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Contract administrative assistants help contracts managers to effectively enforce contracts made with suppliers, customers, contractors, employees or government agencies. They prepare contract documents, set up meetings for the manager, communicate with contractors and maintain contract files. Contract administrative assistants can work for government agencies, retail businesses, construction companies, insurance providers and health facilities.
Using the Skills
To thrive on the job, contract administrative assistants need a keen attention to detail coupled with strong organizational skills. When checking final drafts of proposed contracts, for example, they should be able to catch and rectify slight errors -- such as omission of a clause -- and efficiently work with lots of paperwork. These assistants must be people of irrefutable integrity, as they often access sensitive business or legal information, which they should keep confidential. Clear speaking and writing skills are also important to contract administrative assistants, because their job involves supplying information to contractors.
Construction administrative assistants set up the documentation for new contracts. When a construction company wants to contract a building equipment manufacturer, for instance, the assistant drafts an invitation to tender letter and a contractor agreement form, and submits them to the contracts manager. After the contract is signed, the assistant files it and, if necessary, sends copies to the company’s attorney. Under the direction of the contracts manager, the administrative assistant may monitor the contractor’s performance and compile periodic compliance reports.
Improving Contract Administration Processes
Another duty of contract administrative assistants is to analyze an organization’s current contract administration procedures and find ways to eliminate bottlenecks. For example, if the assistant establishes that it takes too long to look up old contracts, he can advise the contracts manager to recommend that the company adopt an electronic filing system.
Other duties include reviewing contractor invoices for accuracy, notifying contractors about contract reviews or renewals, and investigating contract problems such as when parties to a contract have documents with clauses that are worded differently.
Contracts administrative assistants must be knowledgeable about acquisition processes, contract laws and contract processing. The best way to gain this knowledge and heighten your chances of landing the job is to earn at least an associate degree in acquisition and contract management. However, a degree in business administration may also suffice. If you wish to work for a federal agency, or a company that supplies good or services to the government, you may need to complete a contracting course administered by the Federal Acquisition Institute.
To advance your career and become a contracts manager, pursue a bachelor’s degree in contract management.