Contract Approval Process: Mastering Contract Management Series

02/11/19

Improve your contract approval process

The contract approval process is a challenge for many contract management and contract administration professionals due to bottlenecks and human error that can lead to longer contract cycle times. Delayed contract approvals may fail to meet business rules, business processes, and compliance standards, leading to missed opportunity of time-sensitive pricing options and special terms. The challenges and problems are apparent, but what is the root cause of the issues with contract approvals?

The simple answer is that manual contract management processes cause issues with contract approvals because this method relies on spreadsheets, email, and shared drives for task management, contract redlining, negotiations, and approvals.

When Contract Approvals Go Wrong

A manual contract approval process is inefficient, lacks visibility, increases risk, and leads to miscommunication, confusion, delays, lost time, and lost money. Below are common challenges with contract approvals. Do these scenarios sound familiar?

  • Your team struggles to keep track of contracts and their approval status by phone, email, and spreadsheets.
  • Getting contracts reviewed by the right people, at the right time, is a rarity. Contracts that need immediate review or approvals are delayed and sometimes lost due to an inefficient contract approval process.
  • Back and forth communication is necessary for requests, contract redlining, negotiations, and approvals with important concepts getting lost in translation due to missing or inaccurate information.
  • Approval obligations and milestones are regularly missed.
  • The audit trail is near impossible to follow through a string of emails and multiple document versions, making it indeterminable who requested an approval and when or who approved a contract and when.
  • You do not have visibility of contract approval status or the transparency to pinpoint exactly where bottlenecks occur.
  • Your current contract approval process does not facilitate accountability or prioritization.

A Simple Solution to a Complex Problem

Contract approvals may be incredibly challenging today, but they do not need to be. The path to fast approvals comes from the solution of managing contracts digitally with intelligent automation for your workflow approval process.

A contract workflow is an automated process built around your organization’s rules and approval process to support sequential, timely, and targeted contract reviews by routing documents to the right person at the right time. 

Approval workflows can be based on contract type, departments or people involved, counterparties, or any other parameter determined by your team. Contract workflows can increase visibility, improve productivity, and reduce risk by leveraging an escalation path for contract reviews and approvals. Contract workflows can move your team’s contracts from creation to signing fast while supporting compliance standards. Automated intelligent contract workflows support the entire contract lifecycle.

Leading contract management software includes workflow automation, making workflows easy to create, highly configurable, and supporting of rules-based processes. Internal compliance can be streamlined with automated task alerts, email notifications, task lists, and dashboard alerts. Approvals can be streamlined and convenient by completing approvals or rejections via email. All steps will be logged with the user name and timestamped to ensure accountability and provide a full audit trail. Worries about current contract status, and who or where the contract needs to be routed to next, will be concerns of the past.

The Path to Contract Approval Mastery

CobbleStone Contract Approval Software simplifies the workflow process from drafting with pre-approved clauses and templates to legal review and collaboration to approval to signing and renewals. CobbleStone’s contract workflows reduce the contract approval cycle time by leveraging intelligent automation to eliminate process bottlenecks, resulting in more accountability and contract closeouts. Contract approval workflows can consist of simple approve-and-sign configurations and can be configured based on your organizations contract types, data fields, rules, monetary values, departments, products, key dates, and more. Ad hoc tasks and parallel tasks are also supported.

Many regulations such as SOX and HIPPA require contract review and approval. CobbleStone offers security settings and user permissions that may be assigned based on a contract, employee, department, or security role basis to support approval workflows for contract compliance.

Faster Approvals With Contract Management Software

The path to faster contract approvals starts with intelligent, automated contract workflows integrated with contract management software. Decrease contract cycle time by routing approvals to the right people at the right time, leveraging contract templates, improving contract process management, facilitating secure collaboration, negotiation, and electronic signature, and easily track and report on the entire approval process.

Intarcia Therapeutics had contract management issues due to their lack of visibility, and a manual contract and request process. Download Intarcia’s case study to see how CobbleStone helped improve their contract status transparency, approval alerts, and user dashboards.

Would you like to improve how your organization manages contracts? If so, learn about contract tracking in the first blog in our “Mastering Contract Management Series.”

Download the free guide to learn about contract management's critical stages

Maria Votlucka

Written by Maria Votlucka

Maria Votlucka is a Senior Marketing Coordinator at CobbleStone Software.

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