A Comprehensive Overview of Company Secretary Course
One key factor which plays a major role in a company’s success is efficient administration. Though the term “efficient administration” sounds simple and easy, the work in the backend is very crucial. One must have very good managerial skills to manage this work. In every organization, this is one of the key roles which is played by the Company Secretary.
With few minor variations in role depending upon company and countries, the typical work includes providing legal advice, financial advice, handling Annual Employee Meetings (AEM), keeping updated with regulatory and statutory changes, ensuring all the policies are updated and approved. Company Secretary Course opted by the aspirants seeking an established career to get into the subject field as a profession.
To get certified as a Company secretary, one must take up and pass the exam conducted by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India, briefed as ICSI. To develop and regulate the profession of Company secretaries, ICSI was recognized. lets ee what a company secretary course entails here in this article today.
Skills and qualities, one should possess to become a Company Secretary are as follows:
· One must have excellent time management skills, as they must perform multitasking activities.
· One must also need to have very good communication skills, as they need to ensure all the board decisions are being followed.
· One needs to have a piece of very good knowledge about different Laws and Acts, regulations.
· One should possess legal Record keeping ability.
· One should have in accordance with Listing conditions specified under the SEBI Act, SCRA.
· One should be good at numbers and must have a judgmental approach.
· Along with having an analytical mind, they should also be a very good team player.
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Benefits of opting Company Secretary as a profession:
· Along with being in a high position in a reputed organization, this job profile is highly paid.
· Being an emerging profile, this job has a very high demand.
· For people who like to be in a position where they can take charge of the environment, this job is more suitable as this job is full of responsibilities.
· This also provides tremendous growth opportunities.
· Due to all-time interactions with the higher authorities, it well makes a valuable addition to one’s reputation and makes a strong bond with office colleagues.
· One usually gets a lot of travel opportunities as a business trip.
As every coin has two sides, here are a few listed cons that cannot be ignored but can be overcome
· Those who are not fond of traveling might feel it tiresome work as handling of business which most likely involves frequent traveling.
· This profession sometimes seems to be stressful, as they have a very high responsibility, and they need to keep things intact.
· Onsite opportunities are not very common, because the course is studied for the Indian scenario of handling business, government rules and regulations, company acts, policies, and organization’s compliance with the law.
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The Company Secretary course is a three years professional course equivalent to an undergraduate degree program. This course is conducted by the ICSE (Institute of Company Secretaries of India) in the distant learning process. Once students register themselves, the registration is valid for five years within which they need to complete their course.
In India, it is our standard practice to take up the degree program based on secondary and higher secondary schooling education. Similarly, it is possible to attempt the Company Secretary Course with higher secondary schooling background.
There are three programs in the company secretary course which can be opted for based on the educational prerequisite:
· Foundation program
· Executive program
· Professional program
If one likes to join the course after 10+2 years of schooling or equivalent in Science, Arts or Commerce then they must complete all the three stages of the program to get certified
· Foundation program
· Executive program
· Professional program
If one likes to join the course as a graduate, then they must complete the below 2 stages of programs
· Executive program
· Professional program
One can take up the professional program, upon completion of the Executive Program. Holding a degree in subjects related to law, finance, and business administration would also be advantageous to move on to the role. It is also possible to move into this profile based on the work experience in finance, law, or as a compliance officer which is related to corporate governance.
Note: Fine Arts degree is not enlisted in the approved lists of subjects and degree for Company secretary Course
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The overall completion of the Company Secretarycourseranges between 2.5 years to 3.5 years depending upon prerequisite qualification. Generally, the application must be submitted eight months before the date of the exam.
All the three levels of exam, i.e., Foundation, Executive and Professional levels have got their own fixed duration for completion. Once the course is completed, pieces of training are recommended for better job placements. This training period will be for around 15 months.
The foundation level is also considered as the base level or initial step of the course. Students need to attempt the foundation level if they have completed 10+2 schooling or equivalent education. Once the foundation level is completed, they can move to the executive level. This is level of study is taken up for a minimum of one year.
The executive level, after the foundation level which is taken by students who have completed their degree. This is also a one-year course, followed by a few recommended pieces of training.
The professional level is next to the executive level. One must complete the executive level to enter the professional level. This is again a one-year course. There are pieces of training recommended post completion of the subject level too.
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There are three different syllabuses prescribed by ICSI for foundation, executive, and professional level programs. The gist of the syllabus is as follows:
This course is for one year. Mainly there are four sections to be attempted at this level, each of the above sections is divided into Part A and Part B. They are as follows:
· Business Environment and law
· Business Management, ethics, and Entrepreneurship
· Business Economics
· Fundamentals of accounting and auditing
This course is for one year. The syllabus in this level is divided into two modules with four major topics in each. These four majors are further subdivided into two parts namely Part 1 and Part 2.
Module 1 comprises major topics including
· Jurisprudence, Interpretation, General Laws
· Company Laws
· Setting up of Business Entities and Closure
· Tax Laws
Module 2 comprises major topics including
· Corporate and Management Accounting
· Securities Laws and capital market
· Economic, Business and Commercial Laws
· Financial and Strategic Management.
Few case studies are provided to improve the practical aspect of the candidate.
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The minimum duration of the course is one year. This is considered the higher and last stage of the course. This stage is divided into three modules, with three major topics in each. These three majors are further subdivided into Part A and Part B.
Module 1 comprises major topics including:
· Governance, risk management, compliances, and ethics.
· Advanced tax Laws
· Drafting, pleadings, and appearances
Module 2 comprises major topics including
· Secretarial Audit, compliance, management, and due diligence
· Corporate Reconstructing, Insolvency, Liquidation, and Winding-up
· Resolution of Corporate Disputes, Non- Compliances, and Remedies
Module 3 comprises major topics including
· Corporate Funding and Listing in Stock Exchanges
· Multidisciplinary case studies – this will be for testing the practical knowledge of the candidate
· Elective 1 out of 8 below subjects
Ø Banking- Law and Practice
Ø Insurance- Law and Practice
Ø Intellectual Property Rights- Laws and Practice
Ø Forensic Audit
Ø Direct Tax Laws and Practice
Ø Labor Laws and Practice
Ø Valuations and Business Modelling
Ø Insolvency- Law, and Practice
The training for a duration of twenty-one months is recommended after reaching the executive level and professional level, which provides practical knowledge. The training curriculum includes plans in various duration
Practical experience and training requirements
Following will be the training plan with their respective duration to be followed post the completion of the Company Secretary Course:
- After passing the Executive Programme or Professional Programme the students must undergo training fifteen months of training.
- This training will be exempted to the students who have undergone 15 months of training as mentioned above (1); however, the duration of the training will be for three months.
- 15 days training within a specialized agency such as the office of the Registrar of Companies, stock exchange, financial or banking institution, or management consultancy firm
- 7 days student induction program (SIP): To be completed by the students within 6 months of registration to the executive program.
- 8 days Executive Development Programme (EDP), to be taken up after passing the Executive Programme.
- 15 days Management Skills Orientation Programme (MSOP)to be taken up after passing the Professional Programme.
In addition to the above,
- The students will be required to complete 25 hours of the Professional Development Programme (PDP) must be completed by students.
- A student after passing the Professional Programme may enroll as ‘Licentiate ICSI’ at his/her option until the completion of training requirements
Post the completion of foundation, executive, or professional level a person is eligible to undergo an Articleship, which is a training session for practical knowledge. This will be 12-18 months of training which will add us as experience to a candidate. One important point to be noted in the training session is, the focus should be more on learning than earning.
There are majorly three categories that come into the picture when Company secretary articleship is considered, which is one form of training to be completed. These categories are based upon where the training will be done, and they are as follows
· At a consultancy firm
· At a corporate
· Under a practicing company secretary
Along with the place of work, some factors which can be considered are training procedure, experience. Out of the above three forms of articleships, the training at consultancy firm is considered more relevant, as it already would be having a lot of company secretaries and it will impart more focused training procedure which abides the standard of The Institute of Company Secretaries.
Here are the Top four Firms which are more commonly considered for articleship.
- Deloitte: It is also known as Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. It is one of the biggest professional service organizations, gives one great all-around exposure. This ensures one to handle every challenge they encounter.
- Ernst & Young: usually abbreviated and known as EY has established itself in more than 140 countries. It helps its employees to achieve their potential through professional trainings. Ernst & Young plays its role in providing services in assurance, advisory, tax, and specialty services.
- Price Waterhouse Coopers: also known as PWC, provides quite a friendly environment for the employees and also provides a wide variety of ways to learn from. PWC stands as the largest service provider for accounting, including consulting and tax services.
- Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdele: popularly known as KPMG is a global network of accounting firms. It honors great value to its people and quality of service.it provides services including audit, tax, advisory, and industry-specific services.
The Company Secretary Course exam is a national level examination that is held twice every year and they are held in June and December. Students must apply nine months before the main examination date.
Here is the cutoff date (updated till date) for sending the Examination form
- 25th March — with a late fee of 250/- till 9th April
- 25th September–with a late fee of 250/- till 10th October
Before the main exam, there is a pre-entrance exam which is briefed as below.
For Foundation Level, one must upload the required documents and need to pay the fees.
There is no entrance exam for the Foundation level as such.
At the executive level, one must pass the CSEET exam. At present, the foundation level is replaced by CSEET, i.e., if you have passed 10+2 level or equivalent then you are eligible to attend CSEET, which is the exam for the executive level. If anyone has cleared the pre-entrance exam CSEET, then it means, they have cleared the foundation level and they are eligible for Executive level.
As per the new norms, this exam is usually held online, along with online viva voce. There are 4 papers to be attempted each of 50 marks and they are as follows:
· Business Communication
· Legal Aptitude and Logical Reasoning
· Economic and Business Environment
· Current Affairs, Presentation, and Communication Skills.
2 hours of time duration is allocated to the MCQ test along with 15 mins of viva voce.
To clear CSEET, one must score 50% marks in aggregate and 40% marks in each paper.
For the professional level, the entrance exam is like CSEET, but one must be cleared with foundation and executive level.
· It will be an online mode with objective-type questions.
· There will be 4 papers to be attempted, with 90 minutes per paper.
· The maximum mark allotted is 100.
· This usually will be an offline exam with both objective and subjective type
· There are a total of 8 papers to be attempted in the form of 2 modules.
· Each paper will be 100 marks, with -0.25 marks for every wrong answer.
· On average one must score 200 in a module to get qualified.
· This usually will be an offline exam with subjective type
· There is a total of 9 papers to be attempted in the form of 3 modules, where 3 papers in each module
· No negative marking
· On average 50 percent aggregate is considered in each module.
· 8 Elective papers option is available, where one out of eight needs to be attempted.
At present, the total fees for the entire Company Secretary course are INR25,000.
This amount is segregated into two parts.
· INR 12,500 is payable at the time of registration, where the registration is open throughout the year.
· INR 12,500 is payable after completion of the 1st part and before starting of 2nd part of the course.
· Foundation program INR 1200
· Executive program INR 1200 per module
· Professional program INR 1200 per module.
Aspiring students need to enroll on ICSI for the course. Once registered, the ICSI will provide them with the required study materials. The coaching has both offline and online modes.
Offline mode of the company secretary course:
Classroom learning: In this, the teaching is done at the ICSI institute itself. Classroom training comes with the advantage that, the students undergoing the Classroom Teaching and pass the requisite tests forming part of the coaching are exempted from appearing in the Pre-Exam Test.
The procedure is as follows:
Step-1One can contact the nearest regional office of the Institute from the list given at the linkhttps://www.icsi.edu/media/webmodules/websiteClassroom.pdf
Step-2: Get to know the Date of Commencement of the Coaching Class and the timings of the classes
Step-3: Enquire about the availability of Demo Classes and if available attend the same as per the schedule and Remit the applicable fees at the Regional/ Chapter Office
Step-4:Coaching Classes will be attended as per the schedule and candidates will appear in the CS Main examinations
The classroom comes with benefits such as
· Small batches for deeper conceptual clarity
· Special attention for non-commerce students
· Continuous revisions & tests
· Well experienced faculties, with the wide industry knowledge
The online course includes:
· Web-based training (WBT)
· Video-Based Training (VBT)
· Live Virtual Classroom (LVC)
Where students need to pay extra for online courses or eLearning.
Other than ICSI, one can also join other coaching institutes.
Here are the top five Coaching Institutes in India one can attend for Company Secretary Course, other than ICSI
Vignan CA Institute
Here are the top five books recommended as a supplement for the Company Secretary Course course
1. Cs Aalhad Mahabal’s Notes
2. Shuchita Publication Scanner
3. Case Law Capsule
4. Cost and Management Accounting
5. Cs Dev Sharma Book for Company Law
Job perspectives after the Company Secretary Course:
Once a candidate completes the Company Secretary course, he/she is eligible to play the following major defined role:
· A compliance officer at the company, responsible for all regulatory compliance of the company.
· A legal expert of the company
· Can be an advisor to the director boards and can advise the best practices for company benefits.
· Corporate planner and strategic manager.
Once the candidate clears theCompany Secretary course, the candidate gets registered as an Associate Member of the ICSI and can use the credential “Associate Company Secretary” before their name. Candidates have openings in employment and Practicing Independent Professional
Role of company secretary in employment.
· they need to bring laws and principles for the betterment of the company, and these laws must be as per standards
· they need to confirm, the company is abiding by the secretarial standards
· guiding the company directors in terms of their responsibilities, duties
· to help and advise the Board in ensuring good corporate governance and in complying with the company governance requirements and best practices.
Role of company secretary in Practice:
· Secretarial Audit
· Pre-certification of e-forms.
· Duty to report fraud.
· Appointment as Administrator
· Company Liquidators
· professional assistance to Company Liquidator
· Qualifications of Tribunal
· Adjudication of penalties
Along with the placement opportunities provided in ICSI, students, opt for pursuing a Ph.D. Majorly the company secretary course is done with the degree of B.com, but post-completion, additional short-term certifications (other than MBA, M.com, LLB) do have value addition to the career. Few of them are as follows:
· Certificate courses in finance
· Certificate courses in Banking
· Certification in Co-operation, Co-operative Law & Business Laws
· Certificate course in Corporate Governance
· 6 Month Certificate Course on Corporate Law
· Certified CSR Professional
As such, this profession as a career option is new in the Indian scenario wherein people often tend to opt for more commonly known professional courses in science and commerce and look for promising careers in the same streams. Yet, the fact cannot be ruled out it is also an equally reliable profession in which aspirants have realized an equally promising career.
Similarly, concerning the earning it is certainly not disappointing. The salary structure is proportional to experience and skills. The salary for a fresher is between INR 1,20,000 to INR 5,00,000 depending upon the company. With the experience of 1 to 4 years, one could earn between INR 2,40,000 to INR 7,80,000. With the experience of 5 to 9 years, earnings lie between INR 8,00,000 to INR 14,00,000. With the experience of 10 to 19 years, earnings can go up to INR 20,00,000 depending upon your position and responsibilities.
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