Company secretary

Chartered secretary

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Company secretaries make sure that directors follow company law and financial regulations.

Salary Range: £35,000 to £70,000

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You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • training with a professional body
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You’ll need a foundation degree or degree in a relevant subject like:

  • business
  • law
  • accountancy
  • public administration

You’ll also need relevant business experience in areas like:

  • pensions or insurance
  • personnel
  • accounts and credit control
  • purchasing
  • office management

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • at least 1 A level, or equivalent, for a foundation degree
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

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You could start by doing a higher national diploma in business management or law before applying to join a company as a trainee company secretary.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a higher national certificate or higher national diploma

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Apprenticeship

You may be able to become a company secretary by first qualifying as a solicitor through a degree aprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship

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Other routes

You can take professional qualifications offered by ICSA: The Governance Institute to become a company secretary.

You’ll begin by doing the Chartered Secretaries Qualifying Scheme, which starts at foundation level. You can join at a more advanced level if you already have a relevant qualification, for example in law.

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Professional and industry bodies

You can join ICSA: The Governance Institute for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about how to become a company secretary from ICSA: The Governance Institute.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • administration skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • excellent written communication skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and requirements

To be the secretary of a public limited company (PLC), you’ll need to qualify with ICSA: The Governance Institute or already be an accountant, solicitor or barrister.

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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could be:

  • preparing annual company reports
  • administering share option schemes and paying dividends
  • advising directors and board members about their legal responsibilities
  • dealing with other professionals like lawyers and auditors
  • sending company information to Companies House or the Stock Exchange

Working environment

You could work in an office.

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Career path and progression

With experience you could become a company’s chief executive or managing director.

You could also work freelance as a consultant or a part-time company secretary for several smaller businesses.

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