3 Things You Should Know About Company Secretaries
Many smaller companies choose not to have a designated company secretary; a director usually assumes the role.
However, the company secretary plays a crucial role in the running of the company, so you need to understand their role before deciding whether or not having one is right for your company.
Company secretaries are the individuals who support the board and ensure the administrative obligations have been taken care of.
This post will cover three things you need to know about company secretaries and whether you should have a specific person in charge of these obligations.
1. What does a company secretary do?
The duties of a company secretary will vary depending on the size and complexity of the company. However, there are some common tasks that all secretaries will be responsible for:
- Taking care of the company’s administrative obligations
- Supporting the chairman in overseeing the board
- Making sure there is clear communication between the board, upper management, non-executive directors and committees
- Connecting the board and shareholders
- Making sure legal requirements are being adhered to
- Ensuring company records are up-to-date
- Ensuring any company schemes are running correctly
As you can see, the responsibilities of a company secretary are wide-reaching and play a role in how the company is run.
Because of these complexities, it can be seen as necessary to have a designated individual as company secretary, rather than having it as one of the duties of a company director.
2. Can anyone become a company secretary?
In most cases, anyone over the age of 18 can become a company secretary. However, there are requirements that need to be met if you want to become a chartered company secretary; these requirements are set out by the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA).
To be eligible to join the ICSA, you must have the following:
- A professional qualification from the ICSA
- An accredited degree in company secretarial practice
- A relevant post-graduate qualification
- At least three years of experience working in the role
Most companies prefer to have a chartered company secretary; however, it isn’t the only option available.
If an individual is working in the role but does not have the accreditation from the ICSA, they are classed as an associate member. Associate members may not have the same level of experience and knowledge as chartered secretaries, which can mean they are not the preferred option.
3. Are there downsides to being a company secretary?
As with any job, there are good and bad points. When it comes to being a company secretary, there are two main downsides:
- Company secretaries must ensure the company stays on top of its legal obligations. This can mean a lot of responsibility is involved to ensure everything is being done above board.
- It can be a complex job, which is both mentally and physically draining. Depending on the complexity of the company, the job may require long hours and an intimate knowledge of complex legal documents.
Now you know three of the main aspects of being a company secretary, you can make the decision whether you want to go it alone in your company, or whether it would be best to hire someone specifically for the role.
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