View Products Overview

Collect information to use in contracts and agreements.

Create contracts swiftly through templates, AI, or create and edit your own.

Route contracts seamlessly for editing, review, and approval.

Easily work with internal and external participants to edit and redline contracts in real-time

Capture secure, compliant, and legally binding signatures on any device.

Connect to the systems you use daily, or build into your application with our APIs.


Contract Automation 101: A Beginner’s Guide

Published: January 25, 2024
contract automation 101

When your business grows, you’re bound to experience some growing pains. 

World Commerce and Contracting estimated that pains like increased paperwork, a packed deadline calendar, and more complicated contracts cost businesses an average of 9% of their total yearly revenue. 

This is a natural part of growth, but there are things you can do to take back control of your document-centric processes. Contract automation helps solve some of the big questions that can pop up from quick growth.

It’s only natural to worry about errors. How many times have you asked yourself, “What if we use the wrong version of this contract?” or “What if the information doesn’t end up in the format I want?” The good news is that contract automation tools can help eliminate the chances of that happening.

What is Contract Automation?

worker drawing up paper contract

Contract automation is the process of developing, managing, and storing legal agreements digitally online. This process is an essential link between your business and your customer. A major benefit of contract automation is that it simplifies and expedites the legal agreement process, which is crucial to efficiency and long-term maintenance. 

How Does Contract Automation Work?

Contract automation allows you to execute contracts faster and build better relationships between stakeholders. Digitally streamlining the process means contracts are moving through the system on auto-pilot, creating end-to-end visibility without the need to supervise each step along the way. 

That means you can focus on collaborating with potential partners and deepening relationships with vendors, customers, and your employees by making negotiations quick and easy. 

The perks? You’ll make your legal and finance departments happy, too, since contract automation software enables everyone to more easily manage the risks every business faces.

Let’s get to the nuts and bolts of a contract automation process. Contract automation works using a combination of eSignatures, documents, communication tools, and if you’re lucky, workflows. In some cases, automation can also be used to generate a contract using data collected via a form or using data from a connected CRM. 

A typical workflow under contract automation would look something like this:

  • A contract is generated
  • The contract is sent to the signers
  • A signer is notified it’s time to sign
  • Once signed, the contract is routed back to the sender for review
  • The completed document is stored in the sender’s CRM

Depending on the unique pieces of your processes, some of the steps may look different. But the essentials of contract automation are the reduction of human touchpoints, aside from the need to review and sign.

Please note that many contract automation tools exclude workflows from their capability stack, so it’s important to do your research on the right tool for your needs. (P.S. Docubee comes complete with workflows powered by conditional logic to fully automate your contract process.)

Contract automation has applications across industries and departments. Some of the most popular users include:

Contract Automation for Sales Teams

For sales, automating the collection of sales contracts leads to quicker close rates, improves customer experience, and ensures the right information is shared the first time.

Contract Automation for Human Resources

Contract automation helps human resources team members work more efficiently too by automating crucial new hire paperwork. Non-compete agreements, employment contracts, and every other document that goes into an onboarding packet can be digitized so that HR team members can focus on helping employees.

Contract Automation for Operations

For operations teams, filing contractor paperwork and other vital paperwork to keep businesses going can be tough, especially when compliance is a top concern. Luckily, contract automation tools come complete with compliance and security measures built in for no-nonsense paperwork collection.

Contract Automation for Finance

It’s no secret that finance teams run on the contracts that power their loan processes, stock agreements, and the onboarding of new clients. Contract automation allows finance teams to quickly create from scratch or generate documents and send them for signature.

Contract Automation for Legal

The creation of NDAs, bill of sale documents, and other agreements can be streamlined for legal teams with the help of automation. And, contract automation can be used to ease the confusion that comes with client intake paperwork, ensuring you get all of the info you need to get started.

Contract Automation for Procurement

RFPs and RFIs are a breeze for procurement teams with the help of contract automation, eliminating the need to start from scratch on documents every time.

Contract Automation for Healthcare

HIPAA-compliant documents are important for healthcare professionals. Automating these patient contracts using a contract automation tool with compliance and security baked intakes the stress out of staying in compliance, leaving more time for faster diagnosis and treatment.

Contract Automation for Real Estate

Contract automation also benefits real estate agents and their employees, by accelerating close times on property purchase with easy contract signing.

9 Benefits of Contract Automation

young business person meeting with client

1. Ability to Run a More Efficient Business

Once you’re ready to roll on a contract, there’s no time to waste. Every business owner knows that time is money, and every minute wasted on printing, copying, reviewing, and signing paper contracts is a minute that could be spent earning revenue.

Using contract automation, especially with a tool that has workflows built in like Docubee, skips all of that, making contracts readily accessible online. 

You never need to have the “Which version is this” conversation again since email PDF ping-pong will be a thing of the past. The most current version of the document is on screen and ready for you, making redlining easier than ever before.

And it’s not only late-stage contracts that get a boost: automation makes drafting agreements a breeze with a contract template that matches your project (or with the use of AI generation tools). 

Then, the parties involved can mark up a proposed deal with comments and suggestions. All suggestions are tracked and then can be accepted and/or rejected by the other party. That means no more swapping emailed versions or waiting for snail mail. Plus, with legally binding eSignatures you can negotiate and close within the same process, all in one online platform.

Sounds easy, right?  That’s because it is!

2. Reduced Risks for Your Business

You don’t have time to deal with mistakes. Eliminating paper documents and reducing back-and-forth significantly lowers the risk of data errors in contract completion and sending. Connect your CRM to auto-populate previously collected information and reduce the inputs clients need to make. Or, create templates with clearly labeled required fields. Doing this means you’re reducing the chance of costly errors–or missing information–in your contracts. 

3. Better Transparency in Business

With contract automation, agreement details between your business and a stakeholder are easy for everyone involved to see whenever they need to. With end-to-end visibility and workflow tracking, your stakeholders will always know where you are in the process and can quickly see all contract activities and contract versions.

This increased real-time transparency means your team will always have up-to-date information and, with all contract activities completed on one platform, bottlenecks and delays can easily be identified and eliminated. Docubee provides your business with progress updates and timestamps throughout the process, giving you valuable insight into your workflow. This is valuable information you can leverage to improve your other day-to-day practices as well.

4. More Secure Business

Securing your business should be a top priority. Luckily, using the right contract automation tool makes doing this a no-brainer. Here are some ways Docubeek puts security first:

eSign Act 2000 Compliance & UETA

eSignatures are a must-have in the world of online documentation. They are legally binding and secure, which is a must no matter what industry you’re in. Ensure your contract automation tool is UETA and eSign Act 2000 compliant, the gold standard for digital signatures.

SOC 2 Compliance

SOC 2 compliance is not something that all contract automation tools have, but Docubee does. This voluntary compliance is important as it governs how client data is stored. Under SOC 2, client data must be secure, accessible, confidential, possess processing integrity, and guarantee privacy.

FERPA Compliance

For schools and educational institutions, FERPA compliance is a requirement. FERPA requirements ensure student data is kept safe from unauthorized parties while keeping data available to authorized people like parents who may request data through the proper channels. 

CCPA Compliance

CCPA was created to protect consumer data and give people control over how businesses are sharing their info. Data collected through Docubee is CCPA compliant.

HIPAA Compliance

HIPAA compliance is one of the most important of all, whether you are in the healthcare industry or not. HIPAA governs how patient data is handled and has two key components: data must be kept secure from unauthorized parties, and it must be readily accessible to authorized parties who go through the proper channels to request such data. Failure to adhere to HIPAA can result in hefty fines. 

5. Meet Your Deadlines

If your business misses a deadline, it’s usually due to delays in your workflow. Think about how many times a document has been signed late and pushed your timelines out. With automated notifications, contract automation reminds users of important dates, like upcoming contract renewals and deadlines to ensure you get signatures on time. You can also provide personalized reminders by reassigning, resending, and generating custom links. 

Customizable escalations allow you to delegate individual steps in the process, ensuring that your contracts don’t pile up on one reviewer’s lengthy to-do list. Distributing tasks among the team ensures the contract keeps moving through the workflow. 

6. Integrate with Your Existing IT

The automated contract is a critical part of any business’s customer relationship management and document management strategies. Integrating contract automation into an existing CRM system, such as Salesforce, makes life easier for your salespeople, eliminating the need to re-enter data. They’ll also have quick access to the latest executed contracts. Integrating with your document management system ensures that your contracts are automatically stored in the appropriate data system.

 7. Improve Business Relationships

An inefficient, time-consuming contracting process wears down the patience of your customers and vendors, leading to potential losses before work has even begun. A smooth-running, streamlined contract automation solution, on the other hand, shortens contract cycles and reduces the risk of embarrassing mistakes. Efficiency and accuracy increase the value of your business’s brand and build trust between parties–a key competitive advantage that creates long-lasting relationships and ensures repeat business.

Your employees will appreciate the automated contract process just as much as your customers and vendors. Internal stakeholders can forget about chasing down signatures and scouring inboxes for updated contract versions and statuses. They can easily see where a draft agreement is in the process and set reminders to ensure all contracts are signed on time.

8. Automate Approvals

Contract automation tools give you a way to set up standard approval processes that reduce back-and-forth communication and the ongoing search for signatures. Certain tools (like Docubee) also feature conditional logic that allows you to better route documents based on client responses.

9. Build a Repeatable Process

Once you’ve set up one contract automation workflow in your new contract automation tool, it’s easy to replicate the setup for other workflows. You never have to recreate the wheel again, saving valuable time and frustration. Minor tweaks and customizations can adapt your processes for different clients. Our flexible integrations allow you to automatically pull company data. Docubee makes workflow setup easy, and we have plenty of template construction tips for you.

Features of Contract Automation Software

There are many advantages of contract management software that vary from saving time, saving resources, and helping pare down complicated processes. Among the most impactful include:

Workflow Automation

It’s not just about automating your contracts, it’s about automating all of the pieces that go along with it. Contract automation allows you to automate routing and all tasks that support your contracts, such as the emails and notifications needed to get signatures, and the routing of completed documents to the proper storage locations.

Integrations with Other Systems

You shouldn’t be spending extra time exporting and re-uploading completed documents to the other apps you use. Instead, pick a tool that comes complete with thousands of integrations. 

Auto-Filling of Contract Data

It’s time to make more from the info you’re already collecting. Contract automation (depending on your tool) allows you to use previously collected data to generate contracts or populate fields to make your life easier. 

Docubee: Contract Automation Made Easy

Docubee makes contract automation easy. With end-to-end contract automation tools, flexible integrations, and dynamic delivery methods, you’ll get contracts signed faster than ever.

Ready to join the hive? Get a custom demo.