The Corporate secretary is actually your company’s conscience. The most exciting part of being a corporate secretary is its centrality to the organisation. You never get bored; you are always learning and continuously developing. And because you are working so closely with the board of directors, people rely on you every day for advice and support. In the morning you might be dealing with the facilities manager or the catering staff, in the afternoon you’ll be dealing with the sales or the finance director and before you close the chairman might have put in a call to you. Being a corporate secretary gives you the opportunity to work at a senior level. For any organisation, from a small trust fund to a large multinational company, the role itself is quite difficult to define because it is such a broad spectrum of responsibilities within the business.
In Singapore, private companies do not need a company secretary but they may choose to do so. However, for foreign companies it is the mandatory requirement to have a corporate secretary. Below are some of the key roles of a company secretary:
- Your company secretary is the person who will tell you when you’re taking a risk or doing something that could be wrong.
- The company secretary should be the person who ensures that you do the right things at the right time and submit the appropriate records to Companies House or whatever it might be in your case.
- The company secretary has legal responsibilities for certain activities and generally for corporate governance.
- The company’s secretary also has a slightly different role and that role is to protect the risks of the directors. So, they should be taken with care and respected.
- A company secretary has the authority to bind the company using administrative contracts.
- A company secretary has to advise senior managers and directors on called governance and other legislative issues that are important to the organisation.
- A company secretary has to ensure that all the regulatory and statutory compliance is done appropriately.
- A company secretary is also responsible for managing and holding the meetings of directors & shareholders; sending the notices and agenda of the meeting; and drafting and sending the minutes of the meetings.
The myths or perhaps most common misconceptions about being a corporate secretary is that it is purely a secretarial role. You should think of a corporate secretary as a role like the secretary of state, a person who is responsible for a big department in government; that’s more along the lines of the role of a corporate secretary. The skills that you need to have include:
- being able to build relationships and trust;
- be highly flexible and organised;
- be able to develop an eye for detail.
There are many accounting services in Singapore, who can also perform secretarial services for corporate entities. You can outsource your secretarial function to such professional firms.