Contract authoring is essential. An inefficient process can hinder organizations and result in error-prone contracts with missing or misplaced clauses.
Additionally, overlooked key dates and milestones and a confusing process can stall the contract lifecycle. Luckily, leading contract management software can provide intelligent authoring. Read on to learn how to simplify and modernize the contract writing process.
Contract authoring involves contract parties and stakeholders putting the terms and conditions of a contract into written word. This requires bringing standard contract clauses, key dates and milestones, counterparty information, pricing information, and line items into a unified agreement.
Enhanced Authoring of a Contract
Enhanced contract authoring involves using an advanced tool to automate and centralize the process. Enhanced agreement authoring automation should provide straightforward clause merging. This consists of the ability to merge contract data with pre-approved templates from organizations' highly accessible libraries. Additionally, simplified flow-down functionality and comprehensive version tracking help further improve processes.
You might ask, "How do I get started with the helpful tools and processes mentioned above?"
Contract Authoring Software
What is contract authoring process software?
The right contract management software solution streamlines and modernizes contract authorship with improved clause management. Leading contract management process software allows businesses to track compliance tasks and document versions. Additionally, item management can be centralized, and users can leverage flow-down clauses and alerts.
Better Contract Clause Management
Organizations can author documents using templates with merging field data and contract clauses from their pre-approved language library. Intelligent contract management systems provide businesses with a centralized clause library to produce accurate, compliant, and timely contract documents. Contract lifecycle management teams can manage virtually unlimited document templates and versions with pre-approved clauses and data fields. Additionally, drag and drop contract creation within contract management solutions make the process a breeze!
Organizations can also utilize these clause libraries for more specific templates, such as those used for GSA, FAR, and DFAR contracts. Leading contract software also supports CLIN (contract line item number) management and the seamless inclusion of line items within contract templates. Contract documents can conveniently be exported as standard formats such as PDFs and MS Word. A file utility within contract lifecycle software can further enhance contract negotiation and version tracking.
Online Document Editing
Leading CLM software allows users to create web documents within an online editor. This editor can be similar to familiar word processing tools – providing a user-friendly experience. Contract managers can work with .docx and PDF documents while assigning their desired file names.
Uploaded documents from outside the CLM system can also be edited. Familiar word processing tools – such as text formatting and track changes – can be used.
Contract administrators can access their clause library directly from an online document editor. As such, they can experience the easy insertion of pre-approved contract language. Version tracking is available on the online document editor for each iteration of a contract saved.
If online document editing is not desired, don't worry. Electronic contracts can be exported to native programs (such as MS Word) for editing purposes if preferred.
Contract Version Tracking
Contract operations software can provide automated version control on electronic contract files and attachments uploaded to a CLM system.
When new electronic agreement documents are uploaded, CLM software solutions can quickly assign a version number starting with "version 1." Each contract version after that can be given a new number. Contracts are also given a unique identification number for reporting and auditing purposes.
Bonus tip: Contract document versioning can be identified based on a company's file naming convention. As such, we at CobbleStone recommend consistent contract document file names as a best practice.
Contract Writing in Word Processing Tools
Legal operations software can empower users to download electronic documents to word processing tools such as MS Word. There, users can review, edit, redline, and more on a familiar interface.
Contract management teams can leverage native MS Word functionality. Such inline features include track changes, commenting, formatting, and more.
Users who need to review a CLM document can simply export to MS Word at virtually the click of a button. Advanced CLM platforms allow users to interact with their systems while in MS Word. Such a plugin provides features to:
- download contract document versions for comparison.
- convert contracts from PDF to MS Word.
- convert agreements from MS Word to PDF.
- access the contract language and clause library.
- re-upload new versions of an agreement.
Flow Down Clauses
Powerful contracting management software can support flow-down clauses and alerts if an organization enlists a subcontractor for a contract.
For example, a business enters a GSA contract with a government agency. For this instance, the company must pass certain contractual obligations to a project management organization. Thus, the business would need to enter a contract with the project management organization - or subcontractor.
Contract authoring software can help the business keep track of flow-down indicators. They can easily tag flow-down obligations and clauses to be included in subcontractor contract documents. Keeping track of the contract can simplify managing contracts with the federal agency and subcontracts with a project management company.
Trusted contract management software can perfectly set the stage for contract reviews and real time contract negotiations.
Contract Clause Ownership
Contract clause ownership rules allow contract administrators to designate an "owner" to clauses and business terms.
These rules can be designated as negotiable or inflexible. For the latter, reviewers would be prevented from redlining or altering the content. If a clause or term is defined as negotiable, reviewers can redline the content. However, the content owner is added to the approval process for reviewing and approving changes to their clause or term.
What Is the Best Contract Authoring Tool?
The ultimate contract authoring offers the features alluded to above and many more. Your organization needs to be sure to choose a contract writing solution that allows you to embrace legal operations digital transformation. As such, your company's next step is to demo a leading contract management solution. That solution is CobbleStone Contract Insight®.
CobbleStone Contract Insight has been a leader in contract lifecycle administration software for over twenty years. CobbleStone's feature-rich contract management software platform has received widespread critical acclaim. Users and third-party analysts alike know CobbleStone can streamline contract management. This robust contract management platform offers optimal governance, reduced friction, and high flexibility.
Thousands of contract managers trust CobbleStone Contract Insight as their go-to CLM software solution for contract authoring. In addition to contract authoring, CobbleStone can help with the management of contract lifecycles from requests to renewal.
CobbleStone Software - as a contract lifecycle management software solutions provider – is SOC 1, SOC 2, and Privacy Shield compliant. CobbleStone's solution seamlessly connects with leading applications, including MS Word and MS Outlook, for unified and seamless contract management.
Learn why thousands of contract management teams worldwide trust CobbleStone Software's AI-powered contract management software – CobbleStone Contract Insight. Book your free demo of CobbleStone to experience better contract lifecycle management, vendor management, procurement, and sourcing on one platform!
This article was originally published on July 2, 2021, and last updated on July 18, 2022.