The Contracts table holds all Contract records, and controls the associated automation and notifications that are related to them. Contract records are an integral part of the Standard System Demo, and hold information the contracting party, approval information, renewal details, attached contract files, and supporting documents.
Fields that are required when creating Contract records are marked with orange text in the image above. Required fields include:
- Record Type
- Internal Contract Owner
- Contract Type
- Days in advance to notify for renewal
- Contract Title
- Contract Description
- Contract Start Date
- Contract End Date
Use Case for Power Users
This section covers the use case for power users.
Contract records can be created by members of the Admin, Admin Import, Business Admin, Contract Creator, Contract Requester, Contract Manager, Contract Owner, Project Manager, and Sales groups. Contracts may be created in one of two ways:
- Clicking New in the Contract table action bar.
- Using the Create Related Contract button on the Renewal / Related Contracts tab of an existing Contract record. This creates a new a Renewal, Subcontract, or Amendment Contract record directly from the current Contract record. This button is available only if the contract is in a Status of Signed, Active, Expired, or Canceled. Creating a new contract with the Create Related Contract button automatically links it to the current Contract record by populating the Parent Contract ID field in the newly created record. For a more detailed explanation of creation by this method, see the Handling Related Contracts and Renewals section.
By default, contracts fall into one of four categories, chosen from the Record Type field:
- Master Agreements
Contracts, Subcontracts, and Amendments can all be created from an existing Contract record, whereas Master Agreement records are created manually in the Contract table. The Record Type field in the common area of a Contract record indicates the contract's category. "Contract" is the default Record Type for newly created contracts. It can be used to indicate either a stand-alone contract, or a contract that exists under a Master Agreement. In the latter case, the Parent Contract ID can be filled in upon creation of the contract. Subcontracts and Amendments are linked to a parent contract automatically if they are created by clicking the Create Related Contract button in the parent contract record.
Below the Record Type are fields that store the Internal Contract Owner and the Assigned Team. The default Assigned Team is the Contract Management Team. The Internal Contract Owner is the person responsible for overseeing the contract and ensuring timely renewals and approvals. The list of available owners is filtered to users who are in the Contract Owner Team or the Contract Manager Team. The default Internal Contract Owner is the user who creates the Contract record, provided that user is in the Contract Manager or Contract Owner Team. Users in the Contract Manager or Admin group can manually change the Assigned Team and Internal Contract Owner if needed.
Once the appropriate fields are filled in, the contract may be saved in a Status of Draft.
The contract's Status field is changed automatically by the system at appropriate points in the workflow, generally when an action button is pressed or when some condition is met. However, users in the Admin group can manually override the Status if necessary.
Information about the contract requester, external company involved, and locations related to the contract may be added by clicking the lookup icon next to those fields. If a desired Requester, Company, or Location does not exist, a record must first be created in order to link it to the Contract.
Creating Companies and Contacts during Contract record creation
In the Contract Party Information section, users can find and link to an existing company, or create new ones as needed. To find an existing Company record, select the Existing Company option and use the lookup icon next to Company Name to search for the company. If the contract party isn't found, power users can add a new company by selecting the New Company option. Enter the name and address information, then click Create Company. Before adding new information, ensure that you check for all possible alternate spellings or stylizations of the desired value.
Both Company and Location records are created in the background, and linked to the new contract when the record refreshes.
Similarly, you can create new entries in the People table if the main contact for the contract party is not an existing contact. Select New Contact, enter the information, and click Create Main Contact. Multiple contacts can be created in this way, and then the primary contact can be selected from the Main Contact drop-down.
When contract requesters submit a new contract through the End User Interface (EUI), they can enter a new company and contact information, but they don't see the buttons that can create new records. When a contract is submitted for review, contract managers can edit the contract party information, or click the button to confirm the new company or contact to finish adding records.
This setup is intended to prevent end users from creating duplicate companies with slightly different spellings and to ensure that contract managers have ownership and control of this data. However, permissions can be changed easily to allow end users to create companies and contacts directly. It is important for contract managers to evaluate the new additions, and either replace them with existing data or create the appropriate background data. Otherwise, the linked data can't be used in print templates and emails.
Creating Contract Attachments from Default Print Templates
The Attachments tab shows all attached files related to the contract and provides the user with options to create and edit related attachments. For certain contract types, when the Document Source is set to Standard Template or Modified Template, the 'Print Template to Generate' field appears. The Document Source can be set to:
- Standard Template: used when a file is generated from an internal template. This option appears only for contract types where Has Print Template(s) is set to Yes.
- Modified Template: used when a file originally generated from a template, but is then modified. This option appears only for contract types where Has Print Template(s) is set to Yes.
- 3rd Party: used to indicate a document provided by the external contract party.
- Internal – Other: used when a document has been internally generated, but not from a template.
Print Template to Generate has a default set of values that are based on the Contract Type, and there may be some visibility dependent fields that appear based on whether the print template uses user-selected or optional clauses. For instance, the Customer Service Contract default template has some additional fields such as 'Select Governing Law Clause' and 'Select Optional Clauses:'
The Create and Attach action button is used to auto-generate a contract document from the MS Word print template specified in the Print Template to Generate field, which is then stored in the Print Template File field. Clicking Create and Attach generates the document and creates an Attachment record to hold the attached file. It also increments the Version Number field.
If the Contract Party Information section is not properly filled out and linked to records, a validation action warns the user to finish creating new records before generating the attachment. However, many other fields in a contract may also be referenced in the template, such as Clauses and Signing Parties. For this reason, it's usually best to check that as many fields as possible are finalized before generating attachments from templates.
Creating Contracts and Attachments from Inbound Emails
Attachments can be automatically generated from inbound emails that contain attached files. Files from inbound emails are mapped to the Transitional Contract Files field in the Contract record, assigned a predetermined Attachment Title and Attachment Type value of 'Document Provided by Outside Party,' and then converted into a new Attachment record. The file is mapped into the Attached File field in the Attachment record. If multiple files are attached to an inbound email, each one is converted into a separate Attachment record for that contract.
The Attachments tab shows all attached files related to the Contract record, and provides the user with options to create and edit related attachments. The All Contract Attachments related table is also used to manually create and attach files to the contract, such as supporting documents or signed agreements. Create attachments from within the Contract record by clicking New on the related table's action bar.
The Select Files drop-down on the action bar can be used to update the Include in Approval Packet, To Be eSigned, and Status fields to the far right directly in the table view.
- Add or Remove for the Approval Packet: sets the Include in Approval Packet field to Yes or No.
- Add or Remove for the E-sign Packet: changes the To Be eSigned field to Yes or No.
- Set Status to Superseded: sets the Status for the selected attachments to Superseded.
Tracking Company Documents and Insurance Certificates
The Attachments tab also holds related tables of Company Document and Insurance Certificate records. The Create New Company Document button opens a new Company Document record that is linked to this Contract record.
For more information on company documents, see the Company Documents Table section.
Insurance certificates can be found directly in the Insurance Coverages table, and in related tables in the Company, Contracts, and Company Documents tables.
When you add an insurance certificate to a Company record, it can be automatically linked to all pending or active contracts with that vendor by a time-based rule that runs daily. However, this time-based rule is disabled by default in the Standard System Demo.
The Insurance Certificate Owner, which defined in the related Company record, is notified fourteen days before an insurance certificate's Expiration Date. When an insurance certificate expires without being renewed, the Contract Managers of any related active contracts are notified on the date of the expiration.
For more information about insurance certificates and related automation, see the Insurance Certificates Table section.
Another Method for Managing Insurance Certificates
You may prefer to manage insurance certificates as contract attachments, instead of using the Insurance Certificates table. For example, if Contract Managers are responsible for renewing and maintaining insurance certificates, it may be best to use the Attachments table to hold the certificates, along with all other types of attached documents for contracts. Managing insurance certificates as contract attachments means the Contract Manager will receive email notifications instead of the Internal Certificate Owner.
If this method makes the most sense for your particular business, you can remove the default Insurance Certificates field from the Contract record's layout. Then, go to the Attachment Type table and edit the record called Insurance Certificate. By default, this record's Status is Inactive; change the Status to Active to make it visible in the Attachments table.
When an attachment record is edited using 'Edit and Checkout', a new attachment is created, and the prior attachment is set to Superseded. The Attachment record can be compared against the previous version, or against a baseline, within the attachment.
By editing the attachment and navigating to the 'Comparison Against Previous Version' heading, the user can select the Previous Attachment Type they want to evaluate the current attachment against, as well as the Previous Attached File. Clicking the Compare Documents button generates a redlined file that can be opened in word for comparison.
The Comparison Against Baseline button also runs a document comparison action, but against the original standard system template. When this button is used, Contract Clause Modification records are created if the source template used clauses. See Print Template Clauses for more information.
Approvals for a contract are handled on the Approval tab of the Contract record. The order and nature of approvals depends on the Workflow selected on the Approvals tab. Selecting a Contract Type in the common area filters the available Workflow Title choices. For information on setting up the individual Workflows, refer to the Approval Workflows section.
The order and nature of approvals depends on the Workflow Title selected on the Approvals tab. Selecting a Contract Type in the common area filters the available Workflow Title choices. For information on setting up the individual Workflows, refer to the Approvals Table section.
To submit a contract for approval:
- Select the correct Workflow Title from the drop-down list.
- Click Create Approvals. This generates a set of related Approval records in a Status of Queued.
- Click Launch Approval Process to update the Status of the contract to Pending Approval, as well as update the Status of the approvals with the lowest step number to Pending Approval. There can be more than one approval at the lowest step number for parallel approvals.
The system automatically notifies the first approver in the sequence. To advance the contract workflow, an approver will use one of three action buttons to change the Status of the approval record:
- Approve: sends the contract to the next approver in the sequence.
- Require Changes: sends the contract back to the contract manager to make changes.
- Permanently Reject: used only if the contract requires significant changes.
Both Require Changes and Permanently Reject require the user to enter notes in the Approval Notes field. These notes are appended to the Approval Notes field in the Contract record, and are also viewable from any other Approval record linked to that contract.
As each Approval record is approved, the system notifies the next approver in the sequence that a Contract record is pending their approval. A list of all Approval records is displayed under the Approvals Needed section, and automatically updates as Approval records are modified.
If a user who is not on the current approval team attempts to approve a contract, the system recognizes the error and prevents the user from completing the approval action. When all the required approvals are received by the system, the Contract record's Status is automatically changed to Approved.
Adding Notes and Sending Emails
Notes that are relevant to the general contract process are entered into the General Notes field on the Details tab, and notes pertaining to the approval process are entered into the Approval Notes field on the Approvals tab.
Emails can be sent to Internal Contacts and External Party Contacts from the Emails tab.
- Choose the type of Recipient(s), which can be Internal Contacts, External Party Contacts, or External Party and Internal Contacts.
- Click the lookup icon to select the contacts to email. Fill out the Email Subject and Email Text fields as needed.
- Select necessary files to send with the email, then click Send Email.
Turning Off Approvals
Contract Management tables have Approval handling set up by default. The associated processes may be turned off in order to use Agiloft as a contract repository. To turn off Approvals, do the following:
- Edit field permissions to allow the Contract Manager Group to edit the contract Status field in their own contracts and in others' contracts.
- Remove two status changing buttons from the layout: Submit for Approval and Mark as Signed.
- Remove the Approval tab and related fields from the layout.
Renewal / Related Contracts Tab
Information about the renewal process is stored on the Renewal / Related Contracts tab. Fields for capturing the Renewal Notification Date and Days in Advance to Notify for Renewal are provided as a default. If relevant, information about the renewal contract or previous contract are automatically updated by the system. The Create Renewal Contract button is used to create a renewal Contract record that is linked to the previous Contract record. This button is only visible when the contract's Status is Active, Canceled, Expired, or Signed. A new contract generated in this way can be edited before saving.
If applicable, the system automatically links renewal contracts to any preceding contracts, creating an audit chain. Typically, users do not manually enter information into the Renewal Contract and Previous Contract Information fields.
This tab is also used to create an amendment or subcontract of an existing contract. Select the type of record you wish to create, then click the Create Related Contract button. The new record gets linked to the current contract in a child relationship.
The Diagram icon is used to generate a diagram of Contract records that are related to this Contract record.
For example, the diagram for a subcontract of a master agreement, with its own amendment, is shown here:
Any direct children of the current Contract record are shown in the table in the Related Contracts and Amendments section.
The Signature tab contains fields for contract document signers, and contains all fields related to DocuSign and Adobe Sign. If you are not using either system, these fields can simply be removed from the layout. The Files to Sign field holds attached files from the Attachments table that have a To Be eSigned value of Yes. The Refresh Files action button refreshes this field in case changes to the attachments were made in the same session under the Attachments tab.
Fields under the Signers heading are used to populate the signature page of the contract's print templates and to identify the signers for either program. For this reason, these fields must be filled before generating an attachment from a template, which in turn must be generated and set as To Be eSigned before returning to the Signature tab in order to create envelopes.
Before using either DocuSign or Adobe Sign, you will need to configure the integration by going to Setup > Integration and choosing the appropriate platform. For DocuSign, you must sign up for a DocuSign account directly with DocuSign. For Adobe Sign, Agiloft can set up the account and allow you to purchase envelopes directly without any long term contract. See the sections on DocuSign and Adobe Sign below for more details.
Once the contract is ready to sign, use the Create DocuSign Envelope action button to create a DocuSign Envelope record and attach the files held in the Files to Sign field.
This also create a DocuSign Recipient record for each signer. These records are then shown in the related tables for DocuSign Envelopes and DocuSign Recipients on the Signature tab. Only users in the Admin and DocuSign Users groups can access the DocuSign fields on the Signature tab. For more information on DocuSign, refer to the DocuSign User Manual.
Using Adobe Sign
Once the contract is ready to sign, click the Create Adobe Sign Envelope button. This creates an Adobe Sign Envelope, and convert the signers into recipients.
This section covers the remaining Status changes that have not been mentioned in the explanations above. Once a contract changes to a Status of Signed, the system automatically updates the contract to a Status of Active when the Contract Start Date occurs.
Similarly, the Status is changed when the Contract End Date arrives. If the contract does not have an associated renewal contract, the Status is automatically set to Expired; if the contract does have a renewal, the Status is set to Renewed. If the contract is auto-renewing, the Contract End Date is increased by the Renewal Term in Months and the contract remains Active.
To cancel a contract, click the Cancel Contract button in the common area. Users of the Admin group can also manually change the contract Status to Canceled.
If the contract has a Status of Approved, the Mark as Pending Signature button is visible in the common area. This button sets the contract Status to Pending Signature.
Once the Status of the contract is Pending Signature, a Mark as Signed button appears. This button sets the contract Status to Signed.
A Contract Manager can perform Risk Analysis on Contract records. Risk Conditions are pre-defined on the Risk Conditions table based on criteria within the contract or modifications made to standard clauses. To run a Risk Analysis:
- Navigate to the Risk Analysis tab.
- Click Trigger Risk Conditions. The current contract is evaluated and assigned a Total of Weighted Risk Condition Assessment and Overall Risk Percentage based on the highest potential risk for the current contract.
Use Case for End Users
This section covers the use case for end users in a Contract Management context.
Members of the Contract Creator group are internal employees who access the system by way of the End User Interface (EUI). Contract creators, also called contract requesters, are users who submit requests for contracts, but do not work on or manage the contract once it is requested and submitted. Below is a representative home page for an end user in the Contract Creator group:
Users in the Contract Creator group can create contracts by:
- Clicking the Create a Contract Request link on the home page of the EUI.
- Selecting New > Contract from the menu.
A simplified contract form is presented to the end user. Many of the fields are hidden from the layout or restricted by field-level permissions.
In the Contract Party Information section, users can find and link to an existing company and contact, or create new ones as needed. Before adding new information, ensure that you check for all possible alternate spellings or stylizations of the desired value. To create a new company, elect New Company and then enter the name and address information. After the contract is submitted for review, Contract Managers need to confirm the new company before the new Contract record can be finished. Similarly, end users can suggest a new company contact by filling out the fields in the Party Main Contact section of the form.
Once the required information is filled in, the Contract record can be saved for later revisions. The contract requester can also press the Submit for Review button to request approval from a contract manager. Contract requesters can be contacted to update the submitted contract, but they are typically no longer involved in the approval process from this point forward. After the contract requester submits the contract for review, a contract manager decides whether to continue with the approval process or reject the contract request.
Working with Contracts
At any time, the contract requester can view contracts they previously submitted by:
- Choosing View > My Contracts from the menu
- Clicking on the View My Contracts link.
Contract Creator group members can edit certain fields in contracts they own. Other fields such as Contract Amount, Contract Start Date, and Contract End Date, among others, are not editable by the contract requester if the contract's Status is Pending Approval, Approved, Signed, Active, Renewed, or Expired. This is to prevent changes to currently active or in process contracts.
The contract requester can view all contracts they have permission to see by clicking on the All Contracts home page link or tab.
Some of these rules have been mentioned or quickly described in the use cases above. In the Standard System Demo, the Contracts table contains twelve active rules. Most time-based rules, marked with a "TB," are disabled by default in the Standard System Demo. These rules are accessed by expanding the Contracts table in the left pane, selecting Setup Attachments, and then selecting the Contracts tab:
- Edit: Validate that end date is after start date (web): This rule ensures that when a Contract record is edited, the start date is before the end date. If this is not the case, a Validation action warning the user about this conflict is triggered.
- Edit: Update Renewal Notification Date if underlying fields change (web,api): This rule ensures that when a Contract record is edited, the Renewal Notification Date gets updated. This rule can update auto-renewing contracts or set a renewal notification date for non auto-renewing contracts. It also can set the Alert Color to red for Contract records that have a past Renewal Notification Date.
- TB: (DISABLED) Daily check for start date: This rule uses a saved search to check for Contract records that start on the present day, or earlier, with a Status of Signed, and changes their Status to Active. It also sets the Status of any previous contracts to Renewed.
- Edit: Handle Status Changes (rule should always be lowest priority): This rule runs any time a record's Status changes. It creates a new Status Time record and also updates the Previous Status field to reflect what the record's Status was before the change was made. This rule runs from edits made by users, rules, or emails.
- TB: (DISABLED) Notify of upcoming expirations: This rule sends emails to contract owners of records that have a renewal date of one day in the future, as long as those records can be renewed more than once. It runs every two days, early in the morning.
- Edit: Update Alert Color if Renewal Notification Date Changed (web, api): This rule ensures that a record's Alert Color is still accurate whenever a record's Renewal Notification Date is changed by either a user or another rule.
- Edit: Updates by Party: This rule ensures that if an outside party makes an update to a Contract record, the owner of the contract and the Contract Manager team are notified. It also creates an Attachment Type and a Title for any files that may have been added.
- Create/Edit: If Transitional Contract Files field has value, convert to Attachment: This rule runs on new Contract records, or records that have had their Transitional Contract Files field changed. It converts the newly added file to an Attachment record, and then clears the Transitional Contract Files field for future uploads.
- TB Demo Data Update: Update date fields by one month each month so reports have data: This time-based rule runs once every month, updates Demo Date fields, and deletes the History associated with the Demo Date fields being updated.
- Edit: Most edit actions by web or api: This rule runs whenever a Contract record is edited by a user or another rule, and ensures that all the data in the record remains unified and consistent with the current stage of the contract lifecycle.
- Create: All New Contract Actions: This rule runs whenever a Contract record is created by a user or another rule, and ensures that all the data in the record is unified and consistent with the beginning of the contract lifecycle. For example, some of the things this rule ensures are that the contract end date isn't before the contract start date, and that if the new Contract record is a renewed version of a previous Contract record, the records are linked.
- TB: (DISABLED) Daily check for expiration date: This rule runs daily on Active records with an End Date on the present day or before. It ensures that the renewable contracts get renewed and resets their end date. If contracts cannot be renewed, it sets their Status to Expired. Either way, the rule also notifies the contract owner of the End Date.
The Contracts table has the following default workflow:
Records in this table are owned by the Contract Requester. Specifically, a record is owned by the user whose ID matches the number in the Requester ID field. By default, the Contract Requester is the user who created the Contract record. For this reason, the owner of a Contract record is often an end user Requester, rather than a power user Internal Contract Owner, despite the field name.
The Contracts table contains the following default Charts and Reports: