Snapshot: What is a Company Secretary?

Mon 3rd August 2015

What is a Company Secretary?

Can also be known as chartered secretary or a secretary in the public sector.

What does their role entail?

  • Ensuring organisation complies with standard financial and legal practice
  • Maintains standards of corporate governance
  • Point of communication between board of directors and shareholders
  • Reporting in a timely and accurate manner on company procedures and developments
  • Organising, preparing agendas for and taking minutes at board meetings and AGMs
  • Maintaining statutory books, including register of members, directors and secretaries
  • Dealing with correspondence collating info and writing reports
  • Advising members of the legal, governance, tax and accounting implications of proposed policies
  • Liaising with external regulators and advisers e.g. lawyers, auditors

In a registered company, role tends to be more specialised and liaising with shareholders may form a major part of the work e.g. paying dividends, maintaining register of shareholders

In a smaller company, company secretaries may be responsible for

  • Monitoring administration of the company’s pension scheme
  • Overseeing and renewing insurance cover for employees, equipment and premises
  • Managing office space and property
  • Overseeing public relations and financial management

What skills and qualifications are required?

  • Thorough understanding of the laws affecting their areas of work
  • Strong communication skills and ability to liaise with people at all levels
  • Attention to detail
  • Well-organised approach to work
  • Numerical, analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Integrity and discretion when handling confidential information
  • Interest in and understanding of business practices and corporate governance
  • Experience in pensions, personnel, accounts, credit control, purchasing, insurance and office management.

What kind of remuneration do they receive?

Starting salary is usually around £35k, rising to £50k. More experienced company secretaries can earn between £70k-£150k with scope for a higher salary and bonuses.

Part-time posts are common and there is demand for experienced company secretaries to be self-employed or work freelance.

Who needs them?

  • Public limited companies legally required to employ a company secretary
  • Many private companies also have the role
  • All sectors.

How does one become a Company Secretary?

Open to all graduates but exposure to law, business and management, accountancy and finance, languages, politics, government and public administration is advantage

Good honours degree beneficial

The ‘better’ Company Secretaries have professional qualifications such as those derived from exam passes from Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) (obtainable through a Diploma course).