Wednesday evening, preparing the supplier meeting for tomorrow.
Going to your desk, confident. You open your business tool case “contract management tools and templates”.
One click in your SRM, you print out a vendor performance scorecard.
A second click in your contract management system, scrolling your contract database: you get an overview of your contract. In a couple of seconds you realize that you will start negotiating the renewal.
No big deal, you are ready, you have everything you need. You can go home and light up the BBQ.
Hey wait… Strong lights… You are waking up… This was just a dream!
If you want to see how this comes to reality in a very short time, you are here at the right place. I will introduce you my contract management excel spreadsheet and how to manage contracts in excel. But let’s start with the beginning.
What you need to know about Contract Management:
We need to set a common basis together. Contracts are one of the fundamental way that businesses generate revenue. Contracts are everywhere. Behind any purchase click on any platform.
Without a robust contract management process, valuable agreements and information can get lost. It results in potentially severe and expensive consequences. As contract volume increases, effective contract management becomes even more vital and necessary. It becomes a strong asset of strategy building and risk mitigation.
What is a Contract Management and Contract Management System?
Definition: contract management is the management of contracts made with Business Partners (customers, suppliers, partners or employees). It is the process of systematically managing contract creation, repository, execution, and analysis.
A contract management system, is a framework ensuring contract management. Usually Excel or software, this is the backbone of your contract core processes. The main processes associated to contract are:
- Creating: single contract and templates
- Signing: from negotiation up to real signing
- Archiving: getting contract in a safe place, with access rights managed and have an index of contracts, enabling control of dates
In everyday life, this can include the company policy on signing process and limitations (who-can-sign-what). If at this point of reading, you start thinking: “we do not have this”…
… Do not worry, you can start right here and right now. Managing legal cases is important. Some even hire a contract manager for this. Let’s see why.
Where to download the template:
Go directly at the bottom section of this article.
Why implementing systematic contract management?
This post goes into much more details, and provides as well an implementation checklist for starting a contract management project. Take a step behind an realize how much time and resources your company has invested in having a specific contract: defining a template, negotiating it, align with your insurance, check all compliance topics. And you would just put it somewhere without specific monitoring, hopping this will work out?
Hope is not a plan.
Worse case, you might even fail your contractual obligations. But even without going so far, you might just not get the best out of your contract. And even forget to request for other contract party to meets its obligations. In short:
- Breach of contract: you or undetected breach for counterpart
- Litigation costs
- Business damages:
- Relationships at personal or business
- Loss of employee
- Loss of customer or supplier
- Unforeseen costs
- Intellectual or Industrial Property
- Risks and uncertainty in conducting your core activities
When you’d rather wish not to ever use a contract and keep it at business relationship level, effective contract management is key to relationships between the contractual parties, fosters commitment and compliance, while mitigating risks. You don’t play with legal cases tracking and management.
You don’t play with risks.
Excel Contract Management Template:
You may still wonder why Excel for contract management software. Because close to 1 billion Excel users and so many specialists still see this software as THE tool.
What you see here is one of the two main views of legal case management system template. One single contract displayed with all its information:
This is perfect for a print-out or a screenshot into powerpoint.
Where to download the template:
Go directly at the bottom section of this article.
Features of Contracts Tracker Spreadsheet
The legal case tracking template has 2 tabs:
- Contract database template
- Contract Detailed view template
How to select a specific contract from the contract management database
Here is a classical drop-down menu, combining the name of the counterpart, the number of the contract and its version.
Key fields of your contract tracking excel spreadsheet
The second main view is the tracking of contracts in a list view. All fields are in rows for each entry of tracking tab.
|Unique Number||This is unique to the contract and all its versions and appendix||Signing date||The day you signed the contract|
|Version||Starts with 1 and change each time you release a new contract||Starting date||The date the contract is starting. Usually differs from signing date.|
|Current||Yes / No (is this the valid current version)||Duration||Total expected contract duration in years|
|Counterparty||The name of the person or organization you are signing with||Termination date||The date the contract comes to an end|
|Counterparty Owner||The name of your contact within the counterparty organization||Days to expiration||auto calculated|
|Business Owner||Your internal contract owner. Probably the one signing it or the person in charge within team of signing person||Next possible notice date||The date you have to quit a contract before next renewal.|
|Legal Owner||Your internal legal department or your lawyer||Days to next notice date||auto calculated|
|Category||See below parameters. This is segmented your database (partner contracts, HR contracts,...)||Auto renewal||Yes / No|
|Status||This refers to the contract management process chart: negotiation, signed,...||Value||Total expected amount of contract, in USD. May not always apply|
|Type||Is this contract strategic?||Annualized Value||Value divided by duration in years|
|Form||Paper / eSigning: helps to find the true original|
|Liabilities||An amount in USD, as per your engagement in contract. May not always apply.|
|Juridiction||Usually mentioned at the end of contract|
|Link||This is an hyperlink to the corresponding version of contract|
This is how you you get the most comprehensive contract monitoring template. For your own success.
How to add a contract into the contract tracker database
Just add a line into the table with right-click, add a unique contract number and the database is automatically updated. This is the right time to:
- create a link to your contract
- check your access rights are correct
This is really a matters of minutes for creating a contract database in excel. Full overview, pre-defined parameters, all configurable. Creating an entry in the database as easy as expected.
How to filters contracts in the tracker database:
There are numerous ways to filter the contract tracking spreadsheet, just a click:
The standard filters available are:
- Category: you can filter per category / department / type of contract. It depends on how you set the categories in the beginning.
- Status: whether a contract is signed or pending
- Business Owner: the one in charge of the contract from business point of view
- Legal Owner: the one in charge of the contract from legal point of view. Can be external.
- Alarm: one of the best features… When is my contract renewal etc…?
But you may build any filters and customize the file. There is no protection, no macro.
How to set and customize parameters of contract tracker in Excel
The contract lifecycle management in Excel covers all the life of the contract. All its phases. We have created specific parameters for all the contract life cycle and contract analysis. You can edit following parameters of the contract management spreadsheet:
Categories: a segmentation and classification of your contracts (Sales, Partnerships,…)
- Business Owners and Legal Owners: who is owner of the contract from the legal and the business point of view
- Status: is it already signed, still in negotiation,…
- Form: do you have a paper or a eDocument. Is long term critical when you need to deepdive
- Type: a second kind of classifications of your contracts. Is this strategical or neglectable
- Notification days: how many days in advance do you want to get notified before the contract is expiring (expiration reminder or renewal reminder)
All parameters of this case management excel template are provided with the default value, the most used, but you adapt it to whatever makes your situation specific.
Don’t spend too much time at the beginning in defining your categories in the legal case tracking template. Just start build your database, and you will soon realize, by doing it, which filter you would like. It takes a couple of seconds to amend. Do not over engineer at the beginning.
What data structure is needed in the background of the contract tracking excel template
Obviously the contract management database template implies a structured way of working. But this is straightforward. You just need a classical folder structure, possibly cloud based (google drive, MS Teams,…) to ensure right access management in a clean way:
- one folder per contract, including all versions and appendix, (and its unique number in naming is not mandatory but better)
- tight control on access rights
First time I built my contract folder structure when starting a new job as Group Category Director, I put all my focus on structuring the directories and folders to host all contracts versions, by name and version etc… This is obviously necessary, but shall not prevent you from creating the “index” out of it: this excel template. And the best way to marry both approaches, is to have one single document in .pdf for each contract, gathering the contract and the appendix (a little of Adobe would help). This way, only one hyperlink per contract.
Main benefits of the contract management template in Excel:
The three main benefits are:
- Classification and searchability: with all the parameters
- Not missing the deadlines
- Get your company a strong brick on the wall of risks mitigation
You can as well use the template for software renewals or more generally as agreement tracker. Whatever your use case, it helps to ensure your contract annual and renewal maintenance.
I can only recommend to lock the Excel spreadsheet, and for one person to become the one and only user. For compliance first, but as well risk is too big that people kill your file…
Free Download of the Contract Management Excel Template
To download for free the contract tracking template Excel format, register your email below, and upon submitting you will get a link to download.