Company Secretary

A company secretary (CS) takes care of the company — ­from its incorporation till it winds up. He/she has to ensure a company’s legal and regulatory compliance, and provide ­interface between the company and its ­stakeholders. Under the Companies Act, 1956, a ­company with a paid-up share capital of Rs. 5 crore or more is required to appoint a full-time company secretary registered with the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) and so does company wishing to list on a stock exchange. Every company with a paid-up share capital of Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 5 crore has to hire a CS in full-time practice to issue a compliance certificate. A member of ICSI is recognised for appointment to ­senior-level posts and services under the central government. He/she can also appear before tribunals such as Company Law Board, Securities Appellate Tribunal, Competition Commission of India, Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal, consumer forum, tax tribunals etc.

The ­Payoff

A fresh company secretary starts with an annual salary of Rs. 6 lakh a year on an average. A person with at least four or five years of ­experience  can earn ­anything between Rs. 25 lakh and Rs. 1 crore per year in big corporate ­houses and multi-national ­companies. Compensation, of course, depends on an individual’s performance, ­his/her ability to grow, ­willingness to take up additional responsibilities and the sector in which he/she is working.

Skills/Traits
* Strategic thinking
* Strong analytical and ­decision- making ability
* Good communication skills (both written and spoken English)
* He/she should be accountable for efficient management of the ­corporate sector
* Ability to coordinate and assist various departments of the organisation
* Should ensure compliance of company legislations and advise directors on statutory ­requirements of the company 
* One should be good at negotiating and giving presentations. You would also need excellent ­attention to detail
* Ability to prioritise and ­manage busy workload
* Good organisational and time management skills
* Problem-solving ability and sound judgement

Getting there

The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) conducts the company secretary programme in the country. After passing Class 12 in science, commerce or arts, excluding fine arts, you can enroll for the company secretary ­programme conducted through ­distance mode in three stages — foundation (eight-month), executive and professional. Graduates in any discipline, except fine arts, need to do only the last two levels. After clearing the ­executive or ­professional course, one completes 16 months of training in a company or under an ­experienced and practising ­company ­secretary. Those with specified work experience can take partial or full waiver from the ­training. One has to then complete training in a ­specialised agency and a secretarial modular training ­programme. After the professional course and training, one becomes an associate member of ICSI.