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Business | Strategy & Management

A Comprehensive Guide to Contract Risk Management

13 Sep 2023, by Kristen Gutierrez

An average of 25% of the workforce is engaged in contract management in some capacity, according to a report from World Commerce & Contracting.

Contracts are the lifeblood of enterprises, defining the rules of engagement in business relationships. As the complexity and volume of contracts grow with the scale of your business, the management of contract-related risks becomes indispensable. By identifying and mitigating these risks, contract risk management can shield your business from potential losses, ensuring maximum returns from contractual relationships.

Contract Risk Management

Contract risk management refers to the systematic evaluation of potential threats contained within a contract, and the implementation of measures to mitigate these risks. In essence, it is a protective shield for your contract portfolio, ensuring the agreements you enter into align with your organisation’s risk tolerance and business objectives.

Every contract carries inherent risks, which can vary depending on the nature of the agreement and the parties involved. Let’s delve into the four most common types of contract risks:

Financial Risks

Financial risks can arise from various factors, including missed payments, contract termination, or unfulfilled delivery deadlines. These risks can affect the financial stability of your organisation, making it crucial to manage and mitigate them effectively.

Legal Risks

Legal risks involve the potential for lawsuits or legal action due to breaches of contract terms or non-compliance with relevant laws and regulations. These risks can result in significant legal costs and potentially damage your business reputation.

Reputational Risks

Reputational risks relate to the potential damage to your business’s public image due to financial, legal, or security issues. This type of risk can have profound negative impacts on your reputation, leading to customer distrust and financial losses.

Security Risks

Security risks are associated with the protection of confidential information contained within contracts. Breaches of contract data security can result in severe consequences, including legal action and reputational damage.

Contracts act as your company’s first line of defence when any legal issues arise. Through careful negotiation and review of the contract’s terms and conditions and regular audits, potential risks can be mitigated to ensure maximum value from your agreements.

Modern contract risk management tools can also significantly enhance your ability to manage contract risks effectively. By choosing a a comprehensive Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) solution that aligns with your business needs, these tools can streamline your processes and minimise potential losses.

Implementing Contract Risk Management Strategies

An effective contract risk management strategy involves a combination of proactive and reactive measures to minimise potential risks. Here are some strategies that you can implement to mitigate contract risks:

Strategy 1: Establish a Risk Appetite

This involves defining the level of risk your organisation is willing to accept in pursuit of its business objectives. Once you establish your risk appetite, you can use it as a guide to evaluate potential risks in your contracts.

Strategy 2: Use a Risk Assessment Matrix

A risk assessment matrix is a tool that helps you classify and prioritise risks based on their potential impact and likelihood of occurrence. This tool can help you identify high-risk contracts and implement appropriate risk mitigation strategies.

Strategy 3: Automate Contract Data Mining & Identification

Contract management software with artificial intelligence capabilities can help automate the process of identifying key contract data fields and establish rules around them. By automating this process, you can reduce the burden of contract analysis and focus on higher-value activities.

Strategy 4: Implement Risk Reduction Actions

Implementing risk reduction actions can significantly reduce your exposure to contract risks. These actions can include generating contract amendments, renegotiating contracts, transferring risks to third parties, purchasing insurance, and more.


Effective contract risk management is crucial for the successful execution of contracts and the overall success of your business. By understanding the different types of contract risks and implementing effective risk management strategies, you can safeguard your business from potential threats and ensure a smooth contractual journey. Determinately, the key to successful contract risk management lies in proactive planning, continuous monitoring, and leveraging the right tools and technologies.

Further recommendations:

Informa Corporate Learning are leaders in training, knowledge and performance improvement, servicing up to 30+ industry sectors. Our Contracts & Procurement Portfolio boasts one of the most well designed, robust training programs in Australia featuring Contract Risk Management, Contract Law Fundamentals for Non-Lawyers, Contract Law Masterclass for Non-Lawyers, and Contract Writing & Negotiation for Non-Lawyers. See our list of Contracts & Procurement courses. A FREE Breakfast Briefing Event is also coming this September. For more information, please email

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