What are the career prospects after Company Secretaryship? This question is an important factor before deciding on the course. You clear the exams, complete your training and become a Company Secretary. What about the job afterward?
In my previous post on How to become a Company Secretary? I had briefly discussed this. Like I said, there are two major choices- Practice or Employment. So going forward, we will see some worthwhile options in both these areas.
Company Secretary in Practice (PCS)
A PCS, as they are generally called, performs various assignments like Secretarial Audit, Due Diligence, and Corporate Restructuring etc. Recently added to this list are representations before NCLT, Insolvency Resolution, GST Practice, and valuation. Let’s have a brief look at the areas where a PCS can specialize.
- Corporate Secretarial Matters
Small companies, with paid-up capital less than Rs. 5 crore, are not required to appoint a CS. So, they outsource compliance and secretarial functions to a Practicing Company Secretary. This is also called ‘retainer work’ in normal parlance.
Additionally, annual filing of financials and returns under Companies Act are also done by PCS. Annual Returns of companies whose paid-up capital or turnover exceed Rs. 10 crore or Rs. 50 crore respectively, have to be certified by a PCS.
- Certifications & Audit under SEBI, FEMA laws etc.
PCS is recognized to conduct few periodical audits under SEBI Depositories’ regulations, Listing regulations etc. They are also authorized to certify documents under FEMA laws relating to FDI, ODI etc.
- Representation before NCLT
Company Secretaries are authorized to represent before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). This offers plenty of scope as corporate disputes are commonplace in our country. Cases of oppression, mismanagement and board discord often come before the NCLT. A Company Secretary is also eligible to become a Technical Member in the NCLT.
- Insolvency Practice
The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) was enforced in 2016. Company Secretaries are eligible to act as Insolvency Resolution Professionals (IRP) under the IBC. Corporate Insolvency is a serious issue these days and this area offers a lot of scope.
- Secretarial Audit
The Companies Act, 2013 has made Secretarial Audit compulsory for all listed companies and also public companies having paid-up capital exceeding Rs. 50 crore or turnover exceeding Rs. 250 crores. Only a PCS has been authorized to conduct this audit.
- GST Practitioners
Company Secretaries have been authorized to perform assessment and filing of returns under the GST laws. They have also been recognized to act as Authorised Representative before adjudicating authorities.
- Corporate Restructuring
PCS regularly take up corporate restructuring assignments of small companies. They also provide due diligence services in big mergers, takeovers etc.
- Other areas
Company Secretaries are also recognized to offer services under trademark laws, export-import laws, due diligence in major transactions etc.
A plethora of opportunities await Company Secretaries who have entrepreneurial instinct. Noteworthy is also the fact that many of the above areas are still nascent. Hence, young CS need to keep their eyes open and strike the iron while it’s still hot!
Company Secretary in Employment
- CS as a KMP
The major area in employment for CS is as a KMP in companies. Listed companies, and public companies with above Rs. 10 crore paid-up capital should have a whole-time CS. Other companies with more than Rs. 5 crore aid-up capital should also appoint CS. But, to reach the level of KMP a minimum of at least one year experience is demanded. Freshers are generally hired for the role of Secretarial Executive or at Manager Level. In listed companies, even these positions require experience. So, it is important to gather maximum information on these fronts before you look for a job.
- Other Areas where CS is Employed
- CS qualification is essential for recruitment to Grade I to IV of the Accounts Branch of Indian Company Law Service.
- Law firms also regularly recruit CS for their corporate functions. This is a great opportunity for those who want to set up Practice later.
- Many PCS firms also employ Company Secretaries. However, the remuneration offered by a CS firm is generally low.
- Public Sector Banks– They hire CS in non-CS functions in various grades. Recruitment is generally through written test and interview.
- Regulatory authorities like SEBI and RBI. These bodies are the supreme authorities for corporate regulations in our country and recruit Company Secretaries for various roles. You must keep a check on their employment notifications.
- Stock Exchanges– they are required to comply with a large number of regulations. Hence, they do employ a sizeable number of Company Secretaries.
- Big Audit Firms– they usually have separate verticals for corporate secretarial services. But, they generally look for candidates with excellent academic record and sound domain knowledge.
- Indian Corporate Law Services (ICLS) – You could appear for the UPSC exams after CS and pursue a career in ICLS. It brings honour and satisfaction.
In conclusion, it is obvious that the career opportunities for a Company Secretary are aplenty. However, it is wise to be aware of the many avenues before entering the course. This will help you make the right career moves and become successful.
Hope this article threw some light on career prospects of CS… Do leave your comments and queries.
Wishing you all the very best for a bright career!