The Evolving Job of a Company Secretary: 4 New Roles to Note
Corporate secretaries are critical members of a company that assist high-ranking officials in carrying out their obligations efficiently. They are the ones who take care of the ad hoc tasks so that company directors or executives can focus on their more complex responsibilities. Some of the traditional duties of corporate secretaries include preparing and documenting company meetings, managing business records and documents, and ensuring regulatory compliance.
However, when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, corporate secretaries needed to step up their game and provide additional support to their companies. Aside from the pandemic, the coming of the digital age also forced company secretaries to find ways to make their job more valuable. This was when new and modified company secretary services began to arise. Read on to find out how the role of a corporate secretary has evolved over the years.
1. Preparation of virtual board conferences
After the onset of the global pandemic, a significant number of companies have begun adopting various digital platforms to conduct remote conferences. Corporate secretaries are now called to manage committee processes and board meetings using digital tools. From preparation to documentation, almost everything has to be done virtually now.
Due to the restrictions set by the health crisis, boards and clubs are forced to adapt alternative setups for company conferences, and secretaries are responsible for ensuring these meetings remain accessible and engaging for all shareholders.
Additionally, corporate secretaries are now expected to administer shareholder engagement activities, such as annual general meetings, in virtual or hybrid formats. Hence, it is more important now than ever for company secretaries to be digitally adept.
2. Assurance of corporate governance
Ensuring corporate governance within the board and the entire company is among the critical roles of corporate secretaries. They have the duty to make sure that the company fulfils its compliance obligations and provides advice to the boards on constitutional requirements, laws, and listing rules relating to corporations. Hence, company secretaries must be knowledgeable and reliable in executing board instructions and enforcing board decisions.
As more and more businesses and investors place great importance on the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards, corporate secretaries are now expected to be at the forefront in strategising and implementing ESG initiatives. It is already a part of their duties to help the boards create conversations and deeper discussions on the company’s ESG plans and raise education about ESG.
3. Future risk evaluation
The global pandemic revealed various risk processes in many businesses that were impractical, academic, or simply unworkable in some cases. Too many boards were too blind to have seen these critical business risks coming. Because of this, it has now become an additional duty for corporate secretaries to aid the boards in foreseeing and assessing future risks.
The health crisis simply allowed many businesses to recognise the need for company secretaries to work closely with the boards to challenge the latter’s understanding of business risks and ensure that the whole company effectively prepares for the future. This additional support from corporate secretaries should enable the boards to spot future risks more efficiently and turn them to their commercial advantage.
4. Additional assistance to board directors
Secretaries have been playing one of the most significant corporate roles that influence the actions and decisions of the boards and the rest of the company. They are present in every aspect of the board processes, even during the onboarding of new directors. As a consequence of the digital transformation and the restrictions set by the health crisis, corporate secretaries already need to adopt online onboarding processes and methods.
Because more companies are already planning to adopt digitalisation, corporate secretaries now need to play an IT support role for board members in board conferences. From simply reminding the directors to mute and unmute to facilitating virtual board dynamics, the assistance role of company secretaries has already greatly expanded to cover a wide variety of support tasks.
There is no doubt that changes and improvements in the role of corporate secretaries have been necessitated by the coming of the global pandemic and digital transformation. As companies confront new challenges, company secretaries now need to evolve their roles and step up their game to ensure they remain valuable and irreplaceable in the corporate world. The jobs mentioned in this article are only some of the additional duties the world can expect from corporate secretaries in the coming months and years.
If you are in need of reliable company secretary services to make your business operations more organised and efficient, OneStop Professional Services is here to help you! We are a reputable audit firm in Singapore that offers a wide variety of valuable corporate services, including auditing, accounting, corporate financing, nominee director services, and corporate secretarial services. Contact us now to learn more about how we can help you improve your business.