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The Road to Becoming a Company Secretary: A Promising Career Path with Endless Opportunities

Career as a Company Secretary

Big companies have many laws and regulations to follow. Some companies may bypass these laws as maintaining these laws can be tricky, expensive, not easily feasible etc. However, as they are important for the transparency of the organization, the government has mandated them to be followed. Thus, if you want to see a career in this field where you could assist organizations to follow are regulations set by statutory bodies, then becoming Company Secretary can be a good career option for you.

Company Secretaries are specialists who work with private and public companies and specialize in helping companies comply with the laws governing company affairs in India and the various rules and regulations notified by statutory and regulatory bodies. A company secretary also ensures that the decisions made by the board of directors are followed by the organization.

Why become a company secretary?

Company Secretary (CS) is a professional qualification, and its practitioners are responsible for the efficient administration of a company, particularly with regard to ensuring compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements and for ensuring that decisions of the board of directors are implemented. Company secretaries are the company’s named representatives on legal documents, and it is their responsibility to ensure that the company and its directors operate within the law. It is also their responsibility to register and communicate with shareholders, to ensure that dividends are paid and to maintain company records, such as lists of directors and shareholders, and annual accounts.

The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) is the sole recognized body in India that is involved in developing and regulating this profession. It was constituted under the Company Secretaries Act, of 1980.

It is the work of the company secretary to ensure that an organization works within relevant legislation and regulations.A company secretary can be recognized as the key managerial personnel of a company whose position is mandated under the laws of the country if the company has a paid-up share capital of 10 crore rupees or more.

You have to provide guidance to company directors about how their organization should be directed, managed or controlled as per the corporate laws as well as keeping the board of members informed about all the rules and regulations governing the activities of the companies. You have to ensure that the company must act in accordance with the company’s act while fulfilling all its duties.It is the company secretary who signs all the documents which are presented to the inside and outside stakeholders (shareholders, senior leaders, government, tax authorities etc.

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What does a Company Secretary do?

  1. As a Company Secretary, you have to keep the maintenance of secretarial records, statutory books and registers.
  2. You will be responsible for arranging the board/general meetings and preparing the minutes of those meetings.
  3. You will ensure that all the shareholders are paid their dividends on time.
  4. You will be responsible for filing all the forms and returns on behalf of the company to all government agencies and tax authorities.
  5. As a Company Secretary, you will have to advise companies on compliance of legal and procedural aspects under the foreign exchange management act, SEBI Act, labor and industrial laws, environment and pollution control laws, and anti-competitive practices.
  6. As a company secretary, you have to represent a company before the company law board, Registrar of the Company, Consumer Forums, Tax Authorities, and National Company Law Tribunal.
  7. It is your responsibility as a company secretary to advise on the arbitration whenever there is a dispute or a conflict arises.
  8. You will help in getting loans from banks and financial institutions.
  9. As a company secretary, you will be drafting all the documents related to the issue of securities.
  10. You have to make a list of securities listed with the recognized stock exchange.
  11. You will play a key part in the raising of funds from the international market.
  12. You will be advising on the legal structure of the organization.
  13. As a company secretary, you are responsible for communicating all the policies to all parties including shareholders, government, regulators etc. whatever the board of directors made.
  14. As a company secretary, you will be responsible for training directors and members of the senior leadership team
  15. You will be responsible for keeping up to date with any regulatory or statutory changes that might affect the organization.

How to become a Company Secretary – eligibility criteria

Minimum Educational Qualification required

  • 12th pass /appearing

After Class 12, you can follow the 1st pathway as above to appear for CS entrance test or you can complete CS Foundation Programme/ ICAI  Final Course/ ICMAI Final Course/ UG in any discipline (having minimum 50% marks)/ PG in any discipline without any criteria of minimum % of marks and then try becoming a CS.

UGC has recently recognized the CA/CS/ICWA Qualifications as equivalent to Postgraduate Degree.

The ICSI has recently introduced a policy of “pre-examination” as a requisite for seeking
enrolment in CS Examinations.

1. You have to take this test before you enroll for the main exams, whether executive or professional.

2. The pre-exam shall be conducted for all students of Executive/Professional programs under the new syllabus.

3. This test will serve as eligibility criteria for appearing for these 2 exams.

4. A fee of Rs 100 shall be charged for the pre-exam.

The Curriculum for CS Executive Entrance Test which is held on a single day consists of 2 parts :

a) Computer-Based MCQ Test : Duration: 120 Minutes on the following Subjects:
   (i) Business Communication;
   (ii) Legal Aptitude & logical Reasoning
   (iii) Economic and Business Environment &
   (iv) Current Affairs

b) Viva Voce : Duration: 15 Minutes on “Presentation and Communication

Educational fees

The cost of pursuing a course in a Company Secretary in India ranges from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 3,00,000.

Job Opportunities

As a qualified Company Secretary, you may get a work opportunity in:

  • A firm run by a company secretary or a few company secretaries.
  • A chartered accountancy firm run by one or more Chartered Accountants.
  • A law firm/solicitor firm.
  • A company that has a paid-up share capital of more than Rs. 10 crores.
  • A consulting firm that offers company secretarial services to various companies.

You may also practice as an independent Company Secretary offering your services to various companies. But before going independent, it is advisable that you work for 5-8 years with a firm.

Salary of a company secretary

  • At the entry level as a management trainee or assistant company secretary, with a work experience of 0-2 years, your basic salary will lie between Rs. 10,000 – 1,00,000 per month. Mostly those who have an additional qualification like CA or an MBA from a premier institution get higher side of salaries.
  • At the junior level after gaining experience of 2-6 years, you can expect you’re earnings to be Rs. 20,000 to 2,00,000 per month.
  • A company secretary with mid-career experience of 6-12 years would earn between Rs.40,000 to 3,00,000 per month.
  • If you have experience of more than 12 years you can expect your salary to be anything between Rs. 75,000 to 5,00,000 or even per month.

Career Growth in this profession

  • When you start your career as a management trainee, you may become a senior manager or Assistant General Manager.
  • When you start your career as a trainee company secretary, with work experience you will become Company Secretary and then Senior CS/ Regulatory Compliance Manager.  Alternatively, you may also go into the advisory side and become a financial advisor or legal advisor. Some of you may also become compliance experts and legal head consultants.

The demand for the company secretary will be 5-7 times more than the current period in 2020. Currently, around 3500 fresh company secretaries pass out every year, which takes care of the present demand. As the corporate sector is growing fast and the competition is increasing there are enormous and growing opportunities for company secretaries. The need for more company secretaries will arise in the coming years.

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