the automated platform supports this function.
With Symfact you have the benefit of a drag and drop interface, meaning existing documents and contracts can be moved from your PC straight into your automated software.
At this stage it is also good practice to consider a standardised library of terms and clauses, not only does this help quicken the contract creation process, but it can also help identify any contracts that may include unilateral termination provisions or indemnification clauses for example, particularly relevant given the worldwide effect of the coronavirus pandemic.
Once you have the contract content, the final step is to assign and format the key fields (name, business, contract dates, contract renewal, obligations etc) that will allow for configuration. It is also important to make sure there are parts of the contract that cannot be edited or configured except for the document owner.
Most software providers will provide everything you need to integrate your new automated software, including support. Although most contract management systems are user-friendly, with clear dashboards and processes, we understand that sometimes it can take employees some time to get used to using an automated system. At Symfact for example, we can embed training videos and tips with lots of useful information and “how to” guides, as well as phone and email support, which can ensure a smooth rollout of the software and a great user experience.
Automated software can help businesses digitize, create, and manage their contracts at every stage in a contract lifecycle process. Due to the modern advancement of current technology, there really is no reason not to implement contract management software to improve the efficiency of your business and stay at the top of your industry, and if your business experiences quick growth, you will already have the management system in place to deal with any expansion of your enterprise.
By providing a centralised platform for storing documents and data and a framework for standards and control procedures, there is no comparison with between the available functionality in Word or Excel to automated software. Automated reporting tracks important information and has complete revision history, so you can see how contracts have changed over time and this ensures there is no issue with version control. You can also keep on top of all compliance management and processes by using the custom reports feature, which allows you to analyse operational data, workflows, information, and documents. Having access to this complete overview of your contracts allows you to communicate and present changes to contracts and key findings to the employees and stakeholders across the business or organisation. This can simplify the contract management process, especially with ever changing regulations, and can keep you up to date in the fast-paced economic market.
If you already have a system in place, automated software can integrate into any existing systems and provide you with any features your business needs to improve.
Simplifying the contract process with contract creation, document storage, managing commitments, better resource planning and electronic signatures, really can make a difference to your organization, so if you feel this is the right step to help you successfully manage your business contracts, the contact us at Symfact and start your journey towards an efficient automated contract management solution.