A company secretary holds one of the most important and strategic positions within an organisation. In many countries, every company must have a company secretary (CoSec) by law. The CoSec plays a pivotal governance role and supports the board of directors.
Who can be a company secretary?
Anyone over 18 can become a company secretary. People who cannot be company secretaries are those disqualified under relevant company law.
What does a company secretary do?
Being a CoSec will take you into the boardroom, to the organisation’s heart, and you will play a crucial role in ensuring the organisation maintains good governance. You will have access to the highest levels of decision-making.
A CoSec also has quite a few legal obligations:
- They must sign the company’s annual return
- They must certify all the financial statements that are part of the annual return
- They are responsible for creating a statement of affairs when a company is winding up or is going into receivership
- They must sign the application to re-register the company as a different type
- In public limited companies, they must create statutory declarations
CoSecs must ensure the company remains compliant with company law and other legal obligations. The CoSec must also ensure the board is kept up-to-date on any regulatory changes that may affect the company.
Other duties of a CoSec include:
- Making sure the company accounts are properly maintained, and the company’s annual returns are filed
- Keeping minutes of board meetings and general meetings
- Maintaining the company’s registers
- Administering the transfer of shares
- Ensuring other compliance issues are up-to-date
- Working with the Revenue Commissioners
- Dealing with the Companies Registration Office
What does a company secretary earn?
In Ireland, for example, company secretaries are paid quite well. An assistant CoSec position was advertised in 2022 for €68,000 a year, and an experienced CoSec can earn well over €100,000.
In the UK, the average salary for a CoSec is £50,000, rising to £80,000. The top 25% of company secretaries in the UK earn up to and above £184,000, and group company secretaries have the potential to make over £310,000.
The average CoSec salary in the United States is $221,117 as of April 26, 2022, but the range typically falls between $178,052 and $276,600.
Many factors influence salary ranges, including education, certifications, additional skills, and the number of years spent in the field.
Is being a company secretary a good career?
Yes, it can be a very rewarding career. Many western countries demand (or at least encourage) every company to have a company secretary, so jobs are plenty and pay and conditions are above average.
To find job listings for company secretary positions near you, a good place to start are recruitment platforms like Glassdoor and Indeed.
What skills do you need to be a company secretary?
CoSecs have a wide range of responsibilities that provide an exciting career path for the right candidate. Skills you will need include:
- Knowledge of company law and corporate governance
- Excellent communication skills – both verbal and written
- Influence over colleagues at the highest levels
- A keen eye for detail
- Capable of processing large amounts of information
- Time-management skills
- Being extremely organised and diligent
What course do you need to do to become a company secretary?
Can you do a course to become a company secretary? The short answer is yes. Organisations like to see potential CoSecs with an excellent understanding of corporate governance and the role they will play in supporting the board.
The Corporate Governance Institute has a short course called ‘The Effective Company Secretary’.
What you will learn
You will learn how to be an effective CoSec, the legal basis for the role, how it has evolved and its multiple aspects.
Roles and responsibilities
You will gain a deep understanding of the roles of the CoSec, such as administration, running board meetings, record keeping, execution of documents and advisory assistance.
You will learn how to effectively model good leadership behaviour concerning good corporate governance, such as organisational skills and the importance of personal values.
You will learn how to build good relations with key stakeholders and the board and how to be a solutions provider and trusted advisor.
Technology in the boardroom
You will gain a solid understanding of the CoSec’s role in analysing, adopting and deploying new approaches and technology in the boardroom.
To learn more about becoming an ‘Effective Company Secretary’, download the course brochure.