[FAQs] Company Secretary (CS) – General Questions

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  • Last Updated on 14 July, 2022

CS general FAQs; CS Faqs

FAQ 1. When should a person choose CS (Company Secretary) as a career?

Anyone who is more theoretical in his or her approach may prefer choosing CS as a career option. Also, a person interested in law must go for CS as the exam involves core subjects like corporate law, SEBI law, IBC law, and other laws.

FAQ 2. How much time does it take to become a CS?

Considering the best-case scenario, where a student is able to crack all the exams in one attempt, it will take around 3 years for him/her to get the CS degree. He/ She can appear for CSEET just after appearing 10+2; and after one year he/she can choose to appear for CS Executive and on completing Executive, during the tenure of 21 months training, he/she can complete the CS Professional Exams.

FAQ 3. Which exams are to be cleared to become a CS?

There shall be three levels to be cleared to become a CS:

    1. CSEET- Computer-based entrance level examination with objective questions
    2. Executive Programme- Second Level Exams with two modules, four papers in each.
    3. Professional Programme- Third and final level of Exams with three modules, three papers each.

FAQ 4. Is there any caste-based reservation in the CS course?

No. ICSI does not even restrict entry as there is no concept of limited seats. This course provides an equal opportunity for every student to participate and the qualification is provided to them purely based on stipulated exams. However, it must be noted that a 50% Fee concession is provided to SC/ST students to support backward sections of the society. Other fee concession details can be known through this link: https://www.icsi.edu/media/webmodules/student/FeeDetails_Concession.pdf

FAQ 5. What is the age limit to pursue the CS course?

Candidates should be above 17 years of age before CS Executive exam as per the eligibility criteria prescribed by ICSI. However, there is no maximum age limit to apply for CS programme. It must be noted that a person is eligible for the Associate Membership of the Institute only after attaining 21 years of age. In short, no one can attain the CS Degree before 21 years of age, though he/she can appear and pass the exams.

FAQ 6. Does the company secretary profession have a bright future?

In any organization, higher and top-most management is engaged in the management of day-to-day activities and managerial decision-making and so they require someone who has the knowledge and can regulate their statuary compliances. Also, the provisions of Company law mandate the need for a CS, subject to certain turnover requirements.

Let us talk about some numbers. There are more than 18,00,000 companies registered in India currently while there are only around 65,000 company secretaries out of which around 11,000 are practicing CS, while only 35,000 are employed in the companies. The number of companies is increasing day-by-day which will gradually increase the demand of Company Secretaries. However at the end, it all depends upon the person on how fast he/she strive to learn and is determined to achieve his/her goal.

FAQ 7. What is the difference between CA/CS/CMA in its demand, value, salary, and level of difficulties to acquire the degree?

Each course plays its own role to serve the corporate world. It would be really wrong to say one of these professional degrees is superior to the other.

However, one should comprehend on what knowledge and skill-set the course is offering and what the practical working of the degree/ course.

Criteria CA CS CMA
About A Chartered Accountant (CA) is an internationally recognised financial professional who manages budgets, auditing, taxes and business strategies for clients. A Company Secretary (CS) is responsible for the efficient administration of a company, particularly with regard to ensuring compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements. A Cost and Management Accountant (CMA) is more based on analytical skills and understanding the concepts of cost-related issues and better management decisions.
Salary 7-9 Lakhs p.a 5-7 Lakhs p.a 4-6 Lakhs p.a
Level of Difficulty More practical knowledge and wide range of topics included in syllabus.

Most difficult to crack.

More theoretical knowledge and detailed coverage of company law.

 

Balance between practical and theory subjects.

 

Exclusive Power To sign audit reports. To ensure statutory compliance. To sign cost audit report.

FAQ 8. If a student clears CS exam in India, is it possible for him/her to take up job abroad as a Company Secretary?

The ICSI has an MoU with The Chartered Governance Institute (CGI). (Formerly known as ICSA) to grant membership to Indian Company Secretaries. Under the MoU, one has to be an Associate of the ICSI for 2 years to be eligible to pursue CGI membership.

CGI has better recognition across the globe than ICSI. CGI is accepted in not only UK but also in Canada, Hong Kong, and Australia. Now, this does not necessarily imply that one gets immediate access to placements in those countries. But in the long run, when one has considerable post-qualification work experience, CGI can help him/her reach the higher levels in the corporate ladder and also open up avenues in the aforementioned markets.

FAQ 9. What is CGI’s MOU with ICSI? How many papers are required to be given to get CGI-UK membership?

Once the 2 years are completed, the ACS can appear for 3 exams (all other exams are exempted) and on clearing them, the candidate can acquire the CGI membership. No additional internship is required.

CGI takes a pragmatic approach to its assessments. It has additional case laws and situational problems that require the learner to come up with solutions. Answers are also requested from a variety of perspectives. Answers must take into account ‘best practice standards,’ other governance regulations, listing requirements, etc. As a result, research-based learning rather than rote learning is required for CGI.

Members of ICSI are exempted from passing 14 out of 17 papers and are required to pass the following three core papers to acquire the membership of CGI:

    • Corporate Law
    • Corporate Secretaries
    • Corporate Administration

FAQ 10. Will a student who’s not good enough in theory subjects but in practical application-based subjects be able to complete CS?

Absolutely Yes. It’s a myth that CS is all for only students with good theoretical grasp. CS deals with practical subjects like costing, taxation, accounts, finance, etc. Even subjects like corporate law appear to be theoretical but nowadays, case study-based questions are asked which can be solved by only those who have made their concepts clear and are good in practical interpretation. All professional courses indeed demand hard work and dedication and the same is the key to clear the CS exam for any aspirant.

FAQ 11. If CS course is equivalent to postgraduate, should one not pursue graduation along with CS?

According to University Grant Commission (UGC), the scholars who qualify for CA/ CS/ CMA will now be treated as postgraduate according to University Grant Commission (UGC). No one can guarantee the success in such professional courses as they are distinct from school studies. Graduation courses like B.Com, etc. act as a safeguard for those who do not succeed in CS exams or those who change their field later. Also, one may not find much difficulty in handling both if he/she decides to work a little harder.

Still, if a candidate wants to focus on CS entirely, then he/she can also think about Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) programmes. ICSI and IGNOU have signed an MOU, under which IGNOU offers special programs to ICSI students and its members. For example, anyone who registers for CSEET/CS Executive/CS Professional can enroll for this program wherein one can complete his/her graduation by giving 4 assignments and clearing 4 papers exams. For such B.Com graduation degree, it must be noted that even if 4 papers are cleared, still CSEET will be ineligible to hold such a degree; the candidate must pass CS Executive to be eligible to do so.

FAQ 12. Should a CA/CA student go for CS in order to add value to his/her profile?

Yes, he/she certainly can, depending upon his/her interest. CA Intermediate overlaps with many aspects/ subjects of CS Executive, so it will be comparatively easier and the candidate would be able to tighten his/her grip on subjects like corporate law and taxation. There are many things that a CS can do but a CA can’t, for example, according to Section 204 of the Companies Act 2013, it is the duty of the Company Secretary in practice to perform the secretarial audit of every listed company.

Let us see how CS may add value if done along with CA:

1) More Knowledge: CA course lacks core study of different laws like Security law, SEBI Laws, IBC law and other laws. Such deficiency is covered on pursuing CS course. CS course also lacks core study of subjects like taxation and finance, hence both the courses supplement and complement each other.

2) Opportunity: In the corporate sector, persons with both professional degrees are respected more as compared to those who have only one because a professional with multiple degrees can work out multiples tasks. The combination of CA + CS is helpful in long run to grab top opportunities at management level.

3) Work Capability: Being a fresher, CS along with CA help him/her to be flexible enough to move across all the domains of a business and candidate’s job profile may keep changing with the needs of the company. This will help him/her to not remain engaged in one type of work and thereby avoiding monotony.

4) Practice in future: CS may provide benefit of enhanced network of clients besides more knowledge to a practicing CA.

It’s not only CS which can add value to CA but also vice-versa. But while making such a decision, the candidate should be clear about the field in which he/she wants to work. Merely doing both for the sake of degree could prove to be the worst decision.

FAQ 13. What is the role of a Company Secretary? What are future prospects for a CS?

A qualified CS has the employment option or can also practice as an independent professional.

1. Employment Prospective:

    • Every company which has a paid-up share capital of Rs. 10 Crore or more is mandatorily required to appoint the whole time CS as per the Companies Act, 2013.
    • All companies seeking listing in the stock exchange are required to appoint a whole time CS.

2. Practice Prospective:

    • After obtaining a certificate of practice from ICSI, a member can go for independent practice.
    • Every company having the paid-up share capital of 10 lakh rupees or more is required to file a secretarial compliance certificate with the Registrar of the Company from a Company Secretary in whole-time practice.
    • A CS in practice also provides services in various fields like Corporate Restructuring, Project Planning and Financing, Due Diligence, Corporate Advisory Services, Arbitration, and Conciliation Representation, and much more.

However, a CS is not limited to these fields. A CS can teach other students, can start up his own venture or can proceed with many such other opportunities.

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