Contract managers play a crucial role in organizations by overseeing the entire lifecycle of contracts. From initial creation to completion, they manage the process every step of the way.
The contract manager is the primary contact between the company and vendors/partners. They coordinate the whole contract process from beginning to end. This article looks at what the role of a successful contract manager includes.
Defining the Role
The specific daily activities of a contract manager may differ based on the industry and size of the business. However, their core job duties and responsibilities stay the same across settings. Contract managers want to lower risk and raise the value of contracts. They do this by fitting arrangements to match company goals.
A contract manager develops plans daily, drafts agreements, negotiates terms and executes signed contracts. Tracking progress, metrics, compliance – it all falls on their shoulders. They lead the renewal, amendment, or exit process when arrangements wrap up. Managing relationships is critical.
Essential Skills and Qualification
Contract managers need various skills and qualifications to handle the complex job. Important abilities include:
- Relevant degree (business, law, procurement)
- Strong communication skills
- Organized and timely
- Knowledge of contracting processes, laws
- Contract management software experience
- Industry background
Key Duties and Responsibilities
Managing contracts requires excellent multitasking skills. Contract managers juggle a wide array of duties across the contract lifecycle. Some of the essential duties and responsibilities are as follows:
The contract manager is responsible for leading the contract creation process. They research suppliers and analyze options to pick the best partners. The contract manager also writes RFPs, does risk analysis, and makes plans to lower risks.
By collaborating cross-functionally, they gain a comprehensive understanding of business needs, which they translate into contract terms. Through their leadership, negotiating prowess, and capacity to facilitate win-win agreements between parties, the contract manager works with the legal team to finalise deals that benefit both sides.
The contract manager’s critical responsibilities during contract implementation:
- Confirming project plans, key dates, milestones, targets, and KPIs are established
- Providing stakeholder onboarding and transition support during the rollout
- Verifying proper insurance, licensing, and credentials are in place
- Managing the day-to-day vendor relationship as the primary contact
- Monitoring deliverables, milestones, and performance metrics for compliance
- Handling the formal change process for amendments, renewals, extensions, or exits
- Maintaining meticulous contract documentation and files
The contract manager closely oversees the relationship once the contract is signed to ensure adherence to agreed terms and conditions. They facilitate transitions, enforce obligations, manage progress, handle changes, and document everything related to contract execution.
Administration and Governance
Overseeing contract administration and governance is a big part of a contract manager’s job. They take on some essential duties to keep everything running smoothly, including:
- Contract managers Keep tracking tools, databases, and filing systems up-to-date to organize all the critical information.
- Putting clear protocols, workflows, and standards in place so there’s a process for how to handle contract paperwork and approvals. It keeps the workflow moving efficiently.
- Ensure e-signature and secure digital systems are supported so contracts can be signed and stored online. Technology makes contract execution a breeze.
- Helping with audits when needed and ensuring policies and compliance rules are followed. Checks and balances are necessary.
Contract managers help keep contract administration organized, efficient, and by-the-book compliant by taking care of these supercritical duties.
The critical financial management responsibilities of a contract manager:
- Budgeting and tracking contract costs to ensure approved spending limits
- Verifying accurate and timely invoicing from vendors
- Facilitating invoice approvals and resolving any billing disputes
- Monitoring payments to avoid late fees and take advantage of early payment discounts
- Conducting regular financial reviews and audits to identify savings opportunities
- Overseeing financial reporting and analysis for executive decision-making
- Working with accounting to ensure financial controls, record keeping, and compliance
It includes the overall financial governance including budget planning, cost handling, invoice processes, payment tracking, auditing, and analysis. Proper financial management is a vital part of the contract manager role.
Managing stakeholders well is an important ability for managing contracts. The contract manager is the main contact between the client company and sellers. They work with people within the company to understand needs and make sure contracts meet them. They build good relationships with sellers to promote trust and quickly fix problems. The manager gives regular updates about the contracts, changes, and how things are going. If issues come up, the manager works tactfully with everyone involved to find solutions that work for all.
Contract managers play a big role in strategy and operations. With all the complicated business deals out there today, good contract managers are really needed. Their special skills at managing risk, relationships, and outcomes are so important.
Qurat-ul-Ain Ghazali, aka Annie, is the growth manager at Contractbook and looks after all the organic channels. She has been with tech startups and scaleups for a couple of years with a B2B focus. You can find her socializing, traveling, indulging in extreme sports, and enjoying the local desserts when she is not working.