What Is a Contracts Manager? (With Duties and Skills)

Updated 30 April 2023

The role of a contracts manager is to help an organisation keep track of its contracts and legal documentation. They're familiar with each step of contract management and ensure that all parties adhere to the contract. Learning more about this role may help you determine whether you want to pursue it. In this article, we answer 'What is a contracts manager?', discuss what they do and outline their job requirements and skills.

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What is a contracts manager?

Contracts managers are individuals who handle an organisation's legal paperwork and contracts. They oversee the creation, negotiation and signing of contracts. They also keep these records structured and easily accessible. Contract managers ensure that the company's contracts, at all stages of the contract's life cycle, include accurate and reasonable terms. They often work in companies that specialise in financing or business operations but can support any organisation with contracts or legal paperwork, including:

  • manufacturing

  • construction

  • education

  • government

  • nonprofit

Related: 8 Online Contract Management Certification Programmes

What does a contracts manager do?

A contracts manager's responsibilities may include:

Negotiating contracts

They often directly consult with procurement personnel, suppliers and customer lawyers. Contract negotiations include discussing terms before both sides sign agreements. They use their negotiation skills to identify common areas of interest from which they may draft a document with acceptable conditions for both sides.

Drafting and executing contracts

These managers monitor the whole contracting process from drafting to execution. They function as a liaison between an organisation and suppliers or other parties. This ensures a prompt assessment and approval of any revisions.

Related: What Is the Management of a Contract? (Including Stages)

Maintaining contractual documents

Contracts managers maintain a record of all contract paperwork. They may use a contract management application with tags and directories to organise contracts. Keeping a record of contracts after signing may help ensure efficiency and compliance. Proper document and record management can help reduce risks by providing proof in the event of a disagreement.

Managing projects

Contracts managers also handle project management. They do this by monitoring project progress, assessing performance or deliverables and ensuring work is on schedule and within budget. For example, a contracts manager in construction may ensure that the project satisfies the agreed-upon specifications.

Enforcing standards and compliance

Another important function of the contracts manager is to enforce compliance. They guarantee the parties follow through on their legal duties under their agreement. This ensures that each party fulfils expectations and understands the implications of their actions from request to approval.

Related: 34 Contract Administrator Interview Questions (With Answers)

Resolving conflicts

When parties can't reach an agreement or there's a misunderstanding, a contracts manager may step in and help find a solution. They can do this through various approaches, including dialogue or the employment of alternative dispute resolutions. By resolving issues swiftly, the management avoids litigation, allowing parties to continue collaborating.

Controlling business costs

Contract managers help employers reduce expenses associated with the production of products and services or the operation of the business. A well-drafted contract helps reduce future material cost increases. It also includes features that enable the organisation to adapt to changing needs and increase process efficiency. For example, the contracts manager can advise the company to postpone or cancel certain scheduled manufacturing operations, after which they can request bids from contractors with favourable conditions.

Evaluating suppliers

Contracts managers oversee and direct contracts throughout their lifecycle. They help companies monitor and track vendor performance, deadlines and compliance. They often generate reports and analyse performance to determine what to do when a contract is up for renewal or expiry. The manager assures timely delivery, proper billing and contract compliance by evaluating contractual responsibilities.

Related: What Is an Employment Contract?

Job requirements for a contracts manager

Here are the job requirements for this role:


Contracts managers usually possess a bachelor's degree in business administration, law or other related fields. Some employers may prefer candidates with a master's degree in a related field. A background in business or law is helpful in this role as these managers draft and negotiate contracts that comply with legal and regulatory requirements.

Related: 38 Supply Manager Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

Knowledge of contract law

Contract law refers to the legal principles and rules that govern the creation, interpretation, enforcement and termination of contracts. Understanding contract law ensures that contracts are legally binding and enforceable and protect the interests of all parties involved. A contracts manager can understand the legal requirements for creating a valid and enforceable contract, including the essential elements of a contract, such as an offer, acceptance, consideration and mutual consent.

As a contracts manager, you become familiar with the different types of contracts, such as express and implied, and the various methods of contract formation, such as oral and written. You can identify and address potential legal issues that may arise during the contract negotiation and execution process, such as breach of contract, fraud, misrepresentation and duress. You may become familiar with the various legal remedies for contract disputes, such as specific performance, damages and injunctions.


Contracts managers typically have several years of experience in contract administration or related fields, such as procurement or legal. Employers may prefer candidates with experience in negotiating and drafting contracts, managing contract compliance and working with vendors and suppliers. Experience in project management is also helpful in this role.


Contracts managers continue learning and developing their skills throughout their careers to stay updated on the latest trends and regulations in contract management. You may receive training in various forms. This can include on-the-job training, workshops, seminars and formal training programmes.

  • On-the-job training: This involves learning by doing, where you work with experienced managers who provide guidance and support as you learn how to do the job. Employers may assign tasks and responsibilities that gradually increase in complexity as you gain experience.

  • Workshops and seminars: Contracts managers may attend workshops or seminars offered by professional associations or industry groups. These events may cover negotiation, contract drafting, risk management and compliance.

  • Formal training programmes: Some employers offer formal training programmes for contracts managers. They may provide these programmes in-house or through external providers and cover various topics such as contract law, project management and communication skills.

  • Online training: You can also take advantage of online training courses, which offer flexibility and convenience. These courses cover similar topics to in-person training programmes and can be a cost-effective way to gain new skills and knowledge.

Related: On-the-Job Training: Definition, Types and Examples

Skills of a contracts manager

The following are six important skills for a contracts manager:

Attention to detail

Attention to detail refers to how precisely you perform your responsibilities. While establishing and evaluating contracts, a contract manager meticulously reviews every detail. You can double-check contracts for errors to ensure your work is accurate and comprehensive to avoid legal trouble. You may verify a document for spelling, grammatical or punctuation errors.

Organisational skills

Your tasks as a contracts manager include executing and documenting a contract throughout its lifespan, adopting changes to an agreement and renewing contracts. All of them require exceptional organisational skills. Being organised can help you perform these tasks and succeed as a contracts manager.


Communication is the ability to deliver meaningful messages to others. This competence is necessary to help you create contracts. Contracts managers also interact with various specialists to negotiate and update contracts. While working on a legal document, communication helps you explain your thoughts clearly.

Related: Effective Communication: Definition, Benefits and Tips

Technology skills

Company contracts are typically complex, with several detailed elements to keep track of and implement. Since each contract has its timelines and deliverables, managing a broad contract portfolio often requires technology. Effective contract implementation necessitates using technology and solutions, such as contract administration software and other contract management programs.


Collaboration refers to your ability to work successfully with others. This skill helps in working collaboratively to complete tasks, such as contract negotiation. Contracts managers often work with a wide range of people within and outside the organisation. While negotiating a contract, you may collaborate with partners, suppliers or other businesses. You may also interact with colleagues to update contracts, since legal paperwork may affect many departments.

Legal knowledge

Contracts managers require a good understanding of contract law and the ability to interpret complex legal language. You may have a basic understanding of contract formation, interpretation and termination. You may also identify and mitigate legal risks associated with different types of contracts. This knowledge helps you draft and review contracts and ensures all parties adhere to the legal requirements.

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