Is Contract Management Software An Essential Tool For Small Businesses
I am always on the lookout for anything that makes my life easier. My Nespresso machine (other brands are available) is a case in point. Where it used to take me ages to make a decent coffee in the morning using my older, more manual, coffee maker, now, I push the pod in, press the button, and away it goes – and it’s even better coffee than before – no commercial plug intended.
Automation, when done well, is our business friend too. Automating previously manual processes can save time, money, and if done well, can even improve on the original process. This is true for processes that involve documents too, like contracts and other documents. Contract management software is one of those automation tools that has taken a previously painful business process and automated it to remove those pain points. In doing so, it has also given us ways to make things more efficient.
What is Contract Management Software and How Does it Fit in With eContracts?
Contract management software is a method of digitizing contracts and the entire process around contract management. It also allows digital signing of the contracts within the process. Contract management software will allow you to gather the data needed to create the contract, and allow the contract terms to be negotiated. It will then follow that contract throughout its lifecycle, from review and approval to the capture of all of the required signatures, through to delivery of the completed and signed contract. It will also have tracking and auditing of the whole contract lifecycle. Contract management software with digital signature capability, like ApproveMe, will also be compliant with esigning laws like ESIGN, so is gives you more legal weight than even traditional pen and ink signatures.
Contract management software will also, often, have in-built alerts that allow the stakeholders of the contract to know when they need to review and sign the contract. It can also let you know when the contract end-of-life is near, and other critical things such as questions over contract clauses.
The case for using contract management software is so compelling that lawyers, notoriously known for being behind the curve in terms of technology uptake, are even taking up using contract management software. Capterra is predicting that contract software will be one of the biggest trends in law technology this year.
Benefits of Contract Management Software
- Faster time to process and complete a contract – getting you the assurance of a signed contract quickly
- Cuts cost associated with scanning, printing, storage, and postage
- Reduce risks, associated with out of sync T&Cs. Audit trails can also alert you to any contract changes that you might not have noticed otherwise, keeping you aware of the nature of the contract as it changes
- Alerts to keep you and your stakeholders moving in getting the contract signed and closed off
- Centralized document repository for easy contract retrieval and archival
- Handling of contract templates so you don’t have to create new contracts each time – saving you money
- Ease of use – online access, from any device, means you can access contracts on the move
- Secure – contract access is controlled so only those who need to access the contract can do so
- Better client relationships – you show your clients that you are a state-of-the-art freelancer or organization and are easy to work with
More control – making a process, end to end, with in-built alerts gives you greater control over that process. You know what’s going on at any given point in the lifecycle of a contract
It’s green. Using electronic versions of contracts means that your office and business is more ecologically aware, saving money and the planet at the same time
Benefits of e Contracts that are Electronically Signed
- E contracts are becoming the norm and online working is being embraced as we carry out more and more of our home and working tasks online. North American’s are early adopters of technology and offering a technical solution to a manual business process is likely to be accepted
- Electronic signatures are strong. Unlike their wet counterparts, it’s hard to fake them as their application is associated with controls like strong encryption
- Prevent contract tampering. If someone changes an electronic contract without permission, an online signature becomes invalid, and an audit trail shows the change
- Easy to use, from anywhere. With ApproveMe’s e signing platform, you just need a device and a browser to sign
As a freelancer or small business, we are in competition with a lot of other companies. We need to give ourselves an edge, not just in our core offering, but across our entire business. We have to offer unique selling points and build them into our business model. Automating the process of contract management and e contract signing is one way to do that. If you can use a tool, like ApproveMe that integrates into your existing website, keeping your own branding, then even better. You will show your customers that their time is important to you, whilst ensuring that the contract is quickly delivered.