Company secretary, sometimes also referred to as corporate secretary, is an important administrative position in a limited concern and is a vital link between the directors, shareholders, the regulatory authorities, the government and all other stakeholders. It’s a key managerial position responsible for efficient administration in a company. He/she has to ensure that all statutory and regulatory compliance are met and that high standard of corporate governance is maintained. Besides taking care of the board meetings, the corporate secretary must ensure that the board of directors operates within the ambit of the law. For public limited companies with a turnover of Rs10 crores or more, it is mandatory to appoint a full-time company secretary, while others are free to hire external corporate secretarial services.
With the changes brought about in the Companies Act 2013, the role of a company secretary has been redefined and their responsibilities have increased manifold. Also, with the infiltration of technology their job has become more demanding and challenging. They are expected to process, interpret and analyze more data as lot of changes are happening and that too at a fast pace, and therefore, have to keep themselves updated and develop sound reasoning, analytical, interpretation and decision-making skills to stand the test of time.
It is not an easy job and it requires exceptional skills to become a corporate secretary. In this article, we offer some important tips to becoming a corporate secretary.
1. Organizational Skills
The job of company secretary entails taking care of the complete administration of the company along with organizing board meetings, it is imperative to have good organizational skills. The secretary must have a deep understanding and knowledge of the business, and the background of the organization. To ensure good corporate governance, he/she has to devise and implement policies and processes within the framework of the organization, which is easy for the employees to understand and follow. The chairperson and other board of directors expect the secretary to address compliance issues and suggest possible solutions to them. A person with good organizational ability will be able to devise and implement ways to meet all statutory and regulatory compliance.
A Company secretary is senior management personnel and has to deal with board of directors, employees, shareholders, government agencies and other stakeholders, and is a crucial link between all of them. He/she is the most important point of reference and is a vital cog in the wheel. To effectively manage the regulatory affairs of the company, the company secretary has to constantly communicate with all the stakeholders and keep them updated on the latest developments in the company. It is, therefore, necessary that he/she has good communication skills, both oral and written. As the secretary has to maintain a good working relationship with, both external and internal stakeholders, good negotiating skill is also required, along with communication skills.
Given the nature of corporate secretarial services, planning is an integral part of a company secretary’s job profile. It is the responsibility of the secretary to ensure all compliance obligations, both internal and external, are met on time. Besides, he/she is responsible for organizing board meetings, shareholders meetings, etc. All these require meticulous planning to avoid any last minute hassles. Many technical aspects have to be taken care of, along with stationery and catering requirements. Usually, all the schedules are drawn in advance, and the corporate secretary has to plan for everything. The secretary has to stay ahead of time and ensure that things are managed smoothly. Sometimes, last minute changes are required because of some compulsion or the other and alternative arrangements have to be made at short notice. All these require excellent planning skills besides a calm demeanour.
Managing the affairs of a big organization is not an easy task, more so when you have to deal with multiple stakeholders. There are bound to be situations where conflict may arise between various stakeholders, both internal and external. Under such circumstances, the company secretary in Delhi has to assess the situation and make a calculated judgement based on his/her knowledge of the business and the context of the situation. Whatever decision is taken, it should not antagonize any stakeholder. You have to be good at making sound judgements.
Of late, after the implementation of the revamped Companies Act, the responsibilities of a company secretary has increased manifold. From ensuring good administration to compliance issues to organizing board meetings to communicating with different stakeholders, a secretary has to take care of a lot of things. He/she has to juggle between different issues at the same time, and therefore, has to be adept at multitasking to efficiently manage all the roles. He/she has to have a keen eye for detail so that nothing is omitted and errors are avoided.
The skills mentioned above are extremely necessary to become a successful corporate secretary or to work in corporate secretarial services. Some people naturally possess these necessary attributes, while others develop them over time.
This article is written by Amy Johnes- a legal expert and blogger at Ahlawat & Associates – Best law firm for Setting up LLP in India.