Company secretaries guide company directors about the day – to - day management of their organisations, including compliance with legal and statutory requirements. Employers of company secretaries include local and national government, charities, accountancy, banks/ financial institutions, housing associations, law firms etc. Typical responsibilities of the job include:
• convening and servicing annual general meetings (AGM)/meetings (producing agendas, taking minutes; conveying decisions etc)
• providing support to committees and working parties such as the Board of Directors etc
• implementing procedural/ administrative systems
• handling correspondence before and after meetings
• writing reports
• collating information
• providing legal/ financial advice during and outside of meetings
Other tasks can include:
• managing office space/ premises/ property
• administering pension schemes and share issues
• dealing with company/ staff insurance policies
• managing contractual arrangements with suppliers/customers
• financial and HR administration
• maintaining current awareness about company law
• keeping a register of shareholders and liaising with them on behalf of the company
Qualifications and training required
Company secretaries must gain the ICSA qualification. This takes two to three years to obtain via either part-time study or a correspondence course combined with supervised work-based experience.
Most company secretaries enter the vocation after completing professional training as an accountant or lawyer. Graduate trainee posts are rare and attract fierce competition. Graduates with good honours degrees in business studies, management, economics, IT, languages, mathematics or law tend to be preferred. It is also normally essential to have gained previous professional administrative or commercial work experience.
Key skills for company secretaries
Candidates should possess diplomacy, meticulous attention to detail, good numerical, organisational and time management skills and a genuine interest in business. Excellent computing, secretarial, interpersonal, team working and (written/ verbal) communication skills are also important.