When it comes to contracting, there are multiple processes in place. Not only is there all of the work that goes into drafting and creating the contract, but there’s also all of the contract management as well.
This loosely embodies all other elements of the contracting process, from negotiating to renegotiating and signing.
In pre-digital times, most of this would’ve been done on paper and in the same room as your clients. However, our shift to the digital landscape for the majority of workflow processes has presented huge benefits as well as new challenges.
We argue that in modern contracting, current digital workflows just don’t quite cut the mustard. So what’s the alternative?
In this article we’ll cover:
- What current contracting digital workflows involve
- What exactly the problem with it is
- How contracting software can help you solve this problem.
Let’s get into it!
Current Contracting Workflows
When it comes to current contracting workflows, though the workflow may be digital (i.e, sent digitally to email), there’s still quite a bit of manual process involved.
Let’s take a look at what it involves in a little more detail.
Contract in Paper or PDF Form
Once the main contract points have been discussed and agreed upon verbally, a contract is drawn up for all parties to read and sign. This may be in either paper or PDF form.
Depending on how big the contract file is, you’ll need to upload it somewhere where all internal parties will be able to access it for approval or changes.
While in some cases, this may mean passing the physical document around the office, if you — like many others — find yourself working from home these days, then that won’t be possible. Instead, you’ll likely rely on a cloud-based storage system, such as Google Drive.
Email Chains to Get a Contract Signed
Once the contract has been created, reviewed internally, and approved, you’ll then need to organise for the various parties to sign it. Usually, with digital workflows, this will involve emailing each individual.
Of course, at this stage, there may also be some negotiation that will need to be passed on to all of the parties to agree upon. The result? Endless email chains.
And let’s not even talk about what happens if you require wet-ink copies!
Having to wait for those in the post can take an indeterminate amount of time, especially if any of the parties are overseas.
Contract Stored in a Folder on the Desktop or Drive or in a Filing Cabinet
When the contract is finally fully approved and signed by all involved, a digital copy will need to be compiled from all of the various versions, which is then usually stored somewhere on your computer (usually in a desktop folder, or elsewhere on your hard drive).
Alternatively, if you have wet-ink copies, those will need to be stored in a filing cabinet.
The Problem With Digital Contracting Workflows
While a combination of different digital solutions may have worked for contracting workflows in the past, today it’s all just a bit too time-consuming.
With the current workflow, the whole ordeal can be a lengthy process. This is especially true if there are significant changes or a number of different parties involved.
Here are some of the biggest issues with current digital contracting workflows.
You Can’t Easily Locate or Search Contracts
Unfortunately, the way that contracts are stored using current practices is not the most efficient method possible, especially if at some point down the line adjustments need to be made or renegotiations need to happen.
Digging up a contract that was signed, say, five years ago without an efficient search solution is not only time-consuming but also a waste of human resources.
And, if you’re trying to find one specific clause, you’ll need to read through the entire contract to find it.
You Can’t Easily Track Contract Deadlines
Tracking contract deadlines is one of the most important aspects, and yet the workflow processes for this are practically non-existent.
Perhaps you have a spreadsheet with contract deadlines or an email chain. Neither of these is particularly efficient, and it’s easy to miss something important along the way.
You Can’t Easily Track and Compare Contract Versions
If you’ve had to renegotiate a contract several times, you may find yourself with multiple versions. However, being able to either track or compare changes is a mostly manual process at present.
This is an incredibly inefficient use of time and could cause more delays down the line.
Contract Silos Within the Business
If you have various teams dealing with aspects of contract management within your business, it’s easy to end up with silos. And when silos happen, you can end up with a lot of frustrated employees, wasted time and resources, and waiting clients.
Current digital workflows actually encourage the formation of these silos. Without all being able to work on a single contract in one place, you’ll likely end up with either bottlenecks or duplicate work.
How Contract Management Software Can Help
So knowing the pitfalls of current digital workflows, how can you avoid these and have a better, more efficient contracting process?
In our opinion, contract management software can eliminate most of these issues.
A Centralised Place to Create, Manage and Sign Contracts
Within your contract management software, you’ll be able to move all of your contract workflows into one place.
That means no more endless email chains, no more wasted time and energy, and a much more efficient way to get what you need: a signature on the dotted line!
And, best of all: you can even search for and find your different contracts easily and quickly. That means that when it comes to revisions, renegotiations, or even needing to check some details, you won’t have to spend hours poring through files.
Tracking of Workflows Allows the Bottlenecks to Be Identified and Resolved
With contract management software, as all of the contract workflows are in one place, that means it’s easy to track what needs to happen and when. In turn, that means no more contract silos.
Standardised Contract Workflows Which Leads to Fewer Mistakes and a More Efficient Process
Finally, using contract management software will ensure that everyone follows the same workflows.
Standardising processes is a huge benefit for your business — if everyone knows what they need to do and when then it not only makes the process much more efficient, but there are also likely to be a lot fewer balls dropped.
The result? Happy employees who know exactly what they need to do, and happy clients!
Current digital workflows are inadequate for modern contracting. Not only is it time-consuming, it’s also frustrating for everyone involved.
Instead, the biggest thing you could do for your business is to update your workflow processes from a multitude of digital processes to a one-stop storage solution for it all with a contract management system.
Not only will it save you time and money, but it’ll also improve your processes, employee output, and customer satisfaction!
Convinced and not sure where to start? Why not get in touch with us and see how Legislate can move you and your contracting into a sleek, modern, well-oiled machine!
The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.