Company secretaries were initially stereotyped as human robots who worked at the behest of their bosses. However, secretarial responsibilities go way beyond performing specific auxiliary duties assigned by their immediate bosses.
And unknown to many people, hiring a company secretary is now a legal requirement in many jurisdictions. That’s regardless of whether you manage a small startup or a blue-chip company.
In this article, we look at a company secretary’s essential roles and responsibilities.
1. Answering Phone Calls and Text Messages
This is unarguably the most considerable secretarial responsibility. It’s the duty of a company secretary to answer calls and text messages from both within and outside the company.
Internal calls may emanate from individuals or agencies seeking certain administrative clarifications. On the other hand, external communications typically come from customers, prospects, suppliers, shareholders, and government entities.
2. Handling Email Correspondences
You’re likely to catch a company secretary holding a telephone receiver or glaring intensely at a computer screen. That’s because they’re either receiving a telephone call or replying to an email on behalf of the organization.
Handling email correspondence is more involved than receiving mere phone calls or answering text messages. That underscores the importance of hiring a company secretary from a reputable service provider like A1 Business.
A1 Business prides itself on offering high-end company secretarial services. The agency works with qualified and trained staff committed to taking care of your company’s various secretarial responsibilities, allowing you to focus on other equally important aspects of your business.
3. Organizing and Distributing Messages
Company secretaries also perform the critical function of organizing and distributing messages. These could be messages touching on the organization’s internal or external affairs.
The preferred communication channel will depend on the nature of the messages to be conveyed. Common mediums include memos, letters, reports, spreadsheets, slide decks, and emails.
4. Preparing Minutes During AGMs and EGMs
A company secretary is responsible for preparing minutes during the annual general meetings (AGMs) and extraordinary general meetings (EGMs). They do this by sending out timely reminders to all the members concerned.
On the material day, the secretary must prepare the boardroom for the meeting by setting up the furniture and distributing the required documents. They then take minutes of all the resolutions made during the session.
5. Keeping Company Records
Not only does a company secretary take minutes. They’re also responsible for the safety of all minute books in their custody.
The secretary may also be tasked with keeping other essential company documents. These include articles of association (AoA), memorandum of association (MoA), business plans, contracts, certificates of incorporation (CoI), non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), and regulatory compliance
6. Organizing and Scheduling Meetings
As the secretary to the board, a company secretary must plan and schedule all board meetings. But in addition to boards, an organization may meet with its shareholders, investment partners, legal experts, and government entities.
There could even be special meetings on issues like staff discipline and censorship. The secretary’s role is to schedule these meetings by choosing a convenient date for the interested parties and furnishing them with all the meeting details.
7. Ensuring Statutory Compliance
Under the Singapore Companies Act, any company operating within the Singapore borders should appoint a secretary within six months of its incorporation. The regulation further states that a sole director or company shareholder cannot be appointed as a secretary.
So, hiring a company secretary is a proactive way of ensuring statutory compliance. Besides, part of the secretary’s duty is to liaise with relevant agencies to ensure the company is current on its statutory obligations.
8. Monitoring ACRA and IRAS Deadline
It’s intuitive to imagine that this role rests squarely with a company’s account department. However, the secretary has an important part to play too.
A company secretary must comply with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) regulations. ACRA is the national agency that regulates business entities, corporate service providers, and public accountants in Singapore.
The secretary should also monitor Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) deadlines to ensure the company doesn’t fall behind its tax obligations.
9. Validating Documents
We’ve highlighted crucial documents that may be in a company secretary’s custody.
Ideally, such documents must be validated before being stored, distributed, or certified authentic. This is another important duty of it.
There are different ways to validate a document, depending on its sensitivity. Common methods include signing (or e-signing for soft copies), stamping or e-stamping, and sealing.
10. Receiving and Training New Employees
It also receives and trains new employees. They may not handle the entire training process, especially if it requires technical expertise beyond their scope.
However, it’s the mandate of the secretary to bring new employees up to speed with the company’s culture and policy framework.
The role of reception may extend to guests. In this case, the secretary receives guests and guides them on what they may require from the organization in a manner that upholds the company’s brand image.
The average monthly salary for a company secretary in Singapore is $3,590. While that may seem a bit inhibitive for startups, the benefits of hiring a company secretary far outweigh the salary implications.