Thinking alternatives to law? Think company secretary
Organisations have to work increasingly hard to secure and maintain public trust. Company secretaries play an essential part in helping organisations of all kinds to build trust through good governance.
The company secretarial career was recently identified in the Telegraph as one of the UK’s fastest growing professions and offers a rich and rewarding variety of opportunities. If you hold a law degree, becoming a company secretary could be a great career choice, enabling you to expand your horizons whilst putting your expertise to good use.
What is a company secretary?
Company secretaries are professionals with a vast and diverse skillset – trained in corporate law, finance, governance and corporate secretarial practice.
At the top of public, private and not-for-profit organisations there is a board of directors that directs the business of the organisation. Company secretaries advise the board in key areas like company law, compliance and strategy, providing support to the Chair, CEO and non-executive directors and providing independent advice. So it’s a highly strategic role and a position of considerable influence. As you might expect, company secretaries are well respected and well rewarded – in the corporate sector they can earn six-figure salaries and five-figure bonuses.
The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) is the membership and qualifying body for professionals working in governance, risk and compliance, including company secretaries and in-house lawyers. Our Chartered Secretaries Qualifying Scheme (CSQS) is an internationally recognised qualification with fast-track routes for those with law qualifications.
If you’re considering an alternative career where you can use your existing qualifications and experience whilst expanding your knowledge in new areas, then become a company secretary!
Interview with a company secretary…
We spoke to Anneka Milham, Deputy Company Secretary for global online fashion and beauty retailer ASOS about why she chose company secretarial work and what it involves.
“My role at ASOS has lots of different elements to it – I work closely with the board of directors and our nominated advisor to ensure compliance with the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) Listing Rules and the Corporate Governance Code.
“Typical tasks include writing regulatory filings, filings at Companies House and the administration of the company’s discretionary share plans and insurance policies. I prepare for the company’s annual general meeting and often work with the HR team to implement company policies.
“The best thing about being a company secretary is interacting with so many different departments – there are few roles that get to do this. I work with the board, finance team and HR team on an on-going basis.
“To be a good company secretary it’s vital that you’re well organised and have a good time and people management skills. Being highly adaptable but focussed with good attention to detail is key.
“There’s little about my role that I don’t enjoy. I often work under a lot of time pressure and creating board packs isn’t very glamorous, but there are good and bad points to any job.”
“My dad, a chartered director, introduced me to the role – he said it would give me a solid grounding in accounting, law and corporate governance, giving me plenty of opportunities in the future. As always, he was right!
“If you want a job that allows you to work across all sectors and with different departments, which allows you to gain knowledge in key business areas and provides a challenge then you’ll find being a company secretary very rewarding, just like me.”