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Guiding light

Company Secretaries have to make sure their companies walk the straight and the narrow when it comes to compliance with legal and regulatory matters.

education Updated: Sep 22, 2011 11:23 IST

The lowdown
Company Secretaries (CSs) have to make sure their companies walk the straight and the narrow when it comes to compliance with legal and regulatory matters.

CSs guide the boards of companies on governance issues, including shareholders’ and directors’ meetings. They establish a link between the board and various stakeholders; identify gaps in the company’s global governance practices and advise the board on how to upgrade. CSs also deal with mergers and acquisitions, cross-border takeovers, intellectual property rights and a company’s legal cases and arbitration.

Clock Work
9.30am: Coordinate with banks, registrar of companies, RBI, regulatory authorities, stock exchanges
1pm: Lunch
2pm: Complete the agenda for the upcoming quarterly board meeting
5pm: Prepare shareholding patterns in line with stock exchange
6pm: Prepare the annual performance report of the company
6.30pm: Set up a meeting with the team doing the quarterly internal audit
7pm: Pack up time

If your dream is to reach the pinnacle of success and you have the determination to achieve it, then getting into this profession is the best thing

Rohit Singh Rautela, assistant manager, Chess Management Services Pvt Ltd

The payoff
A fresh CS’s annual salary ranges from Rs5 lakh to Rs7 lakh a year on an average. With a little more experience one can start earning upwards of Rs8 lakh to Rs12 lakh a year. Company Secretaries with four to five years of experience make Rs25 lakh to Rs1 crore a year in large corporate houses and multinational companies. Compensation, of course, depends on an individual’s performance and varies from one sector to another

. Good communication skills (both written and spoken English)
. Analytical and decision-making ability
. Good with numbers
. Good problem-solving skills
. Strong reasoning ability
. Should be comfortable with presentations
. Ability to work on and grasp company annual reports
. Must have a sound understanding of the global stock exchange market
. Good comprehension skills help

Getting there
The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) conducts the CS programme in India. After students complete Class 12 in science or commerce or arts, excluding fine arts, they can enrol for the CS 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 needs to complete 16 months of training in a company or under a practising CS. Those with the 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, you can practice and also become an associate member of ICSI

. Indira Gandhi National Open University offers a special BCom programme with a major in corporate affairs and
administra tionand MCom in business policy and communication for ICSI students and members.

Pros and cons
. You get a chance to rub shoulders with the company’s top management
. You get exposure to various external agencies and regulators
. You get a broader view of taxation, finance and general management
. Salaries can be fantastic – provided you do a good job for your company
. Not many people are aware of what exactly it is that a CS does and could mistake you for a chartered accountant
. This can be a very demanding job, with gruelling hours