Having a good grasp of the law can give you an advantage in a career as a company secretary. A company secretary is not your typical secretary as they do not handle minor administrative tasks. He or she holds a very high position in a company. In fact, every company is required to have a company secretary to handle certain tasks.
The job scope encompasses ensuring the company’s compliance to regulatory requirements so that the running of the company adheres to company laws. The company secretary also deals with high level individuals such as stakeholders, the board of directors and shareholders to ensure the decisions of the board of directors (resolutions) are implemented.
This position requires one to be closely involved with corporate governance and corporate conduct, usually in meetings. For example, the company secretary handles the administrative aspect of an annual general meeting to make sure it meets all the requirements by law, but that is not all. They are responsible for the proceedings and procedures of a company’s listing in the stock market, the training of non-executives and trustees, the management of employee benefits such as pensions and share schemes, the insurance administration, the negotiation of contracts, risk management and organisation and interpretation of financial accounts.
The company secretary serves as the central source for advice on business conduct, covering anything from legal to accounting advice and corporate strategy planning. Company secretaries can advise a business owner on the risks and merits of taking on a partner, the sale or transfer of company shares and the legal procedure for dissolving a business. No company can exist without a company secretary.
To conduct such important matters, a company secretary undergoes training with the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA), which is the only qualification for company secretaries.
A law graduate who has the ICSA makes a strong candidate for a job as a company secretary has both the legal background and the professional qualification setting them apart from the rest. Once a candidate passes the ICSA exam and becomes a member, he or she is free to pursue the occupation as a career.
The best candidates are those that possess a very sharp eye for detail and exactness in documenting regulatory paperwork. One mistake can be quite costly for a company. So the person is usually meticulous and orderly. This basically means administrative task of the higest order.
As a company secretary, one can work in a senior managerial role with large corporations or multinational companies doing the work mentioned above. He or she will be the glue that keeps the company together.
Alternatively an individual could eventually set up their own practice. With their own business, they can be hired by numerous companies to provide services for a monthly retainer, plus ad hoc fees. These companies are usually small- and medium-enterprises that cannot afford to hire a dedicated, full-time company secretary.
Whichever path is choosen, the career is rewarding to those who find satisfaction in keeping order.