Hiring a professional agency to take on your company secretarial duties can be an extremely valuable option. Company secretaries (co-secs) are responsible for a considerable amount of administrative work. Outsourcing these responsibilities to specialists means you are adhering to sound business practices and fulfilling legal requirements. In-house versus outsourcing The notion of outsourcing company secretarial services has been gaining in popularity throughout the world. Private firms, listed companies, small, large or medium-sized companies and start-ups are increasingly choosing to outsource these services, despite many companies initially being reluctant to go down this path and preferring to use an in-house company secretary. The idea behind this thinking was to retain better control over the position and many companies have felt that they needed a dependable and accessible company secretary, which they believed was only possible by hiring an in-house secretary. Previously, when companies could not see the benefits of outsourcing over hiring an in-house company secretary, the former was seen as overly costly. However, with competitive pricing around outsourced services, companies are now keen to take advantage of this option. The knowledge and experience a professional company brings can be of great benefit. They will know the full scope of all company secretarial procedures but should also provide a bespoke service for your company. Professional companies use the best and most efficient time-saving methods, minimizing any wait on your part for tasks to be completed. Outsourcing company secretarial services, will save money and time training someone to become your co-sec; an outsourced professional will already have all the necessary knowledge and qualifications and any screening of a qualified team is an outsourcing company’s duty. Company secretarial firms will also have access to the most modern technology available. You benefit through not having to spend resources installing then maintaining these often costly systems. Following all legal requirements is necessary to avoid fines or even criminal proceedings (see below). By outsourcing your secretarial services to a professional firm, you can be assured that they will carry out their duties effectively and precisely, thereby lowering the risk of any potential financial penalties. What are the legal responsibilities of a company secretary? A company secretary is mainly responsible for maintaining a company’s existence as a legal entity. The co-sec is responsible for establishing and managing a company’s registered office, and for ensuring the company’s website, emails, stationery and any order forms have all the necessary details A co-sec is also commonly tasked with ensuring the security of a company’s legal documents. These documents can include the following: articles of association (the company constitution), share certificates and stock transfers, the certificate of incorporation, and any directors’ service contracts. Company director usually assign the company secretary responsibility for administering and maintaining a company’s statutory books and records. Your company’s statutory books and records should include, at a minimum, the following: a register of past and present company directors and secretaries a register of all past and present shareholders, plus their shareholdings a register of people who have significant control over the company accurate minutes of board and general meetings a register of any changes in company assets a register of debenture holders (usually banks) What are the potential liabilities for a company secretary? A co-sec can face serious possible legal liabilities. A company secretary may be held personally responsible (along with the directors – who have the primary legal responsibility) for failures to comply with the Companies Act, and may be disqualified, prosecuted or made liable for company debts where the law is broken. A co-sec may also incur fines or even criminal charges for failing to file the confirmation statement or accounts, and they could be subject to criminal proceedings if a company trades fraudulently or if any company funds are misappropriated. Outsourcing makes professional and financial sense The gains in efficiency, security and productivity brought about by outsourcing your company’s secretarial services clearly make this a desirable option for any organization struggling to afford a full-time co-sec. Spending more on specialized professionals will save you money in the long term. In addition to all the benefits listed here, outsourcing company secretary services enables your company to focus more on what is important for your success and productivity, and to determine what should be given attention in your company, ultimately leading to the growth of your firm. The advantages of outsourcing will contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of your company’s daily operations, ultimately leading to the growth of the firm.You can utilize any money saved through efficiency gains on enhancing business product development and infrastructure. The benefits of outsourcing company secretarial services clearly outweigh any savings made in hiring an in-house company secretary. The demand for outsourcing is increasing worldwide and is only more likely to rise in the short- and long-term future.