They might seem obvious, but it is hard to overstate the importance of the basics. Like any journey, navigating your contract without basic tools leaves you open to risks and mistakes. These compound over time, leaving you a long way from where you ought to be. Are your contracts prepared?

  1. An up-to-date version

Like surgery, managing critical contracts is not a case of “near enough is good enough”. A bare-minimum is to have a current version of the contract, along with any amendments that have been made to it. Over time, having a conformed version becomes more and more important, as keeping track of the original versions and its amendments becomes more of a juggle.

2. Hyperlinked

Even the most basic contracts refer backwards and forwards throughout the document.  From defined terms to clause-links, the volume and complexity demands that references be linked to avoid spending half your time scrolling up and down to understand a clause in its entirety.

3. Searchable

Keeping your contracts in PDF, when searching for an important term or clause, is akin to using a phone book to find a phone number rather than a Google search. Scanning past every reference to a term is immensely inefficient, particularly when a contract might run to thousands of pages. Ensuring your documents are in a format that can be easily searched and filtered is a game-changer.

4. A single-source of truth for the entire team

Great document management is terrific, but when it is practiced in isolation, its value is severely compromised. If your team aren’t all “on the same page”, then your weakest link remains exposed. Ensuring that the team are all singing from the same song-sheet is critical to achieving your goals.

5. Annotatable

Despite the litany of legal jargon, contracts can be unclear and at times, confuddling. To give clarity and consistency to your team’s interpretation of the contract, it’s critical that important clauses are annotated with guidance to ensure the desired outcomes are achieved. As time progresses and team members rotate, maintaining a consistent narrative becomes difficult to manage. Providing clear contract guidance can be as critical as maintaining the documents themselves.

The basics of reading a contract boil down to a few key themes – accuracy, availability, navigation, search and knowledge capture. Do your documents tick these boxes? To learn more about how Intelligent Document Format sets your contracts up for success, Contact Us now.

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