Developing and Implementing Proper Document Retention Policy
Contract management for any size of company generates a mountain of documents. Ranging from handwritten notes to formal contracts and everything in between, running a paper-based contract management system is costly and labor intensive. Your company’s success depends in large part on its ability to properly create, maintain and manage contracts. The solution is to develop and follow a clear document retention policy through a digital contract management system.
Not all documents are good, some are bad and some are even harmful to your business. While there are no hard and fast rules to determine an accurate breakdown, there are some guidelines to consider in training your staff to maintain as many good documents as possible in contract files.
Good documents are clear, concise and unambiguous. Good documents can memorialize a project, spell out rights and obligations, create a roadmap for performance, and safeguard your company against liability in the event of a dispute or disagreement. Actual examples of good documents are: final executed contracts and amendments thereto, change orders, and manufacturers installation structures.
Bad documents are documents that are irrelevant, unnecessary or non-project related. An example is an email chain that starts about Project A but then goes in to details of Project B. The Project B emails do not belong in the Project A files. The worst kind of bad documents are those that create unnecessary fault or liability for your company. Examples of bad documents are an email to a client admitting “we do not have enough qualified engineers to staff this project” or an internal email stating “we need to increase the value of these work scope variances as much as possible without getting caught.”
It is critical that you train your staff to think before creating or sending any document, including an email, a text message, a photo, a letter, etc. Keep your documents, particularly contracts, simple, easy to understand and difficult to misconstrue. A great way to keep track of all contract modifications and communications is through a digital contract management system, in which you will have a secure and centralized contract document and data storage. A contract management software that can be accessed from anywhere, anytime not only increases contract visibility across your enterprise, but also forces your staff to put more effort in maintaining a proper document retention policy.
By improving visibility and by better utilizing contracts as effective management tools, you can stay on top of every obligation, rebate, renewal, annual increase, fees and pricing structures, services, and more. Robust security means only authorized users will have access to certain data, and powerful auditing tools lets you know exactly who, what, when, and where this data was altered or viewed.
Your company’s success depends in its ability to properly manage its quote-to-cash cycle. The solution is to develop and follow a clear document retention policy through a digital contract management system. Contract Logix’s Contract Management System has all the features you will need to manage every aspect of your contract management tracking and lifecycle management.