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The Top 6 Resources for Contract Managers

Jessica Alden contract professionals, legal professionals

Professional organizations are tremendous contract management resources. Many of the benefits are available with a simple website visit, while membership can open doors to education, certification, and one-on-one connection with colleagues facing similar challenges.

Here are some organizations that contract managers, inside counsel, and procurement professionals should get to know better.

IACCM – International Association for Contract and Commercial Management
www.iaccm.com

  • Membership (2019): 50,000 members across 166 countries and 17,065 corporations
  • Organization: Global. World headquarters in the United States, with regional head offices in the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Australia
  • Mission/Goals: enables both public and private sector organizations and professionals to achieve world-class standards in their contracting and relationship management process and skills. …leading the way in responding to the demands of global networked markets.
  • Events: Regional annual conferences, local meet ups, weekly webinars
  • Education: Courses and certification in Contract & Commercial Management, Supplier Relationship Management, Negotiation; bespoke and classroom training.
  • Resources: Contracting principals and standards, salary and performance research, surveys, journals, blogs.

It’s hard to be unaware of IACCM. They are well connected among contract professionals, global and national corporations, and software and services providers. Their loyal membership (chiefly in-the-trenches contract managers and negotiating counsel) grows from year to year, reinforced by productive conferences where contract professionals can share their knowledge in workshops and larger presentations. IACCM’s weekly Ask the Expert webinars cover hot topics in the profession with large online audiences and intelligent questioning. IACCM has a distinctly commercial emphasis, with a significant presence by contract-heavy corporations in oil and gas, business services, aerospace / defense, technology - software, public sector, telecommunications, engineering & construction. The leadership avows an inspirational and forward-looking approach to contracting as a tool for better business operation and growth. Toward this end, they publish research (I), best practices (Contracting Excellence Journal), and founder Tim Cummins’s to-the-point Commitment Matters blog.

NCMA – National Contract Management Association
www.ncmahq.org

  • Membership (2019): 20,000
  • Organization: US almost entirely, with locally run chapters in most states. Some states have three to ten chapters.
  • Mission/Goals: provides training, development, and certifications that enable members to master today's challenges and create tomorrow's opportunities.
  • Events: Annual World Conference and dozens of chapter meetings and conferences with a focus on contracting challenges or themes, webinars.
  • Education: Courses and certifications, including the highly-competitive Contract Management Leadership Development Program (CMLDP)
  • Resources: Books, journal, magazine, blog, ethical and professional standards.

For contract managers whose work involves federal or state government contracts, the NCMA is an essential resource. Widespread local chapters make access to in-person events easy; there is also a virtual chapter. There are twice-monthly webinars on nuts-and-bolts topics such as “FARS/DFARS Updates,” “Profit Analysis and Weighted Guidelines,” “Small Business Size Protests.” Many of their standard reference works have gone through several editions, including Contract Management Body of Knowledge, Desktop Guide to Key Contract Terms & Conditions, and Certified Federal Contracts Manager Study Guide. Their peer-reviewed Journal of Contract Management comes out annually.

ACC – Association of Corporate Counsel
www.acc.com

  • Membership (2019): 45,000 in-house lawyers who represent more than 10,000 companies in 85 countries worldwide
  • Organization: Global with local chapters
  • Mission/Goals: serves the professional needs of in-house counsel and is the premier source for information, networking opportunities and education for the in-house legal practitioner
  • Events: Two global annual meetings, local meetings and panel discussions, including “Advocacy Events” on particular topics
  • Education: Online and conference-based education, In-house Counsel Certification, business skills education
  • Resources: Online news and article site (ACC Docket), searchable library (some content is available to non-members), ACC Value Challenge (best practices), blog

Commercial and contracts practice areas are well represented in ACC’s education, events, and literature. The Contracts Portal helps attorneys in drafting and benchmarking, negotiations, and management. There is online, on-demand professional education and materials dealing with contracts by type, retention policies, warranties and indemnities, etc. Education options include in-person, online, and certification programs. While much content is available to members only, some is available to the public. The ACC Value Challenge features articles and ebooks that focus on achieving reduced costs, higher predictability, and better outcomes. ACC also plays an active advocacy role on issues affecting in-house counsel or where an in-house counsel perspective is relevant. The are many ways for lawyers to join this organization, with four types of membership (individual, corporate, corporate premium, and in-transition/retired). However, membership criteria exist to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

ISM – Institute for Supply Management
www.instituteforsupplymanagement.org

  • Membership (2019): Over 50,000
  • Organization: US-based with 76 US affiliates
  • Mission/Goals: provides news, tools, and education to help individuals and companies remain competitive in supply management
  • Events: Annual conference, specialty conferences webinars (some sponsored), seminars and training sessions, meetings by local affiliates at least monthly.
  • Education: Online and classroom-based courses, study and training materials, certification
  • Resources: Magazine and monthly report, newsletters by topic, professional tools and templates, bid spec database, codes and standards, podcasts, blog, industry and profession surveys, career information, email news feeds on commodities and business books.

Contract managers will find plenty of useful information at ISM available from their Newsroom/Blog, ISM Report on Business, and Inside Supply Management Magazine. ISM’s education focus is CPSM or CPSD certification. Reference works include ISM Glossary of Key Supply Management Terms which has gone through numerous editions. ISM also supports forums for members with common interests, based on supply management areas of practice. Two forums are industry-specific to pharma or utilities. ISM offers individual, corporate, and student/academic memberships.

SCMA – Supply Chain Management Association (Canada)
www.scma.com

  • Membership (2019): 7,500
  • Organization: A federation of the SCMA National Secretariat, and the Provincial and Territorial Institutes
  • Mission/Goals: provides leadership to the Canadian supply chain community, provides value to all members, and advances the profession. This specifically includes helping professionals working in roles that cover sourcing, procurement, logistics, inventory, and contract management, setting standards for excellence and ethics, and being a source of professional development and accreditation in supply chain management in Canada.
  • Events: Annual national conference, international symposium every two years, leadership forum, local Institute meetings
  • Education: Diploma and certification programs, in-person and online seminars, workshops and courses, annual student case competition
  • Resources: English/French website, SCM resource center (database of articles, reports, research), magazine, career and mentorship services.

SCMA focuses on professional development, education, and advocacy. Many of its education programs are geared to supply management professionals who wish to gain skills and advance in their careers. Education programs include a Diploma in Procurement and Supply Chain Management and a path to be a Certified Supply Chain Management Professional (CSCMP). News about supply management is delivered through Supply Chain Canada magazine and the SCM Resource Centre, a database of articles, reports, and research available only to members. In addition to advocacy for the profession, SCMA has published a Code of Ethics.

CLOC – Corporate Legal Operations Consortium
www.cloc.org

  • Membership (2019): Over 1,500 members representing more than 800 companies, across 43 US states and 40 countries
  • Organization: US-based with 22 regional groups across the globe
  • Mission/Goals: Helps legal operations professionals and other core corporate legal industry players (e.g., tech providers, law firms, LPO’s, law schools, etc.) optimize the legal service delivery models needed to support the needs of small, medium and large legal departments and government entities
  • Events: Two worldwide CLOC institute meetings, regional group meetings, webinars
  • Education: CLOC Initiatives (slide deck/webinar educational events)
  • Resources: Newsletter, Monthly Metrics surveys on legal operations issues, career information
CLOC provides webinars and other training around the core competencies of legal operations, one of which is vendor management. CLOC’s global “Institutes”, two to three days in length, offer dozens of presentations and breakout sessions; contract lifecycle management, particularly as it relates to legal departments, is among the topics covered at this conferences. Both individual and corporate membership types are available.