The traditional picture of a company secretary used to be a soft spoken and low-profile employee of an organisation. However, the company secretary has metamorphosed into an important figure in any organisation or business. The Secretary ensures necessary arrangements are in place for meetings and keep formal records of processes and decisions.
Article by Better Boards for board evaluations.
Evolution of the Company Secretary Role
The last two decades have seen an interesting evolution of the Company Secretary position. Despite the changes, the role has remained a crucial ingredient of effective governance. They are expected to ensure an excellent administration of the board activities, making them pivotal to the smooth running of the organisation. However, it is worthy to note that a few factors affect the dynamics of a Company Secretary’s role dynamics. For example, the opportunities that come with the role, the compatibility of the board members’ personalities and that of the Secretary, and the overall shape of the company all contribute to the responsibilities a Company Secretary may take up.
Here are insights into what is expected of a Company Secretary in any organisation.
Ensuring that everything works seamlessly
The role of the Company Secretary in keeping things moving cannot be overestimated. When it comes to major transactions, the Secretary oversees the initial due diligence and pick out any vital aspects within the companies involved. Furthermore, they roll out realistic timelines for the entire process. These activities may appear simple, but they are crucial pieces of the bigger picture. Therefore, close monitoring is required, and where necessary, expert advisors must be on the ground to handle possible issues emanating from the processes.
Helping board members balance responsibilities
Board members are so busy that they hardly have spare time to deal with many technical documents and other intricacies of major transactions. The Company Secretary eases things by ensuring the board gets all the documents necessary for a sound decision-making process. They expressly indicate what should be signed and when. Company Secretaries are skilled in identifying potential issues that may affect the decision-making process without leaving the Business-As-Usual (BAU) activities to suffer.
Demonstrating good governance
Having Company Secretaries handle crucial aspects of major transactions is an excellent avenue to show how essential good governance is to the smooth running of any organisation. It is also an opportunity to leverage their abilities to help the board members. Anyone managing a major transaction must be exceptionally organised and knowledgeable in technical governance. While these clearly have second job attributes, they are highly rewarding when properly executed.
How to get the best out of an engaged Company Secretary?
A Company Secretary can be a multifaceted asset, depending on the specifics of the situation. for instance, non-executives can leverage the knowledge of the Company Secretary to make crucial discoveries. With excellent analytical skills and a rich understanding of the company, the Secretary can expose the non-executives to vital information about the business. That is why most Company Secretaries are asked to speak to employees outside the boardroom and the headquarters.
Lastly, the Company Secretary can be a vital bridge between the non-executives and the rest of the organisation. These individuals have built a wealth of experience over the years, especially for those at a PLC. Therefore, they are indispensable assets to both the board and non-executives, helping both new and existing members ease into the thick of the organisational practices.