As the COVID-19 crisis continues, many businesses are making critical changes to their operations. These allow them to continue to provide services to their customers and keep their employees working throughout social distancing measures. Your business may need to take a hard look at many aspects of how you manage your employees and your clients. This includes how you manage your contracts throughout the crisis and creating virtual office processes. One important element that you may need to change? Your contract approval processes.
The Importance of Streamlining Your Contract Approval Processes
Now, more than ever, you need your contact approval processes to move as smoothly as possible. You do not want contracts to get “stuck” while you wait for a specific individual to approve them. Also, you don’t want important clients, vendors, or subcontractors to fall through the cracks while your business makes that critical transition to remote work. Consider these important reasons to streamline your contract approval process:
1. Your clients need fast answers and reassurance.
Many of your clients, during this time, need a fast answer to any questions they have — including questions about the contracts they have pending with your business. You may need to make fast alterations to your contracts to ensure that they meet new industry mandates or requirements, including allowing your customers and vendors alike to maintain social distancing guidelines.
2. Remote-working employees can cause your contract approval processes to take longer.
Remote employees may not all be at their desks as a contract moves to the next stage in the approval process. Many employees are working from home with kids, spouses, pets, and other challenges that prevent them from accomplishing their business days according to their usual responsibilities. As a result, a complex contract approval process may take even longer to execute than normal.
3. Your employees need streamlined processes now as never before.
Because many of your employees are juggling other responsibilities, including caring for children or elderly loved ones, alongside their usual job responsibilities, they need a streamlined contract approval process that will prevent unnecessary work added to their days.
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Revising Your Contract Approval Processes
To revise your contract approval process, consider these important elements.
1. Eliminate unnecessary steps in your contract approval processes.
As your business makes the shift to remote work, take a look at your contract approval process. Eliminate any unnecessary steps or stages. While you still want to include each team that needs to approve a contract before it’s signed, you may find that you need fewer steps in your contract process than you originally thought.
2. Automate the process in your enterprise contract management system.
Use your contract management software to clearly lay out each step of the contract approval process. Have the system automatically take the contract through each stage of the approval process as the one before it is completed. This can make it easier for remote employees to know what to do next, especially with complex contracts or those that are different from the normal way you do business.
3. Set your system to send out reminders.
Many employees are juggling other responsibilities alongside their usual work tasks. So they may need reminders to take care of common tasks. This includes taking care of contract approvals. Set your contract management system to send out a reminder if a contract has waited too long for approval. Also, set closer reminders for contracts that have tight deadlines or that need to move to the next phase of the approval process quickly.
4. Make sure you have a cloud-based contract management system in place.
Ensure that contracts have made it through every stage of the approval process by having a completely cloud-based system. This is especially necessary if, for example, you have more than one person at a time looking at a contract. This is something that might occur more frequently while employees are working remotely. Their schedules may not look the same as they would in the office.
5. Use contract management software that allows for collaboration.
Your legal contract management system should allow for collaboration between multiple individuals and departments as your contract moves through the approval process. You need to be able to easily see the latest version of each contract, as well as its history. Also, you need to be able to work on it at the same time, even from remote locations. You may choose to revisit contract terms during a meeting, for example. Alternatively, you may need to collaborate to determine what supplies you need from a specific vendor during this time. Make sure your contract management system allows for collaboration as well as individual approvals.
As your business deals with the COVID-19 crisis, don’t let your contracts fall through the cracks! Instead, take the steps necessary to revise your contract approval process. You’ll be able to keep your business running more smoothly. Also, you can make sure that contracts still get approved on time, which can provide immense peace of mind for your customers. See how a 7-day free trial with ContraxAware can help you revamp your process.