To become a company secretary, also known as a corporate secretary in some jurisdictions, you will need extensive work experience in corporate administration and management. You will likely be expected to have significant executive-level experience as well, with at least some background in corporate law or compliance. Many businesses will also want you to have a master’s degree in business administration; a law degree; or additional training and certification in compliance, corporate law, or corporate management before you can become a company secretary.
A company secretary is a high-level position within a company board of directors. If you become a company secretary, you will typically be expected to advise corporate executives and officers on legal and regulatory issues and to act as a liaison among the corporate board, management, and shareholders if you work for a publicly traded company. In addition, you may be responsible for calling board meetings and maintaining records on both meetings and board activities. Finally, you may also liaise with government and regulatory officials as is necessary.
In many cases, you will need extensive business experience before you can become a company secretary. In medium or large organizations, you can expect to spend many years taking positions of increasing responsibility before you can achieve this level of advancement. During this time, it is important to demonstrate strong administrative capabilities as well as a familiarity with laws and regulations that govern your industry. Management and negotiation skills will also be an asset, as you will be expected to work and liaise with individuals both within and outside your organization after you become a company secretary. Developing a broad knowledge of your industry as a whole will likewise enhance your ability to perform as a company secretary.
As a company secretary must often deal with legal, regulatory, or compliance issues, some companies will want you to have a law degree or perhaps even be a licensed attorney. Other organizations may not require you to have a law degree or to be an attorney in order to become a company secretary, but may still expect you to have strong knowledge of the law and regulatory issues. A company secretary is often responsible for ensuring that the board of directors is in compliance with operational standards, so you may be expected to complete a certification program in compliance as well as ongoing continuing education in compliance-related and regulatory issues.