How to manage contracts with an Excel spreadsheet

How To
February 21, 2024
Discover how to manage contracts in Excel in this guide and download our free Excel contract management template.

With more than a billion Microsoft Office users worldwide, Excel is the professional standard for accountants, financial analysts, bankers, and anyone else tasked with managing large amounts of data. 

But did you know that lawyers can use Excel to manage their contracts, too? In this post, we’ll explore how legal teams to track their contract data in Excel, with a free Excel contract management template to download. 

We’ll also explore a better, more efficient way for businesses like yours to capture and track their contracts, and how this can reduce the amount of time and resource you spend doing this work manually. 

What is Excel contract management?

Excel contract management describes the process of recording, tracking, and organizing a portfolio of contracts in an Excel spreadsheet. It gives businesses the opportunity to centralize all of their key contract data in one file, rather than having it scattered across the original copies of contracts. 

Why do businesses use Excel for contract management?

There are a few reasons why businesses default to Excel for contract management. 

Firstly, many businesses use Microsoft Office applications already, and using the tools you have licenses for can be cost-effective for businesses with lean or non-existent budgets. Legal teams are often already familiar with using Excel at a basic level, too. This means that there’s usually less of a learning curve when it comes to using Excel for contract management

However, the main reason why businesses use Excel for contract management is that it offers the basic functionality needed to store this contract data and make calculations based on it. Excel spreadsheets are also easy to access, update and share, enabling teams to improve contract visibility across the organization.

Excel contract management doesn’t offer the fastest or most reliable way to track contract data, but it’s certainly better than not tracking this data at all. In fact, it’s a great first step for legal teams that need to become more data-driven. 

Limitations of Excel contract management

Excel wasn’t designed for contract management, though. As a result, there are a few, significant limitations of using an Excel contract management template to track your legal agreements. 

1. Requires a lot of time-consuming admin work 

The biggest limitation is the amount of time and administrative work required to create and update the spreadsheet. Legal teams have to read through individual contracts, copy and paste the key data points into the spreadsheet, and later update these if the terms change. 

This is distinct from Juro where the data is captured automatically in contract smartfields and pulled into a contract database in the platform by default. 

2. No automated contract reminders 

Excel doesn’t offer contract reminders either. This means that teams with lots of contracts have to practically live in the spreadsheet to track upcoming contract deadlines like auto-renewals, commencement dates, and termination dates. Otherwise, they risk missing them. 

Contract reminder software, by comparison, eliminates this need for constant, manual review as users get automated contract reminders ahead of these milestones, making it easy for them to track their obligations

3. No easy way to push contract data into other platforms 

An Excel sheet is a static file, meaning that the data it contains doesn’t transfer easily between systems. Instead, organizations that use Excel for contract management will need to manually update the records kept in their HR systems and CRMs with the data from the contracts they sign. 

However, when individuals use Juro to track their contracts, this data is pushed into your systems of choice automatically. For example, our integration with Salesforce has a two-way data sync. This means that, when legal makes changes to a sales contract, these changes are instantly reflected in the Salesforce record the contract is linked with. 

To find out more about Juro’s contract tracking functionality and two-way integration with Salesforce, hit the button below for a personalized demo. 

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But as we mentioned earlier, Excel contract management can be a great first step for businesses that need a basic way to capture contract data. This is especially true for small businesses that only manage a handful of contracts and don’t have the budget for anything more sophisticated. 

To enable you to manage your contracts in Excel, we’ve created a contract management template in Excel that’s free to download, customize and use. Click the image below to download it.

Alternatively, you can create your own contract management template in Excel using the tips and information shared below. 

However, if you’re looking for a more advanced and efficient way to manage your contracts and their data, get in touch with our team of specialists to find out how Juro’s collaborative contract platform can help. 

How to create an Excel contract management template

Tips for creating an Excel contract management template

There are a few important things to consider when tracking contracts in an Excel spreadsheet. 

Firstly, you’ll need to limit what data can be entered into specific fields of the spreadsheet. This helps to ensure that the data points are formatted correctly and can be filtered accurately. 

You’ll also need to establish certain workflows for updating and reviewing the data on these spreadsheets. After all, the data stored in the spreadsheet is worthless if it’s outdated or never used. You need to decide:

  • When the spreadsheet needs to be updated 
  • Who is responsible for updating the contract management spreadsheet 
  • When the spreadsheet should be used (e.g for tracking upcoming renewals)
  • Who is responsible for tracking the data within the sheet, and how often 

It’s also important to lock down the spreadsheet and ensure that edits aren’t made accidentally or without the owner’s permission. This is important because it protects the integrity of the data.

Which fields should you include in an Excel contract management spreadsheet?

If you do decide to create your own contract management spreadsheet template in Excel, you’ll need to decide which data points you’d like to track. These can differ a lot between businesses, but we’ve created a detailed list of common data points below to give you some inspiration:

  • Business owner: the individual who commercially owns the contract
  • Legal owner: the legal team member who owns the contract
  • Reference number: the number stated on the title page of the contract that is quoted in all communications under the contract
  • Counterparty: a party to a contract or the other party to a financial transaction
  • Contract type: the different contract structures or forms
  • Approval 1, 2, 3 (etc.): Each key stakeholder's sign-off
  • Status: draft, approved, fully signed, etc.
  • Buy-side or sell-side: the role of your organization as it relates to the contract
  • Total value: how much the contract is worth after it has been executed, including recurring revenue and fees
  • Annualized value: the rate of return for a period less than one year, but computed as if the rate were for an entire year
  • Duration (in years): the period of time that the contract will be in force
  • Termination date: the day the contract will end
  • Give notice date: the date by which legally binding notice must be given
  • Liability cap: monetary limit placed on a party’s responsibility for contractual damages
  • Personal data: applicable only if the contract contains personal data
  • Jurisdiction: indicates what state controls the contract and where a dispute will be resolved
  • Notes: additional information, such as whether termination is planned at the end of the term, etc.

Is there a better way to capture and track contract data?

Lawyers often resort to capturing key contract data in an Excel spreadsheet because the data can be added and updated relatively easily. But imagine how much faster and more efficient it would be if this data was captured and updated automatically - with no manual data entry required. 

With Juro’s collaborative contract management platform, this data capture is automated and happens in real-time. Rather than extracting data points from the contract and pasting these into an Excel sheet, Juro users can trust that this data is recorded by default. 

Contracts created in Juro are built as structured data, making them fully searchable from the moment they’re created. Juro users can also set contract smartfields in their contract templates, meaning that the contract metadata in those fields can be used to filter and organize contracts in Juro’s customizable contract dashboard.

To find out more about Juro's data-rich, collaborative contract management software, fill in the form below.

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