If there’s one person in a company who know the whole business inside out, it would be the corporate secretary. It is often overlooked how the job of a company secretary goes beyond just note-taking and record-keeping. More than this, a corporate secretary ensures the strict compliance of the company with regulatory requirements. This is why it is important for a secretary to possess certain skills, some of which comes off naturally, while other are learnt through training and experiences.
Below are the Top Ten Skills a Singapore Company Secretary has to Possess:
1. A Keen Attention to Detail
If there’s one necessary skill a company secretary should have, it should be a keen attention to detail A strong detail-oriented secretary knows the nitty-gritty of the business. He or she must be knowledgeable in all the dealings involving the company. It is crucial for a secretary to have an understanding of the different aspects of the business from its finance to operations. An excellent secretary will be able to provide valuable information about the company right away.
2. Legal Knowledge
The secretary ensures that the company is meeting all its legal obligations. He or she must know by heart the statutory and regulatory requirements set forth by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), including the filing of annual accounts on schedule and ensuring company registers, notices of share transfers, changes in memorandum & articles of association, and others. This would require the secretary to have a deep knowledge of the law governing companies and the provisions it includes.
3. Social and Interpersonal Skills
As the official organiser of meetings, the secretary must be at a familiarity level with the board members of the company. He or she should know the board members’ backgrounds and affiliations outside the company. An awareness of the board members gives secretaries an edge in determining potential conflicts at an early stage. He or she would also know how to approach each board meeting successfully, as the board members sometimes have different traits and personalities.
If one aspires to be a company secretary, he or she must have a sharp mind and a keen focus during meetings, as he or she will be the one to produce the minutes of every meeting. The secretary must learn the secrets to effectively taking down necessary information, discussion points, and key goals during board meetings, where major decisions are discussed upon. The secretary should ensure that details of the notes are clear and accurate, as future decisions will be based on what was written in the official minutes.
The company secretary is mandated to keep all business-related documents such as official meeting minutes, articles of incorporation, business registration, business books, resolutions, and all other documentations and filings of the company. This is crucial as some of the documents are needed to be submitted to government agencies for compliance. He or she deals with volumes of paperwork each day and thus an excellent secretary should be able to provide needed documents in no time.
6. Communication Skills
The secretary serves as the link of the company’s shareholders to the higher ups. As such, it is important for one to possess good communication skills. This is important especially in relaying vital information discussed by the board of directors and the shareholders during board and general meetings. A secretary must ensure that communication channels are always open, and whatever issues and concerns raised will be properly communicated.
The board may run out of ideas once in a while. This calls for the company secretary to step in and aid the board members in tasks from as simple as brainstorming for a company name to complex ones such as enumerating strategies to boost marketing. His or her creative juices will also be tested in coming up with ideas to keep board meetings interesting and interactive.
8. Organisation and Agenda-setting
One challenge a secretary in Singapore regularly faces is bringing the top executives in one room to discuss pertinent issues concerning the company. It is important that he or she knows how to arrange and organise effective and meaningful meetings as these assemblies do not just take company resources but also the precious time of each participant. Prior to the meeting, the secretary must take note of all the things needed to be managed in a coherent and a concise agenda.
9. Financial Analytics Skills
Who said all the note-taking and record keeping will take you away from financial analysis? It is vital for a company secretary to have an above average sense of finance. It is no wonder that public accountants are qualified to be a corporate secretary. This will be handy in supervising share allotments, studying the financial statements and reports, and in cross-checking tax assessments.
A secretary is not supposed to be passive. He or she must take part in all business proceedings and is expected to contribute inputs. It is his or her responsibility to ensure that all relevant statutory requisites are met, he or she must be steadfast in protecting the company’s good corporate governance.
These are but some of the essential skills needed by a company secretary in Singapore to thrive. Companies should make sure that they are tapping the right professional by engaging a corporate secretary service today.