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Company Secretary
The company secretary forms an important link between the board of directors and various other departments in the company and he also ensures good relations with the shareholders and the public. He does this by the maintenance of management information systems inside the company.

A company has to fulfil certain responsibilities which are required by law. This includes the safe-keeping of all financial records for a number of years, the management of most financial affairs and the storage of all important statements, as required by Company Law and the Registrar of Companies.

The company secretary is responsible for the creation and maintenance of information systems to be used in decision-making.

Most company secretaries are also responsible for the maintenance of the register of board members and other statutory books, payments of dividends and debenture interests, statutory returns, capital issues, control of the office and the general administration of the Companies Act.

The nature of the company secretary's work and his responsibilities vary from company to company due to the difference in size, field of activity, company tradition and nature of each company.

The company secretary has to attend board meetings at which policy is determined. At these meetings he acts in close co-operation with the chairman of the meeting. He has to make important contributions to the discussions and he has to remind directors of the legal, financial and tax implications of their proposals. In his preparation for meetings, he may have to assemble and collate information and present this information in a logical form to enable the board of directors to make decisions. After the meetings the company secretary has to draft accurate minutes of the meeting and ensure that the board's policies and decisions are implemented.

In many companies the company secretary also has the responsibility for accounting, staff control and public relations and handles the company's contracts, agreements and insurances.

Satisfying Aspects
- being involved in all aspects of the company
- variety of work
- working office hours
- good salary

Demanding aspects
- being responsible for all the administration of the company
- maintaining good relations between company and shareholders

- be able to communicate effectively both in writing and verbally with his superiors - and his subordinates.
- be able to maintain good human relations
- be a logical thinker
- have sound judgement
- be able to make decisions
- be able to work under pressure

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: Accounting, Economics, Mathematics

The Institute of Industrial Studies' (IBS) diploma can be accepted as an entrance requirement for the Chartered Institute of Secretaries (CIS) qualification of the SA Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators. The IBS programme offers a course in business related subjects for persons who did not complete standard 10 at a school. This diploma is accepted by the Institute as an equivalent of matric.

Although there are still many company secretaries working who did not receive any formal training in the field, most companies these days prefer people with a diploma or a degree as company secretaries.

Degree: For basic training as a company secretary a person can study a BA or a BCom degree in Law, Economy, Accountancy or any business course. A BAdmin. degree could also be considered.

Diploma: An N.Dip. in the following fields could be considered: Administrative Management, Business Administration, Accountancy, Cost and Management Accountancy, Management or any other business related course.

The SA Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators offers training specifically for company secretaries (CIS). The training takes place at universities of technology and FET colleges on a part-time or full-time basis, or by correspondence.

Registration at the SA Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators is compulsory after obtaining this qualification. The Institute also has an agreement with some universities where the B.Com. degree gives admittance for membership after an exam in a number of subjects have been written. This qualification is internationally accepted and may be written after a person' name next to other qualifications.

The Institute of Administration and Commerce of SA also offers training that a prospective company secretary can consider.

Many people start their career by studying for an appropriate degree and later, when employed, undertake the professional courses of the institutes.

- any large private organisation, non-profit organisation or professional association.
- a person who has been trained as company secretary can start an own business if he has a financial back ground. This person has to be someone with leadership abilities who is willing to learn new skills in order to be able to manage a small company.

The Southern African Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators
P O Box 331
Wits, 2050
Tel: (011) 403-2900 Fax: (011) 403-1522

The Head
Institute of Administration and Commerce of SA
P O Box 36477
Glosderry, 7702
252 Rosmead Avenue
Tel: ( 021) 761-6211 Fax: 086 637 6989