Best 3 Contract Software for Small Business in 2024

Philip Reynolds
byPhilip Reynolds
January 26, 2024

This is the full 2024 guide for choosing the best contract management software for small business.

It may not be sexy, but it is smart. Having a great contract management process can make the different between a stressed day and a calm day… Or an audit failed and an audit passed.

Picking the right solution will help your organization to thrive – so this guide will help you to go about it.

Our Picks: Three Contract Management Software Packages for Small Business

  1. Contract Hound (Best For Small Business) – Designed solely for small business, we believe Contract Hound, the world’s easiest contract software, offers the right feature set if you’re a small organization just getting started with contract management.
  2. Agiloft (Best for Larger Businesses) – Able to manage the entire contract lifecycle and perfectly set up to support enterprise clients, Agiloft is a market leader for a reason.
  3. PandaDoc (Best on a Budget) – Don’t want to pay? Use PandaDoc for unlimited legally binding eSignatures and document uploads. It’s a basic contract management system, but it works.

The Full Rundown

Contract Hound

$95 per month starting price, includes 50 contracts.

Contract Hound is aimed squarely at small business (up to 100 employees) and comes equipped with a suite of features and tools designed to simplify the contractual process and move the process online and out of filing cabinets and Excel spreadsheets. It’s designed to be the most easy to use contract management software on the market.

The purpose of Contract Hound is to help move small businesses to cloud-based storage, saving them time and optimizing the ease of use and searchability within an organized management system. All the fancy bells and whistles of the more expensive, enterprise-focused software aren’t clogging up the Contract Hound user interface. The overall user experience is straightforward and covers all the bases small to mid-sized businesses need in contract management software.

Contract Hound does not support in-app contract creation or authoring; however, what it does offer is easy to use and covers all the main functions of contract management software. Pricing scales up from $95 per month for 50 contracts to $190 for 100 contracts, and so on.

Key Capabilities and Traits of Contract Hound:
Contract Hound has a consistent, easy-to-access user interface whether using a desktop, tablet, or smartphone.

Users can send documents to DocuSign for signatures, and the signatures will sync back in and save in Contract Hound.

Track contracts through all life cycle stages and safely store all documents on the Cloud.

Send contracts and documents to team members and users as they are uploaded to Contract Hound. Easily track who has approved, who is next for approval, and so on.

Though not as robust as other contract software, document collaboration between users is simple and suitable for small-scale contracts not requiring numerous parties and complex negotiation.

What is Contract Management Software?

Contract Management Software is a program developed for businesses to store and manage legal documents and agreements, including contracts between clients, customers, vendors, licensing agreements, leases, etc.

With the help of a good contract management software program or suite of programs, all or nearly all aspects of the contractual process can be managed digitally and tracked, including contract creation, negotiation and discussion of contractual terms, and electronic signatures.

By creating a unified digital workspace, members of a business team can simultaneously access the entirety of their business’s contracts anywhere in the world with an internet-connected computer or smartphone. Being able to do this is essential for companies of all sizes to create a contract lifecycle management setup which works for them.

In addition to most contract management software programs capable of handling all (or nearly all) aspects of a new contract, it will also streamline the contract renewal process. Most software has built-in features for reminding users a contract is about to be up for renewal, among other useful and efficient tools.

You may hear contract management software solutions being referred to as contract lifecycle management or “CLM” software interchangeably – from a small business perspective, it’s essentially the same thing.

Why Contract Management Software?

Contracts form the basis of all commerce and business. On a base level, a contract is two (or more parties) agreeing and promising to the other they will act in a specified way, generally for both parties’ benefit – they each get something they want out of the contract. If something doesn’t go according to plan, each party has the agreement to refer back to and protect their interests.

Companies had to keep basements and warehouses full of boxes on boxes and room upon room of hard copy contracts until very recently. For a company dealing with thousands of contracts a month, even with the greatest filing system in the world, it would require someone physically locating a contract, whether that meant going to the basement or making a call to the repository attendant and filing a request. It took time – and a lot of it. And imagine if all you needed to do was look up one little clause or detail – all that work for something so small, however important and necessary.

Enter Contract Management Software. At first, it was just about providing a central repository – but as technology evolves, so do all the advanced features created to help us with managing contracts. Contract authoring and calling up a completed contract can now be done in seconds with cloud-based contract management software. For example: On page 52 of a ten-year-old contract, that particular tiny but important clause can be found in seconds by a simple digital search through the contract. The amount of time and tedium saved and the increased volume of concurrent contracts a small business to a medium enterprise can maintain with good contract management software is astounding.

What are the core functions of contract management software?

Holding and Managing Contracts

Contract management software is a place to store your contracts. Many companies may find it logistically challenging to store a large number of contracts. They could save their contracts to a hard drive, but they still have a collection of documents without efficiently managing them.

Contract management software makes locating contracts easy with a contract repository, along with tracking which stage the contract is in throughout the process. Audit trails normally come as standard with modern cloud-based contract management software.

Therefore, streamlining the administrative process involved with contracts is one of the most important purposes and benefits of Content Management Software.

Managing and Tracking Contract Changes and Responsibilities

Generally speaking, many contracts go through changes and rewrites or rephrasing of terms before both parties are in agreement. Contract management software will highlight each of the changes – large or small – made to the document at each stage of the process (hence it is also known as contract lifecycle management CLM software).

Tracking changes to each version of the document shortens the review process and prevents one or the other party quietly slipping in any last-minute changes to the contract. Everyone involved will quickly and easily see what the other parties are doing and manage their interaction more efficiently. This audit trail functionality is vital when audit time rolls around!

Other Features Often Included in Contract Management Software

Authoring Tools and Language Tools: The main benefit of using semi-automated contract authoring tools is the number of contracts a single user can create in a short period of time. It typically takes 30-40% less time to develop semi-automated contracts using Authoring and Language tools and contract templates, than to create the same contracts manually.

Many software programs with completely contained contract creation tools will include extensive digital libraries of legal and contractual clauses to integrate into contracts, standardizing language across contracts. Full contract templates are commonly available as well.

Integration with Other Productivity Applications: Productivity software like Asana, Workday, Slack, Salesforce, and many others easily integrate with a good contract management system, making things easier for everyone on the team to stay on the same page when managing contracts.

Who Uses Contract Management Software?

A contract management platform is used by all types of businesses and can be useful for every department. Legal and business teams are obvious users, and so are law firms, but such specialized functions may require much more advanced contract management features. In small business, we typically see it being used by sales, procurement and executive teams.

Sales Teams
With cloud-based contract management software, sales teams can quickly draw up a contract and close a deal before the opportunity is gone, even on the go. Often a deal can cool off by the time a contract is created by the legal team and doesn’t end up getting signed.

With contract management platform, a company’s legal team can quickly work on the numerous contracts they draw up and deal with daily.

Transparency into contracts facilitated by contract management software makes the finance department’s job a lot easier by providing a high level of transparency and data analysis to keep a company on track, as this post by Juro points out. Especially relevant ahead of tricky audit trail asks from the taxman!

Human Resources
HR departments with contract management software can quickly produce lawyer-approved contracts for new hires to the company. Any issues like misspelling names, changing dates, etc., can easily be altered. Each signature required can be added digitally, eliminating the need for everyone to be in the room together or pass a paper contract around.

The Benefits of Contract Management Software

Saving Time: Review Time Cut by Up To 80%
Contract management software highlights the changes made, eliminating the need to review the entire contract when only some parts have been changed. Time saved is money saved.

Lower Overall Costs
Creating and developing a contract from authoring, negotiation, reviewing, and signing can be quicker and more comfortable for those without legal backgrounds with the aid of contract management software. Authoring tools with drag-and-drop features provide standardized legalese throughout contracts, dramatically cutting down the number of people required for the successful creation of a contract.

Assigning Responsibilities to Contracts and Tracking/Auditing
Tracking and auditing that each party performs as required by the contract is easier with contract management software. With a cloud-based contract management system in place, contract responsibility can easily be assigned, ensuring a higher level of attention to individual clients and contracts, fewer errors, or things slipping through the cracks.