There’s a myth about the “Company Secretary” that persists even to this day: a slightly mousey, introverted figure, who sat alone in his office, quietly getting on with some very worthy but tedious job. A bit of a non-entity.
Well, not so. As the Company Secretaries of today demonstrate that theirs is a dynamic breed, one whose importance is growing all the time with a wide range of roles at the forefront of the corporate, not-for-profit and public sectors. The demand for the skills of CS professionals is growing all the time – and so are the rewards. All of them are incredibly enthusiastic about and feel fulfilled by the work they do. That degree of job satisfaction is pretty rare – and probably the best advert for the profession that can be thought of.
So, the role of company secretary is a hugely varied and rewarding one, consisting of more than just filling in forms and arranging the AGM.
Variety is the spice of life. Yes, it’s an old cliché, but one that is remarkably apt when applied to Company Secretaries – especially when one considers the wide variety of roles in which ICSI Members are involved.
A small cross-section shows that members can be found working in Private Sector and Public Corporate Sector, Banks and Financial Institutions, Stock Exchanges, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Company Law Boards and Government Departments. Further, private consultancy job is a very lucrative option. The tasks they undertake are equally varied: Outside the bracket of legal/compliance related matters, they assume a wide variety of roles, viz. liaison with insurance companies for renewal of policies, claim handling and procurement of marine insurance, for example – or the formation of joint venture companies. Members also review leases and contracts on property, assess the compliance of a sales team and also deal with health and safety issues.
Liberalisation and globalisation give a massive boost to corporate activity and along with it the openings for Company Secretaries continue to grow. In the present age of mergers, acquisitions, and tie-ups this profession looks forward to rich dividends.
Of Course, Practice seems to have taken the forefront what with many of the newly admitted Members going the “Practice” way. What seems to be the “X” factor is its diversity. With the range of clients one has, it’s often like working for several hundred companies rather than just the one!
The number of responsibilities that Company Secretaries take on, often seems limitless. The reasoning behind this is simple: many of the facets of governance and administration that have traditionally been associated with the corporate sector now apply equally to other organisations. Members of a board of trustees or a board of governors are liable to penalties just as severe as those that a board of directors could face should they be found wanting in carrying out their responsibilities to the organisation itself. Therefore, a thorough understanding of compliance, law and financial issues is essential to all – and thanks to the breadth of their knowledge and experience, Company Secretaries are perfectly placed to supply that.
Perhaps it’s time to lay the myth to rest once and for all !!!