Chartered secretaries coordinate and direct the support services of a business. They need to have extensive knowledge of various aspects of business administration and management. Their major responsibility is to ensure that a company is legally constituted, economically viable and properly organized. This is a pivotal and senior position in a company and is very often the route to a directorship.
Chartered secretarial work is very wide-ranging in its activities. Chartered secretaries are familiar with company law and the various aspects of the labour law, including employment conditions and thus, are responsible for ensuring that the affairs of the company are carried out in accordance with the Companies Act.
Chartered secretaries regularly communicate with people across a wide range of authority levels within and outside the company. They call shareholders to annual general meetings, for which they draft agendas and at which they take minutes. They also arrange directors’ board meetings and take minutes. They negotiate with government officials, shareholders, and customers and are sometimes required to travel.
When new tax laws come out, chartered secretaries assess the impact of the new legislation on their companies. Those who have a technical background in computer systems may also analyse proposals for changes to computer systems. They need to be familiar with manufacturing regulations and may be expected to give advice on matters such as planning, purchasing, staff matters, controlling and reports of various kinds.
Chartered secretaries’ main objective is to ensure their companies operate in the most economically viable, cost-effective and productive way, while staying within the legal boundaries.
They are usually members of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) and must “observe the highest standards of professional conduct and ethical behaviour in all their activities”.
Employment prospects for chartered secretaries are fairly good because of the wide range of business skills that are covered in their training.