Company secretaries ensure that the company for which they work complies with financial and legal practices and maintains corporate governance standards. Company secretaries pass communications to and from a company's board of directors and the company’s shareholders. Companies can not work in the absence of their secretaries. Find out what it takes to work in this vital role.
Prospective company secretaries need to show an ability to communicate with others.
Organised They need to exhibit attention to fine detail and have an organised approach to work. A head for numbers
Company secretaries must have a head for numbers.
A diplomatic approach They must exhibit a diplomatic approach and feel confident liaising with high-profile staff members. Interest in business practices Company secretaries must possess a keen interest in business practices. Discret They must be able to show discretion in relation to the handling of confidential information.
A company secretary's duties depend on the company for which he is working. Typical work activities for a company secretary include but are not limited to:
- Organising and taking minutes of meetings;
- Maintaining statutory books and records;
- Dealing with correspondence and writing reports;
- Contributing to discussions in meetings;
- Keeping up with changes in legislations;
- Ensuring the health and safety of company employees.
Graduates of all subjects are able to become company secretaries. Yet graduates of law, finance and accountancy and business may be at an advantage. It is possible to become a company secretary with a HND and excellent personal skills. Professional qualifications are particularly important for company secretaries. Public limited company secretaries are advised to sit examinations set by the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA).
Salary and working conditions
A company secretary can expect a starting salary of between £28,000 and £32,000 per annum. With five years’ experience, a company secretary can expect to earn between £45,000 and £70,000 per year. Senior company secretaries may receive an annual income of between £80,000 and £130,000.
Working hours Company secretaries work normal office hours. They may be required to work additional hours during the completion of reports or to accommodate meetings. Company secretaries may be able to work full-time or part-time. Their work is usually office-based.
Company secretaries and the public sector Public limited companies are required by law to employ a company secretary. The majority of private companies also employ company secretaries. Job openings are available across all sectors. In the public sector, a company secretary is often referred to as a ‘chartered secretary’.