Company or chartered secretaries are responsible for the legal, financial, administrative and management aspects of large organisations. In private companies they tend to be called company secretary. In public sector organisations they tend to be called chartered secretary or chartered administrator.
You could be:
arranging board and committee meetings and giving members all the information they need
preparing agendas, papers and annual reports
keeping statutory records, including accounts and the names of company directors and shareholders
making sure the company meets all legal requirements and advising on points of law
checking and signing legal papers on behalf of the company or organisation
responsible for all documentation belonging to your company
organising the company payroll and pension schemes as well as the payment of dividends to shareholders
developing strategy and company planning, ensuring that any changes in legislation are met
sending annual returns and required forms to Companies House.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting salaries for qualified company or chartered secretaries in the UK tend to be in the range of £35,000 to £70,000 a year. With experience, this could rise to around £100,000 or more. Many company secretaries also receive annual bonuses.
You would work in an office.
You might sometimes travel to meetings.
You normally work standard office hours Monday to Friday, although you may have to work extra hours to meet deadlines and attend evening meetings.
You need relevant business experience, and many have a degree or professional qualification in business, law, accountancy or public administration.
To be a company secretary in a public limited company, you must, by law, be a qualified advocate, solicitor or accountant, or a member of the Chartered Governance Institute (CGI).
To be a company secretary in a private limited company, you are not required by law to have any of the above qualifications. However, this is still a specialist job and most people will have one of these qualifications or at least a certificate, diploma or degree in a relevant subject.
To become a company secretary you must complete the CGI qualifying programme. Your entry point will depend on your previous qualifications. There are entry points for those with no previous qualifications as well as for those with a wide variety of certificates, diplomas, degrees and professional qualifications.
Graduates with business or law related degrees may be exempt from certain modules on the scheme.
There is a lot of competition to get into this job and most entrants have a higher level certificate, diploma or a degree together with several years’ experience in a relevant type of work.
What Does it Take?
You need to have:
excellent communication skills
a good understanding of business law and finance
the ability to handle complex information
problem solving skills
the ability to make good judgements
discretion when handling confidential business data
good organisational skills
good negotiation skills
the ability to prioritise your workload and meet deadlines.
You can study for the Chartered Governance Institute examinations while you are working in a suitable job. It is possible to study by distance learning or by attending college part time.
The CG qualifying programme could take 1-6 years to complete depending on your qualifications.
Once you are qualified, you move on to the graduate grade and are able to have the letters GradCG after your name. After six years' professional experience, or three years if you have a degree, you can apply to become an Associate, which gives chartered status.
You could go on to take further specialist qualifications.
You may need to move about the country, working for different companies to gain experience, particularly if you start work with a small firm.
You could go on to specialise in a particular area of work such as pensions, finance or administration.
You might progress to become a general manager, partner or company director.
You could work in a wide variety of organisations, including private firms in industry and commerce, local authorities and the civil service, the health service and voluntary organisations.