Company Secretary

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    Company secretaries provide administrative support and guidance to company directors. Company secretaries are responsible for ensuring that an organization complies with standard financial and legal practice and maintains high standards of corporate governance.

    Although, not strictly required to provide legal advice, they must have a thorough understanding of the laws that affect their areas of work. A company secretary, also known as head of governance, holds a strategic position at the heart of governance operations within an organization and acts as a point of communication between the board of directors and company shareholders – and in some cases an organization’s executive management.

     

    Employers of Company Secretaries

    • accountancy and solicitors’ firms
    • banks and building societies
    • charities and hospitals
    • educational institutions
    • employers’ cooperatives
    • housing associations
    • insurance companies
    • investment trusts
    • local and central government
    • trade bodies
    • private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

     

    Duties

    • report to the chairman and often liaise with board members
    • organize and prepare agendas and papers for board meetings, committees and annual general meetings (AGMs)
    • take minutes, draft resolutions, and lodge required forms and annual returns with Companies House
    • follow up on actions from meetings
    • oversee policies, making sure they are kept up to date and referred to the appropriate committee for approval
    • maintain statutory books, including registers of members, directors and secretaries
    • deal with correspondence, collate information and write reports, ensuring decisions made are communicated to the relevant company stakeholders
    • contribute to meeting discussions as and when required, and advise members of the legal, governance, accounting and tax departments of the implications of proposed policies
    • monitor changes in relevant legislation and the regulatory environment and take appropriate action
    • liaise with external regulators and advisers, such as lawyers and auditors
    • take responsibility for the health and safety of employees and manage matters related to insurance and property
    • develop and oversee the systems that ensure the company complies with all applicable codes, in addition to its legal and statutory requirements
    • pay dividends and manage share option schemes
    • take a role in share issues, mergers and takeovers
    • maintain the register of shareholders and monitor changes in share ownership of the company – in a publicly listed company
    • monitor the administration of the company’s pension scheme – may be a requirement in some smaller companies
    • oversee and renew insurance cover for employees, equipment and premises
    • enter into contractual agreements with suppliers and customers
    • manage office space and property as well as deal with personnel administration
    • oversee public relations and aspects of financial management.

     

    Qualifications

    Although this area of work is open to all graduates, the following subjects may be preferred:

    • accountancy and finance
    • business and management
    • law
    • IT.

     

    Skills

    • good verbal and written communication skills
    • interpersonal skills and the ability to work well with people at all levels
    • attention to detail and a well-organized approach to work
    • the ability to prioritize work and to work well under pressure
    • the capability to work with numerical information, plus analytical and problem-solving skills
    • a diplomatic approach and the confidence to provide support to high-profile company staff and board members
    • management skills
    • team-working skills
    • integrity and discretion when handling confidential information
    • a sound grasp of corporate governance issues
    • a commercial frame of mind.

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