As businesses expand their initiatives, the need for contract management becomes more and more critical. This is where contract administrators come in!
A contract administrator is a business and legal professional who plays a key role in ensuring a company’s contracts are effectively managed and enforced. They perform a range of tasks like drafting, negotiating, and overseeing the execution of different service agreements.
This article will explore the role of a contract administrator in more detail, plus why you might consider hiring this kind of professional in the first place.
Let’s get started.
What Does a Contract Administrator Do?
A contracts administrator is—unsurprisingly—responsible for providing contract administration support. They’re charged with managing a company’s contracts from start to finish, and their duties might include things like:
- Writing contract proposals to support business initiatives.
- Drafting and reviewing contracts for accuracy and completeness.
- Negotiating contract terms with vendors, suppliers, customers, and other parties (conditions, pricing, payment schedule, etc.).
- Ensuring all contracts and amendments are up to date and accurate throughout their lifecycle.
- Aiding in conflict resolution.
- Managing contract change notices, renewals, and terminations as necessary.
- Implementing and/or becoming familiar with contract management software.
- Collaborating with internal legal and human resources teams to ensure contracts follow state and local laws and regulations.
- Performing other contract-related duties as necessary.
Why Do Businesses Hire Contract Administrators?
You might be asking ‘Isn’t contract management the job of an attorney?
It’s a fair question, but contract management is a robust enough role that it often requires distinct employees to perform its duties (this is especially true for medium and large-sized businesses, since their business initiatives typically involve working with a high number of customers, vendors, and other parties).
And while a company’s legal counsel certainly plays a role in ensuring agreements are legally compliant and risk-averse, a corporate attorney is usually not involved in the day-to-day management of contracts. Rather, attorneys are consulted on an as-needed basis to support contract administrators in understanding or negotiating complex legal terms.
So, what are the exact benefits of hiring a contract administrator? Outside of having dedicated employees to effectively manage your business’s contracts, there are two main reasons you might bring on one of these experts:
Contract administrators provide a dedicated point of risk management by making sure all contracts are thoroughly drafted or reviewed with industry standard terms. They also keep an eye on compliance with the contract’s terms and act on any breaches.
These professionals negotiate favorable terms with customers and suppliers using their knowledge of industry standard pricing, payment schedules, and other terms. In doing so, they’re helping save their company money.
Additionally, contract administrators can easily spot opportunities for savings by monitoring contract performance and identifying areas for potential improvement.
Contract Administrator Skills and Qualification
If you’re looking to hire a contract administrator, you should look for experience in contract administration or analysis, as well as soft skills like communication, organization, business negotiation, and customer service. Other useful skills and experience include:
- Industry knowledge
- Analytical skills
- Project management experience
- Familiarity with contract management software
- General knowledge of Microsoft Excel and its functions
Those are their most useful skills, but what formal qualifications should a contract administrator have?
Generally, this kind of contract professional has a bachelor’s degree in a business-related field. This could be anything from business administration to human resources. But it’s not uncommon for contract administrators to come from other educational backgrounds, so long as they have sufficient industry expertise and the drive to learn about all things contracts.
You might also look for one or more of these certifications in an experienced contract administrator candidate:
- Certificated Contract Management Associate
- Certified Professional Contracts Manager
- Certified Commercial Contracts Manager
Interview Questions for Contract Administrators
Interview questions for contract administrators should assess their industry knowledge, contract management experience, and other skills like negotiation, time management, and communication. Here are 11 questions to ask your next contract administrator candidate that touch on all of the above points!
- What experience do you have in contract administration or contract analysis?
- Can you describe your experience working with contract management tools and software?
- What does your process for reviewing an agreement typically look like?
- Can you tell me about a time when you had to communicate complex business and/or legal information to a colleague?
- How do you keep track of contract changes or amendments?
- Can you describe a situation when you had to negotiate a contract with a difficult party? How did you handle it?
- How would you search for a contract if you didn’t know its exact file name?
- How do you manage your time and keep track of deadlines?
- Can you describe a time when you spotted an error or unfavorable term in an active contract? What did you do about it?
- What resources do you use to stay up to date on the latest laws and regulations that could impact contract management?
- How do you determine an acceptable range of outcomes for a negotiation?
Get Started on Hiring a Contract Expert Today
Overall, a contract administrator is a key player in establishing and maintaining healthy, mutually beneficial business partnerships with clients and vendors alike. If you’re noticing a lack of support in this area, it might be time to hire one of these professionals. The good news? We can do it for you.
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