To be successful in any role, one must have a variety of interpersonal and professional skills. Add to this a solid foundation of relevant expertise and certain innate personal characteristics. That being said, you still need a little more. Let’s zoom onto a key role of some organizations.
What do you do as a contract manager?
Job Description: Contract Manager
Contract managers are responsible for the different stages of a contract’s life cycle. They are involved in the drafting, writting and amendment of contracts, follow the process and supervise its execution. The overall goal of a contract manager is to ensure that the company achieves the best possible results from every contract in the portfolio.
Simply put, a contract manager ensures that every contract your company has signed fully supports your business goals and complies with the terms and obligations that the parties have agreed.
Why are they necessary for law firms and larger companies ?
Contract managers work in a variety of industries, but they are most commonly needed in law firms. Why? For two reasons:
- Every law firm deals with contracts on a daily basis. Contracts are simply part of their business model.
- Many organization externalize their contract management to law firms
Each company enters into a variety of contracts and agreements with its employees, customers, partners and investors. This goes from employment contracts and confidentiality agreements to distribution and procurement agreements. Each of these contracts requires the creation and management of contract terms, signatories, payment/identification/company details, budgets, supplements, contract changes, breaches and results. However, this is only a small part of the job description for contract managers.
What are the day-to-day tasks of a contract manager?
A contract manager job description: Contract managers act as a link between all parties involved in the execution of a new legal agreement. this includes companies, departments and employees. They serve as a one-stop shop for all parties involved in the process. They are ultimately responsible for ensuring timely execution, compliance with all regulations. They secure storage of all contracts throughout the organization.
While the day-to-day responsibilities of a contract manager vary greatly depending on the industry and size of the company, below is an overview of the standard tasks associated with this position. Contract management tasks are:
- Capture business requirements for new contracts
- Negotiate prices or insurance requirements directly
- Manage the contract library – securely store, organize, and retrieve all contracts
- Review and exchange redlines between both parties while managing design versions
- Definition of the approval chain and documentation of the approvals of the individual internal parties
- Track renewal and expiration dates
- Facilitating legal discussions on unresolved treaty issues
- Sending the completed contract for signature
- Ensuring compliance with the most important deadlines and conditions
Mostly, contract manager are using contract management software: see this other post for a free contract management template in Excel.
What qualifications should a contract manager have?
Contract managers need to have a wide range of skills as they work directly with many different departments. A thorough understanding of economics, finance, law, sales, procurement, and purchasing is beneficial. But there are also certain traits that can help someone in this position excel:
Technical skills of a contract manager
A contract manager’s ability to understand and adapt to technology will improve the quality of contract processes. Contract managers who are able to drive technological progress can ensure that processes and administrative tasks are constantly improved. They motivate teams by introducing change, reducing manual labor by automating and digitizing contracts. They keep their department on par with other departments in the company.
Communication skills of a contract manager
Negotiating conditions, directing others, and managing workflows requires strong interpersonal skills. A contract manager must be convincing, motivating and responsive. He needs to be able to communicate with everyone, from sales reps to C-level executives. Surely he needs to be able to deliver under pressure.
Attention to detail
Contracts are not easy to read. Anyone who has ever reviewed a contract knows how important it is to pay attention to details. Contract managers must have the necessary concentration, patience and a good eye to thoroughly review a complete legal document from start to finish. They must fully understand the terms set out in the agreement. It is crucial to be able to detect errors or undesirable provisions.
The contract manager is not only responsible for new contracts. He is also in charge of the renewal of existing contracts. This results in an enormous workload that increases every year. Managing contracts successfully without being overwhelmed requires organizational skills to juggle dozens, if not hundreds, of contracts at different stages of the contract lifecycle. You need to be able to find contracts quickly, plan important deadlines ahead. Moreover, you keep the negotiation and execution steps on track.
Contract negotiations can drag on for months or even years. When large sums of money are at stake, the thoughts and feelings of the various parties involved can take over. Contract managers need to be both emotionally intelligent and logical and reasonable. They can also face significant internal pressure to close contracts quickly. They often need to make quick decisions while balancing risk management and time to market.
Contract managers are the first line of defense when it comes to defending a company against legal risks. Contract managers need to be fully aware of the company’s risk tolerance and ensure that it is accurately reflected in all legal documents. Contract managers need to be able to manage risk on behalf of the company. Whether in securing final approvals, negotiating specific insurance requirements, or simply understanding a company’s reputation.
What is the difference between contract manager and project manager?
Contract managers and project managers both play an important role in companies that carry out projects for clients. While contract managers and project managers have some things in common, these two professional groups have different roles and require different skills and training to succeed.
If you are considering taking a job in contract or project management, you should know the differences between the two areas in order to make a decision.
Contract Manager Role – short definition
Contract managers are responsible for helping clients understand the language of the contract. You can even work with the company’s legal and finance departments. You ensure that the contracts are tailored to the needs of the company. Contract managers can also draft new contracts and check the legality of existing contracts. If they are part of a project team, they are also responsible for budgeting and hiring staff or materials required for the contract.
Project manager Role – short definition
The first step of project management is to meet with the business partner and develop a plan together with them. This includes information about where to get the best raw materials at the best price, budget, schedule and product specifications. The project is then supervised by a project manager who either assembles a team or oversees an existing team to complete the project. Throughout the project, the project manager will evaluate the progress of the project, fix problems and keep everyone involved regularly informed. Typically, a contract manager will be part of the project team.
For details, Wikipedia wrote it all :-).
Conclusion and contract manager responsibilities
Contract managers are critical to a company’s success because they monitor and manage contracts throughout their lifecycle. Hiring an experienced and knowledgeable contract manager ensures that all of your company’s contracts are concluded on time. The main task of a good contract manager is to adhere to the terms of the contract when drafting the contract, replacing all unfavorable clauses with favorable ones.