Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well ~ John William Gardner
Ever wondered how a company functions so smoothly? What goes on behind the scenes of a company? Who manages everything from legal issues to employee coordination? A company secretary manages all the tasks of an office, diligently and responsibly.
A Company Secretary plays a key role in a company's strategy and decision-making, ensuring that all operations adhere to applicable laws, regulations, and ethical standards. By pursuing a career as a Company Secretary, students learn how to manage a company's documentation needs, such as filing taxes and maintaining records, among other things.
Are you wondering what exactly a company secretary does for a company? We got you covered. Read on to know everything about a company secretary.
What are the roles and responsibilities of a CS?
Company Secretaries have a wide range of responsibilities to manage and perform in a company or an organisation. Here is a list of the 5 major roles and responsibilities of a company secretary:
- A company's secretary is the link between the board of directors, the shareholders, regulatory agencies, the government, and other stakeholders of the firm.
- The company's compliance officers are company secretaries, and they offer advice as internal legal experts.
- A company secretary is in charge of creating documents such as a prospectus, the offer for sale, offer letters, and other papers necessary for the running of day-to-day activities of an organisation.
- In cases of mergers and acquisitions, the company secretaries are responsible for the issuance of securities while working with the lead managers to secure the necessary approvals.
- Advising on conciliation, reconciliation, and negotiation in commercial conflicts between parties as well as drafting contracts.
- Companies can receive advisory services on managing and planning their taxes under the laws governing income tax, excise tax, customs duty, service tax, value-added tax, etc. from company secretaries as well.
What are the eligibility criteria to become a CS?
The following eligibility criteria must be met by every student who wants to enrol in the course and earn their certification as a company secretary:
- The first step of the Company Secretary programme is the Company Secretary Executive Entrance Test (CSEET) Students must have completed their Class 12 in any stream (except Fine Arts) from a recognised university or equivalent to take the test.
- After the Foundation Programme, a candidate who wants to pursue a career as a Company Secretary needs to complete the Executive and Professional programmes to be a CS.
- Direct entrance to the CS Executive level is available to those who have finished their undergraduate or graduate degrees (except those in the fine arts) or who have completed the Institute of Cost Accountants in India (ICMAI) Foundation level CA and Cost Accounting course.
How many levels are there in the CS Course?
The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI), which was established in accordance with the Company Secretaries Act, 1980, to regulate the profession of company secretaries in India, offers the Company Secretary course (CS). The two stages of the CS course are the CS Executive and the CS Professional Programmes.
Candidates must take the Company Secretary Executive Entrance Test (CSEET) to gain direct admission into the Executive Programme for Company Secretaries (C.S.).
Students who have successfully cleared the CSEET gain direct entry into the Executive programme. After completing the Executive course, they then move on to the Professional programme. Following the completion of the Professional level, there is a final management training session. Candidates thereafter receive official recognition of having successfully completed the Company Secretary (C.S.) programme.
Here are the stages of becoming a Company Secretary in India
Stage 1: Company Secretary Executive Entrance Test (CSEET)
Stage 2: CS Executive Course
Stage 3: CS Professional Course
Stage 4: Pre-Membership Training
Stage 5: CS Membership
What are the subjects in CS Course?
To become a Company Secretary, candidates have to clear the three stages of the course which include several papers and modules. 4 papers make up the CSEET, 8 papers make up the Executive Programme, which is divided into 2 modules, and 9 papers make up the Professional Programme, which is divided into 3 modules.
Here is a detailed syllabus for the three levels of the Company Secretary Programme:
- Business Communication
- Legal Aptitude and Logical Reasoning
- Economic and Business Environment
- Current Affairs
CS Executive Programme
- Jurisprudence, Interpretation and General Laws
- Company Law
- Setting up Business Entities and Closure
- Tax Laws
- Corporate and Management Accounting
- Securities Laws and Capital Markets
- Economics, Business and Commercial Laws
- Financial and Strategic Management
CS Professional Programme
- Governance, Risk Management, Compliances and Ethics
- Advanced Tax Laws
- Drafting, Appearance and Pleading
- Secretarial Audit
- Corporate Restructuring
- Resolutions of Corporate Disputes
- Corporate Fundings and Listing in Stock Exchanges
- Multidisciplinary Case Studies
Module 4 (Elective 1 out of 8)
- Banking Law and Practice
- Insurance Law and Practice
- Intellectual Property Rights - Laws and Practices
- Forensic Audit
- Direct Tax Law and Practice
- Labour Law and Practice
- Valuation and Business Practice
- Insolvency - Law and Practice
The future prospects for a career as a Company Secretary are promising. It is a prestigious career path in the accounting and business fields. Successful candidates secure positions in the stock exchange, corporate affairs divisions, financial auditing businesses, law boards, and various government agencies. In fact, if a CS has excellent leadership, organisational, problem-solving, and communication skills, they can even become the managing director or chairman of a company with relatively little experience.