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Secretary, guardian of company’s best practices

Ted Blackwater |
There is one simple detail that separates so-so companies from well-organized ones: the position of company secretary.

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The word secretary has several meanings and if you are new in the business world you most probably have a completely misleading concept in your head.

A company secretary is not a person in charge with regular secretarial work, this is one of the highest positions in the company.

There are three main positions in the company: CEO, CFO, and COO. Another two are the positions of a director and a secretary.

The secretary is a managerial position or above and in developed economies their duties are specified in laws and regulations. That tells us how important the position is.

In the business world, the simplest definition of the company secretary would be: an advisor for legal matters.

The company secretary is an adviser to the chairman and the board of directors on a company’s values and legal framework.

In other words, the secretary follows how the company is doing business and sets procedures for the company to operate in accordance with its values.

The company secretary is a person between the board and management and the guardian of the company’s compliance with legislative requirements and best practice.

Some of secretary's duties are maintaining company registers, ensuring that filings with regulators are made on time, and keeping the minutes of board and committee meetings.

The position also includes dealing with human resources department, pensions, risk management and insurance.

In other words, the company secretary acts like a glue that keeps all parts of companies together, allowing them to be focused on their job at the same time.

Now it's obvious that every company, excluding the smallest ones, should have a company secretary. It doesn't have to be permanent position, the person may be hired on contract, but it should be hired this way or antoher.

So, if someone larger than startup claims she comes from a serious company, ask do they have a company secretary. If they have none, that means the company leadership must take secretary's duties which pulls them away from their main duties.

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