Contract Managers have many important responsibilities and obligations as they see contracts through the contract management lifecycle. They often serve as “middlemen” between companies, employees, independent contractors, and customers. This means negotiations, recommendations, record keeping, monitoring, change management, and more. In this article, we’ll focus on a few of the key roles of contract managers, including best practices on how best to keep everything organized.
Contract drafting, evaluation, negotiation, and execution
Contract managers can work for a wide variety of organizations including government, non-profit, and the private sector. No matter the type of organization, they are the primary individuals responsible for creating and managing the contracts that those organizations use. To oversee contracts from drafting to execution, contract managers need to be skilled in legal compliance, negotiation, and relationship management. Having an intimate knowledge of the contract management lifecycle is key.
Maintain contractual records
Maintaining good records, even after the contract has been seen through to execution, is critical. Record management serves as an audit trail and evidence, and needs to be easily accessible for auditing.
Ideally, the contract manager will develop a very methodical filing system to maintain complete records on the entire procurement and contract administration processes. Records should be maintained by the procuring organization as well as the entity responsible for contract administration (sometimes these are one and the same). This aids with sharing relevant and authorized information with other departments, such as finance, as determined in the contract administration plan. How long procurement records are kept in the active files, and the internal and external auditing of these records, will be determined by the legal and regulatory framework associated with the contract type.
Develop and implement procedures and policies
Policies and procedures provide a clear link between the managing organization’s vision and the way that vision is carried out every day. Having a robust set of established procedures and policies can help reduce organizational expense and increase efficiency as well as provide a precedent for decisions down the road. It’s important for contract managers to have a set of procedures in place as they deal with independent contractors, customers, or employees so that best practices can be maintained. They also provide a backdrop for accountability expectations and help protect against legal, regulatory, and liability issues.