Some limited company directors choose to appoint a company secretary. This is not a legal requirement, and so whether or not one is appointed is a matter of personal preference. For larger companies with more administrative obligations, a secretary is normally employed to take care of this.
A company secretary is essentially responsible for all the company administration.
This means they are accountable for the submission of annual returns and other important documents to Companies House, and they often take up a number of other administrative matters such as arranging board meetings. The company secretary cannot be the same person as the limited company director, however, in the absence of a company secretary, the company director will need to absorb the required duties.
While there are no formal requirements or training required of a company secretary, given the amount of administrative work for which they are responsible, it is imperative that a company secretary be highly-organised, efficient, and understanding of the business structure and finances.
A company secretary plays a largely supportive role, taking care of important tasks such as general administration, shareholder communication, corporate governance, and statutory compliance/filing of accounts. In short, the secretary acts as a bridge between the company, the shareholders and Companies House, ensuring all the relevant information is shared in compliance, on time and efficiently.
The role of company secretary is multifaceted, and so an organised individual with prior experience in an administrative role is often a preferred candidate.
A company secretary will take care of a number of administrative tasks, including:
A company secretary is responsible for a great deal, such as compliance, paperwork and financial matters, and so it is important to select someone trustworthy and capable for the job.
According to Companies Act, company secretaries of large public companies can face prosecution if they are neglectful or willingly act in violation of the law. Company secretaries in smaller companies are unlikely to face the same severity of consequences, given that these roles are often loosely defined. If you are considering becoming a company secretary, you should be aware of the pressure that can sometimes accompany the role, along with the risk of joint liability in the event that there are breaches of the Companies Act 2006; for example, failing to file an annual return can result in large penalties and possible criminal charges.
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