What is a Contract Administrator?
The business environment is packed with formal written contracts that state the expectations of businesses and individuals, and a contact administrator is needed to ensure the compliance of contracts. A contract administrator is a professional within an organization or department that is responsible for the management of contracts, including approval and any necessary changes that may be needed over the course of the contract. He or she also makes sure the parties of the contract adhere to the terms, conditions, and obligations of the contract. A contract administrator commonly works for managers and other upper level professionals of an organization.
Contract Administrator Duties
A contract administrator prepares, evaluates, and negotiates contracts that involve various agreements, such as the purchase or sale of goods. He or she oversees the planning, administration, and revision of contracts to make sure all parties’ needs are met. The main priority of a contract administrator is compliance of the contract. He or she ensures all performance responsibilities as outlined by the contract are met. He or she also consistently monitors the performance during the duration of the contract using various tools, such as spreadsheets and electronic document management systems. A contract administrator also maintains detailed records that commonly include original contract documents, correspondence, modifications, and payments. He or she prepares and distributes information to the appropriate individuals regarding aspects of the contract. Once the terms of a contract are up, the contract administrator performs the necessary closing tasks and provides summaries to the related parties.
Required Education to Become a Contract Administrator
Generally, a contract administrator must have at least a bachelor’s degree in business, human resource management, or other related area. Common coursework completed includes contract assessment, human resources, contract management, accounting, and business law. Many employers also require a minimum of two years experience in the business field in a related administration position. Many contract administrators begin their careers in entry-level administrative positions and move up as they gain experience. Some contract administrators obtain voluntary certification from the National Contract Management Association to remain competitive in the field and increase pay. The organization offers The Certified Federal Contracts Manager, Certified Commercial Contracts Manager, and Certified Professional Contracts Manager certifications. Minimum education and experience requirements apply for these certifications.
Job Outlook and Salary for Contract Administrators
The employment of contract administrators is projected to rise as fast as average for all jobs in the U.S. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this profession is expected to grow 12 percent by the year 2022. More organizations contracting out additional services will fuel the demand for contract administrators. Contract administrators with advanced education and extensive experience will have the best job opportunities. The median salary for level-one contract administrators is around $60,000 per year. The top 10 percent earn more than $67,000 per year, and the lowest 10 percent earn below $42,000 annually. Specific salaries for contract administrators will vary depending on industry, company, education, and experience.
Related Resource: Sports Marketer
Contracts are an essential part of sufficient operation of many types of companies and organizations. They establish the terms and conditions of an agreement and hold all parties accountable. Becoming a contract administrator is an ideal choice for individuals who have excellent communication skills and the ability to negotiate with an array of businesses and individuals.
- How can I use occupational information?
- Occupational tools and resources
- Occupation videos
- Occupation explorer
- Occupations A-Z
- Career possibility generator
- Knowledge, skills and attributes
- Working conditions
- Salary details
- Tools and technologies
- Education and training/entrance requirements
- Recognition of prior learning
Contract administrators are responsible for the administration and management of contracts for businesses or government departments. They must keep track of and facilitate reviewing all of the documentation, records of financials, key milestones and communications involved in the lead-up, duration and conclusion of a contract. They ensure that all parties adhere to their agreed requirements and report on progress.
They may also be involved in maintaining relationships with a variety of stakeholders, and managing conflicts of interest that might arise.
|ANZSCO description:||Prepares, interprets, maintains, reviews and negotiates variations to contracts on behalf of an organisation.|
|Alternative names:||contract manager, contract officer|
A contract administrator needs:
- excellent verbal and written communication skills
- a high level of analytical, problem-solving and negotiation skills
- the ability to deal with complex financial and budgetary situations
- a methodical approach to planning and attentive record-keeping skills
- to be highly organised and able to manage multiple tasks at once
- to have an up to date understanding of legislative and compliance requirements.
Contract administrators usually work at in an office environment. They spend a considerable amount of time interacting with and managing people, including sub-contractors and other stakeholders, either face to face or over the phone.
Contract administrators may work across a large range of different industries, such as construction, finance or aged care. They can work for a diverse variety of organisations in the public or private sector.
On average, contract administrators, classified under contract, program and project administrators can expect to earn between $1 500 and $1 999 per week ($78 000 and $103 999 per year) depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a contract administrator develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.Back to top
Contract administrators use business software and specialist contract management software to perform tasks such as record keeping, budget monitoring and general communications. They spend considerable time on the phone or using email.Back to top
To become a contract administrator, you usually need to complete a formal qualification in contract management, business law or a related field.
The Diploma of Contract Management and the Diploma of Government (Procurement and Contracting) are offered at registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.
You can also complete a degree majoring in business law.
Contract management or contract administration is the management of contracts made with customers, vendors, partners, or employees. The personnel involved in contract administration required to negotiate, support and manage effective contracts are often expensive to train and retain. Contract management includes negotiating the terms and conditions in contracts and ensuring compliance with the terms and conditions, as well as documenting and agreeing on any changes or amendments that may arise during its implementation or execution. It can be summarized as the process of systematically and efficiently managing contract creation, execution, and analysis for the purpose of maximizing financial and operational performance and minimizing risk.
Common commercial contracts include employment letters, sales invoices, purchase orders, and utility contracts. Complex contracts are often necessary for construction projects, goods or services that are highly regulated, goods or services with detailed technical specifications, intellectual property (IP) agreements, outsourcing and international trade. Most larger contracts require the effective use of contract management software to aid administration among multiple parties.
A study has found that for “42% of enterprises…the top driver for improvements in the management of contracts is the pressure to better assess and mitigate risks” and additionally,”nearly 65% of enterprises report that contract lifecycle management (CLM) has improved exposure to financial and legal risk.”
A contract is a written or oral legally-binding agreement between the parties identified in the agreement to fulfill the terms and conditions outlined in the agreement. A prerequisite requirement for the enforcement of a contract, amongst other things, is the condition that the parties to the contract accept the terms of the claimed contract. Historically, this was most commonly achieved through signature or performance, but in many jurisdictions – especially with the advance of electronic commerce – the forms of acceptance have expanded to include various forms of electronic signature.
- A sales contract is a contract between a company (the seller) and a customer where the company agrees to sell products and/or services and the customer in return is obligated to pay for the product/services bought.
- A purchasing contract is a contract between a company (the buyer) and a supplier who is promising to sell products and/or services within agreed terms and conditions. The company (buyer) in return is obligated to acknowledge the goods / or service and pay for liability created.
- A partnership agreement may be a contract which formally establishes the terms of a partnership between two legal entities such that they regard each other as ‘partners’ in a commercial arrangement. However, such expressions may also be merely a means to reflect the desire of the contracting parties to act ‘as if’ both are in a partnership with common goals. Therefore, it might not be the common lawarrangement of a partnership which by definition creates fiduciary duties and which also has ‘joint and several’ liabilities.
Areas of contract management
The business-standard contract management model, as employed by many organizations in the United States, typically exercises purview over the following business disciplines:
- Authorizing and negotiation
- Baseline management
- Commitment management
- Communication management.
- Contract visibility and awareness
- Document management
- Growth (for Sales-side contracts)
- Contract compliance/governance
There may be occasions where what is agreed in a contract needs to be changed later on. A number of bases may be used to support a subsequent change, so that the whole contract remains enforceable under the new arrangement.
A change may be based on:
- A mutual agreement of both parties to vary the contract, outside the framework of the existing contract. This would be an independent basis for changing the contract.
- A unilateral decision to vary the contract, contemplated and allowed for by the existing contract. This would normally have notice periods for fairness and often the right of the other, especially in consumer contracts, to cease the contractual relationship. Be careful that any one-way imposition of change is contractually justified, otherwise it may be interpreted as a repudiation of the original contract, enabling the other party to terminate the contract and seek damages.
- A bilateral decision to vary the contracting, within the variation or change control process outlined in the existing contract. These are often called change control provisions.
Phases of contract management
Contract management can be divided into three phases  namely
- pre- contract phase
- contract execution phase
- post award phase (often referred to as contract compliance/governance)
See also: Relational contract
During the post-award phase, it is important to ensure that contract conditions and terms are met, but it is also critical to take a closer look for items such as unrecorded liabilities, under-reported revenue or overpayments. If these items are overlooked, margin may be negatively impacted. A contract compliance audit will often commence with an opportunity review to identify the highest risk areas. Having a dedicated contract compliance (and/or governance) program in place has been shown to result in a typical recovery of 2-4% and sometimes as high as 20%.
Current thinking about contract management in complex relationships is shifting from a compliance “management” to a “governance” perspective, with the focus on creating a governance structure in which the parties have a vested interest in managing what are often highly complex contractual arrangements in a more collaborative, aligned, flexible, and credible way. In 1979, Nobel laureate Oliver Williamson wrote that the governance structure is the “framework within which the integrity of a transaction is decided.” He further added that “because contracts are varied and complex, governance structures vary with the nature of the transaction.” 
A collaborative governance framework has four components:
- A relationship management structure (how the parties work together to make both day-to-day operational decisions as well as strategic decisions)
- A joint performance and transformation management process designed to track the overall performance of the partnership
- An exit management plan as a controlling mechanism to encourage the organizations to make ethical, proactive changes for the mutual benefit of all the parties.
- Compliance to special concerns and regulations, which include the more traditional components of contract compliance
- Commercial management
- Contract management software
- Document automation
- Government contract
- National Contract Management Association
- Group purchasing organization
- Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs – for contracts with the United States government
- Uniform Commercial Code – United States
- United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods
- Relational contract
- Vested outsourcing
- ^ “Best Practices in Contract Management: Strategies for Optimizing Business Relationships<“. Aberdeen Group. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
- ^ “Contract Management: Optimizing Revenues and Capturing Savings”. Aberdeen Group. May 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
- ^ “Contracts<“. Cornell University Law School. Retrieved 2015-07-22.
- ^ Contract & Commercial Management – The Operational Guide, Van Haren Publishing, October 2011, ISBN 978 90 8753 627 5
- ^ “California Energy Commission:2008 Energy Efficiency Standards”|http://www.energy.ca.gov/2008publications/CEC-400-2008-016/CEC-400-2008-016-CMF-REV1.PDF%7Caccessdate=2016-08-16}
- ^ Williamson, Oliver E.|1979|”Transaction-Cost Economics: The Governance of Contractual Relations,”|Journal of Law and Economics: Vol. 22: No. 2, Article 3|accessible at: http://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/jle/vol22/iss2/3
- ^ Vitasek, Kate; et al. (2011). The Vested Outsourcing Manual (1st ed.). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0230112684.
- ^ https://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2489199,00.asp