No company can operate without signing contracts, regardless of whether it is a company that offers services and products or one that acts as a customer. Contract management is one of the things common to all companies. It is an essential part of the company’s overall management, which must be done neatly and accurately.
Automation and digitization of workflow management are very current topics in the modern business environment. Therefore, in this article we would like to discuss contract management in an electronic workflow system.
What does electronic workflow consist of?
Each enterprise has its own unique workflow. These can be “traditional” workflows, i.e. paper-based, where documents are physically stored and passed from desk to desk, or electronic, supported by solutions built with the help of the IT department or existing no-code or low-code turnkey tools. Such tools have emerged as technology has advanced, as the world has moved increasingly toward depaperwriting and digitization. The catalyst for such efforts has, of course, been the global pandemic that has forced most companies to move to remote work.
Electronic workflows work on the same principles as paper workflows, but the difference is that all documentation is digitized, i.e. transferred to a dedicated system, where there are elaborate procedures, so-called paths, which would normally take place live in the office. The electronic workflow allows the transition to the office of the future, in other words, the virtual office.
How do you streamline the contract management process in an electronic workflow?
Implementing an electronic workflow greatly improves contract management for several reasons.
The first is the automatic generation of contracts: all you need to do is enter all the necessary data, and the system will generate the contract itself according to a pre-prepared template, which makes work much easier and helps save staff time.
It also results in the fact that all contracts are in one place.
Did You Know?
Workflow systems, such as NAVIGATOR, act as an electronic archive of documents, where documents can be divided by category, which makes it easier to find them quickly, and brings order and regularity to daily work. Contract management in electronic document circulation is therefore quite easy compared to the traditional model.
In addition, the electronic workflow not only allows you to create your own contracts, but also to store them by capturing data from other sources, such as email. When generating one’s own contract, a workflow is initiated that allows the same document to be sent to several virtual desks, significantly saving time that would normally be lost in transferring the document between one department and another. An additional benefit is the ability to communicate with colleagues directly in the system, usually in the form of a comment section.
Since contracts are a fairly specific type of document, it is also important that electronic workflow systems allow access to different versions of a contract. Within a single workflow, the user can view all historical versions that have been added to the system. This is very beneficial because negotiating contracts involves changing and updating the document, so developing proper workflow procedures that allow for amendments will make this much easier.
Once we get to the point of signing a contract, it is important that the system can be integrated with an electronic signature, which will greatly streamline the work and help run the company in a paperless spirit. Instead of the procedure we are used to, which is to print the document, sign, scan, send, we can limit ourselves to a few clicks of the mouse and the document will be automatically sent after approval.
We wrote about the types of electronic signatures in the article Genesis of electronic signatures.
Contract management in electronic workflow – the most important benefits
In summary, the most important benefits of managing contracts in an electronic workflow are:
Saving time and money – using an electronic workflow can help organizations reduce wasted time and money spent by eliminating errors in traditional paper-based processes and getting rid of unnecessary repetitive processes that subtract time from employees.
Security – it’s better than keeping physical copies of documents, especially valuable ones like contracts or scans. Electronic signatures are just as secure as handwritten signatures, and even more so, as they cannot be forged without access to the signature’s private key. In addition, as a security measure, we can consider historical versions of contracts, which can be used to monitor changes to documents. When building a workflow, we can also choose who has access to particular types of documents and who does not.
Faster access to information – finding information through a dedicated search engine is much faster than looking for a document in a binder in a drawer. With a dedicated search engine, you can easily find the documents you need by name, document type or date, for example.
Transparency – a workflow system is also used to record employee actions and actions taken. In such a system, it is very easy to see who generated a contract and who signed and sent it.
Get to know more about Electronic Workflow, AI, Business Intelligence and No-code applications in NAVIGATOR system
Digitization of documents is a step into the future. It won’t be long before every company, even a small one, will be operating electronically, especially given state initiatives such as KSeF, which will facilitate the management of invoice workflows. Contracts, on the other hand, are an integral part of any business, so an electronic workflow system will serve as an excellent tool for managing them. It is more secure and transparent than traditional, non-automated operations, while also saving costs and time.
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