How to be a company secretary in India? Career Guide
Do you like the idea to build your career as a company secretary? If yes, then this is a must-read article. Here, we are providing you with every necessary step in becoming a company secretary (CS) in India. But before heading to the heart of the matter let us check some basic details about this profession.
Who is a Company Secretary?
A company secretary is a principal position in a private/public sector company hired to handle legal aspects of the firm. They act as the chief advisor to the board of directors and ensure the smooth and efficient functioning of the administration of the company.
Roles and Responsibilities of a Company Secretary
The responsibilities of a CS vary depending on the level of the job role, the size of the organization, and the sector in which it operates. However, responsibilities in general include:
- Executing the policy decisions of the Board of Directors,
- Acting as an important link between different departments, the directors and shareholders,
- Monitoring changes in relevant legislation and the regulatory environment and taking action accordingly,
- Conducting meetings of the directors and the shareholders
- Preparing annual performance report on the advice of Directors of the company,
- Filing the documents with the registrar of companies,
Stages to become a CS
In India, the profession of Company Secretary is developed and regulated by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI). It is the prestigious and reputed statutory institute, which was established in 1980 under the Company Secretaries Act. So, the aspirants looking to become a certified CS in India have to register at ICSI and need to undergo meticulous exams conducted by the institute during the three-year course which includes:
- Foundation Programme
- Executive Programme
- Professional Programme
Institute of Company Secretaries of India
The ICSI is the sole government-recognized statutory body for Company Secretaries. It works exclusively around the responsibility and profession of the Company Secretary. The responsibility includes its development, improvement, and legislation. The institute contributes to the best quality of education in the CS realm.
ICSI gives birth to the most respected staff members in its educational academic family. Its main headquarter is located in Delhi. ICSI has four provincial offices located in Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata cities. It also has departments in 70 other areas all over India.
The ICSI logo prevails for one significant aspect and that is ‘professional excellence’. Each year, the ICSI acknowledges students and candidates that reflect this slogan. To serve as a CS, you have to pass tough exams administered by ICSI during the three-year class. Remember, only ICSI certified get the high-paid jobs as Company Secretary. No other institution in India is licensed by law to grant the coveted Company Secretary certificate.
NOTE: Only ICSI has been approved by the Indian government to grant the CS credential. There is some education sector offering a course named Master of Business Administration in Company Secretary. Such MBAs certification does not entitle you as a Company Secretary.
Universities affiliated by ICSI
Presently, ICSI acknowledges 55 government-owned universities across India. They are the educational institutes appointed to conduct the Company Secretary course by the Indian Government. Hundreds of private training and coaching classes are available for CS courses. But, enrolling at these is your preference.
Coaching is also accessible online from ICSI through classroom studies at select areas. Moreover, ICSI offers some aspects of teaching online as well.
The government of NarendraModi has authorized some universities of female students only to offer CS certification. The government had taken the step as a part of women’s empowerment. It might help in the increment of female Company Secretaries.
The candidates must fulfill the given below eligibility criteria to pursue the programme:
- Foundation Programme: Students applying for the Company Secretary Course after 10+2 will have to register for the Foundation Programme to start with. Students of different streams like science, commerce as well as arts (except fine arts) can apply for the course.
- Executive Programme: Graduates of any discipline except for fine arts can apply straight away for the Executive Programme and continue with the Professional Programme.An aspirant who has cleared the CS Foundation exams can also appear forCS Executive.
- Professional Programme:Candidates who have cleared their Foundation and Executive Programmes are eligible to undertake Professional Programme.
Below is the programme wise syllabus or course module for the exams.
Syllabus for Foundation Programme
|Paper 1||Entrepreneurship and Business Environment|
|Paper 2||Business Communication, Ethics and Management|
|Paper 3||Business Economics|
|Paper 4||Fundamentals of Auditing and Accounting|
Syllabus for Executive Programme
|Module 1, Paper 1||Company Law|
|Module 1, Paper 2||Management and Cost Accounting|
|Module 1, Paper 3||Commercial and Economic Laws|
|Module 1, Paper 4||Tax Laws|
|Module 2, Paper 1||Auditing and Company Accounts Practices|
|Module 2, Paper 2||Securities and Capital Markets Laws|
|Module 2, Paper 3||General and Industrial Labor Laws|
Syllabus for Professional Programme
|Module 1, Paper 1||Advanced Company Law|
|Module 1, Paper 2||Compliance Management, Secretarial Audit and Due Diligence|
|Module 1, Paper 3||Insolvency, Valuation and Corporate Restructuring|
|Module 2, Paper 1||System Audit and IT|
|Module 2, Paper 2||Forex Management and Financial Treasury|
|Module 2, Paper 3||Governance, Ethics and Sustainability|
|Module 3, Paper 1||Appearances, Drafting and Pleading|
|Module 3, Paper 2||Advanced Tax Laws|
|International Business-Laws and Practices|
|Intellectual Property Rights-Law and Practice|
|Banking Law and Practice|
|Insurance Law and Practice|
|Capital Commodity and Money Market|
The CS course fee structure is given below:
- Admission Fee: Rs.1200/-
- Tuition Fee: Rs.2400/-
- Total Fees for CS Foundation Programme: Rs.3600/-
- Registration Fee: Rs.1500/-
- Foundation Examination Exemption Fee: Rs.500/-
- Tuition Fee: Rs.5000/-
- Total Fees for CS Executive Programme: Rs.7000/-
- Registration Fee: Rs.1500/-
- Exemption from Foundation Examination Fee: Rs.500/-
- Exemption from the Executive Programme Examination Fee: Rs.500/-
- Tuition Fee: Rs.9500/-
- Total Fees for CS Professional Programme: Rs.12000/-
1. The examination is conducted twice a year in June and December.
2. Examination Fee:
Foundation Programme: Rs.1200/-
Executive Programme: Rs.1200/- per module
Professional Programme: Rs.1200/- per module
CS Course Duration
The CS course duration of:
- Foundation Programme is 8 months
- Executive Programme is 9 months
- Professional Programme is 10 months
Training for CS Course
|Type of Training||Duration|
|Student Induction Programme (SIP)||7 days|
|A compulsory computer training program||70 hours|
|Executive Development Programme (EDP)||8 days|
|Professional Development Programme (PDP)||25 hours|
|Management or Professional Training||15 months|
|Practical Training||3 months|
|Specialized Agency Training||15 days|
|Management Skills Orientation Programme (MSOP)||15 days|
Career as CS in India
With due course of time, the number of firms is emerging in the corporate world. There is a large focus on the corporate sectors and growth in the corporate sector leads to the involvement of legal complications. Due to this reason, there is an increase in the demand of the Company Secretary as the new challenges of the company can only be shouldered by highly competent and qualified personnel.
Because of the acquaintance with the meticulous study and practical training in various fields, CS aspirants become versatile enough to carry out functions in the field of finance, operations, human resource, and legal administration. Henceforth, the company secretary has a great scope of employment in financial institutions, banks, Company law Boards, Department of company affairs, Stock Exchange Corporate Advisory Services, and other regulatory bodies. A certified company secretary is proficient enough to take up a wide range of responsibilities. In today’s scenario, Company Secretary is one with a high reputation and a high salary job. An Individual having high legal aptitude, good verbal and written communication skills, analytical thinking, and problem-solving skills can be pre-eminent and can achieve success in this field.
Various job responsibilities of a company secretary invite for an equally diverse skill set. So, the following attributes are much needed and suitable for the role of a Company Secretary.
- Good verbal and written communication skills
- Ability to prioritize work and to work well under pressure
- Analytical and problem-solving skills
- Management skills
- Team-working skills
- Time management and Multitasking skills
- A commercial frame of mind
Who is hiring CS?
India’s Companies Act 2013 makes laws and policies for the roles and responsibilities of a Company Secretary. To increase the comfort of performing business in India, many reforms had introduced their best. The pouring of large foreign firms and huge Foreign Institutional Investment (FII) and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India have led to a rise in the need of qualified and experienced Company Secretaries.
Besides, the state governments, banks and public sector companies have amplified the hiring of Company Secretaries. Over the last three years, there is enormous growth in the demand for Company Secretaries in India. They are seeking increased clarity and implementing new business models. So, employment for company secretaries is in the process of reaching out to the peak.
According to the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI), the nation will employ around 50,000 Company Secretaries by the year 2020. Large corporate houses, Central and state governments and their enterprises will give rise to the employment opportunities. It also helps in the reduction of the unemployment rate.
- Assistance to the board of directors
- Legal Advisor
- Company Registrar
- Chief Administrative officer
- Principal Secretary
- Managing Director
- Administrative Assistant
- Administrative Secretary
- Corporate Planner
- Financial Institutions
- Company Law Boards
- Departments of Company Affairs
- Stock Exchange Corporate Advisory Services
Here are the lists of few companies which hire company secretaries on a regular basis
|ACB Group of Companies||Punjab National Bank|
|Monolith Industries Limited||ShriLalMahal Ltd|
|GlocaL Healthcare Systems Pvt Ltd||Parsvnath Infra ltd|
|Trinity Reinsurance Brokers Limited||Janalakshmi Financial Services Pvt Ltd|
|Indian Railway Finance Corporation Limited||DaVita Care (India) Pvt Limited|
|Jaypee Group||SNG & Partners (Law Firm)|
|Heinz India Pvt Ltd||Birla Corporation Ltd|
|Omaxe Ltd||BGM Consortium Ltd|
|KarurVysya Bank Limited||OIL India Limited|
|BESTECH India Pvt Ltd||HCL Technologies Limited|
Freelancing CS/ CS Consultancy
Nowadays, India retains about 5 lakhs active Company Secretaries. It is very low when described in relation to the figure of the Indian economy. The Companies Act 2003 had made it close for all corporations to have a Company.
Accordingly, a huge number of CS is now working as a freelancer whereas, some are running profitable consulting businesses. Minor and intermediate firms, as well as new start-ups, seek for the assistance of these freelancers and consultancy. Most of them cannot afford to hire a full-time Company Secretary.
Further, there are many CS who serve to a reputed organization but also work as a consultant. To avoid a dispute of awareness between companies, such CS gets appointed on the Board of Directors.
Company Secretary Salary:
Company Secretary generally earns an amount proportional to the level of experience as a CS. As a result, the average salary for a fresher is between Rs.1,80,000 to Rs.3,60,000 per year. With the rise in experience the bar levels to the range of Rs.4,20,000 to Rs.7,20,000 per year.
However, giant companies and multinational companies pay in the range Rs.800,000 to Rs.1.5 million per year. Besides, you can also cite salary charts given by several top recruitment portals. They include company surveys and salary indicators over the past few years. It also includes the predictions of future salaries for the job.
There are several jobs available in various public and private sector domains. You can improvise your future with the position of the junior secretarial officer. If you play your cards right, you can aspire to become a managing director or even the member of the board.
The market demand for the career as Company Secretary is on the upswing. There lie tremendous opportunities and good remuneration for a company secretary. So, if you hold a good legal aptitude, good communications, and problem-solving skills, the career as a company secretary can draw you towards itself.