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Education in India : Company Secretary

Looking for a Career Option as a Company Secretary ? This section features Company Secretary as a career option, elaborated with reference to the job profile, personality traits required, the courses and training involved, premier institutions and future prospects.

A company secretary’s role starts from the very moment when the idea of formation of a Company is conceived. Although the idea of formation of a company Secretary (CS) may vary from company to company the knowledge and training acquired by company secretaries make them versatile to carry out various functions in Finance, Accounts, Legal Administration and Personnel areas in addition to their own secretarial duties and responsibilities.

A company secretary is recognized as one of the principal officers of the company by various enactments. Company secretaries, thus occupy a pivotal and versatile position in companies. Companies having a paid up share capital of above Rs. 50 lakhs for more are statutorily required to appoint a whole-time CS.

Personality Traits    

Administrative ability, common sense and good judgment, legal aptitude, numerical ability, tact, discretion, interest in current affairs brevity and clarity in expression, confidential and assured manner and being systematic are useful traits foe an aspiring company secretary.

Company secretaries hold key positions, attend board meetings and have access to top level plans and secrets; they must therefore exercise tact and discretion and be loyal to the company.


Professional studies towards becoming a company secretary can commence right after completion of the plus two level of education through the foundation course. Foundation Course students are required to pass the Foundation Examination within 3 years from the day of admission. Candidates who have passed the Foundation examination or is exempted there from can seek registration as a student for the intermediate course. A registered student is admitted to the Final Course on passing the intermediate examination.

  1. Foundation courseDuration of Foundation Course is 8 months. Students are required to pass the Foundation examination within 3 years from the date of their admission. Candidates who have passed senior secondary (10+2) can apply for foundation course. Registration for foundation course is open through out the year. The exams for the foundation course are held in December and June. To appear for the exams in December candidate should apply for the exam before the previous march. Similarly to appear for the June exam, candidate should apply before the previous September. i.e the Registration for each examination should be done at least nine months before the month in which the examination is held.


    • English and Business Communication (FCEBC)
    • Basic Economics and Business Environment (FCBE-BE)
    • Financial Accounting (FCFA)
    • Elements of Business Laws and Management (FERBAM)
    • Information Systems and Quantitative Techniques (FCISQT)


  2. Intermediate courseCandidates who have passed the foundation course, and are not less than 17 years of age can apply for intermediate course. Graduates, post-graduates (excluding fine arts) and those who have passed final exam of ICWAI or ICAI or of any other accountancy Institution in India or abroad recognised by the Council of the Institute can directly enroll to the intermediate course without doing foundation course. Intermediate course consist of two groups. Candidates registered for intermediate course including the month of February in a year are eligible for appearing in both the groups of the Intermediate examination held in December of that year and those registered up to and including the month of August in a year are eligible to appear in the Intermediate examination held in June of next year.


    Group I

    • General and Commercial Laws (IGCL)
    • Company Accounts and Cost & Management Accounting (ICA&CMA)
    • Tax Laws (ITL)
    • Management Information Systems and Corporate Communication (IMIS&CC)

    Group II

    • Company Law (ICL)
    • Company Secretarial Practice (ICSP)
    • Economic, Labour and Industrial Laws (IELIL)
    • Securities Laws and Regulation of Financial Markets (ISLRFM)

    A candidate can get exemption for some individual papers on the basis of qualification

    1. Company Accounts and Cost & Management Accounting (ICA&CMA) – Master of Corporate Secretaryship/M.Com./M.B.A (with Accountancy as one of the subjects at B.A (C.S)/B.Com. level with full paper in Cost Accounting/Management Accounting/Financial Management at Master of Corporate Secretaryship/M.Com./M.B.A. level and must have secured fifty per cent marks in the subject concerned of a recognised university is exempted from this subject .
    2. General and Commercial Laws (IGCL) – A degree in Law or Master of Corporate Secretaryship is exempted from this subject.
    3. Tax Laws(ITL) – Master of Corporate Secretaryship is exempted from this subject.

    A Candidate who has passed the Final examination of the ICWAI is eligible to seek exemption from the following papers of Intermediate examination under a reciprocal arrangement existing at present between the two Institutes- Company Accounts and Cost & Management Accounting (ICA&CMA), Tax Laws(ITL)in the intermediate level. Financial, Treasury and Forex Management, Direct and Indirect Taxation – Law and Practice in the final level.

  3. Final courseA student is admitted to the Final examination only after a minimum period of nine months after passing intermediate examination. The examinations are conducted twice a year in June and December. Last date for enrolment applications for the final examination is 25th March (with late fee of Rs. 100, 9th April) for June examination and 25th September (with late fee of Rs. 100, 10th October) for December examination.


    Group I

    • Advanced Company Law and Practice (FACLP)
    • Secretarial Practice relating to Economic Laws and Drafting and Conveyancing (FSPELDC)
    • Secretarial Management and Systems Audit (FSMSA)

    Group II

    • Financial, Treasury and Forex Management (FFTFM)
    • Corporate Restructuring-Law and Practice (FCRLP)
    • Banking and Insurance-Law and Practice (FBILP)

    Group III

    • WTO-International Trade, Joint Ventures and Foreign Collaborations (FWTO)
    • Direct and Indirect Taxation-Law and Practice (FDITLP)
    • Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations (FHRMIR)



The CS course is complete after students have undergone 16 months practical and modular training in order to apprise the students with the functioning of the Corporate Sector and to create a cadre of professional Company Secretaries having a sound theoretical base and practical exposure to serve trade and industry effectively, both as a part of the management team as well as independent practicing professionals.


Please click here for the list of the Secretarial Institutes in India.

Placements And Prospects    

Qualified company secretaries can find well-paid positions in the private sector and public corporate sector, banks and financial institutions, stock exchanges, the Department of Company Affairs, company law boards and government departments. The larger the company and the wider its field activity, the better the emoluments earned by the CS. private consultancy jobs are a very lucrative option.

Liberalisation and globalisation have a massive boost to corporate activity and along with it the openings for company secretaries continue to grow. In the present age of mergers, acquisitions, and tie-ups this profession looks forward to rich dividends.

Th Employment Avenues for a Company Secretary can be any of the following

  • Small firms usually employ company secretaries on retainership basis for professional advice and support e.g licences, registrations, loans, taxes, partnership deeds etc. There is plenty of scope for specialisation and moving into general management and administration at the highest level in business houses or CS firms. The job positions begin with Junior Secretarial officer, Company Secretary, to Financial Advisor. 
  • Membership of the Institute is the only prescribed qualification which a person must possess for appointment as company secretary in such a company. Even in the case of a company having a paid-up share capital of less than Rs 50 lakh, if it appoints a secretary, he/she should possess one of the prescribed qualifications, which include having passed the Intermediate Examination of the Institute. Also, all companies seeking listing on stock exchange are required to have a full-time qualified company secretary. 
  • Membership of the Institute has been recognised by the Ministry of Education, Government of India, for appointment to superior posts and services under the Central Government. It is also one of the essential qualifications for recruitment to Grades I to IV in the Accounts Branch of the Central Company Law Service of the Department of Company Affairs. Specialists in banks in the fields of Finance, Accounts, Law and Merchant Banking. 
  • Almost every kind of organisation whose affairs are conducted by boards, councils and other corporate structures, be it a company, cooperative society, trust, society, association, federation, authority, commission, board or the like, finds it useful to appoint a person who holds the qualification of company secretaryship in key administrative positions. Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms of the Central Government empanels company secretaries for assignment of Indian experts to the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Filed under: Career Information, COMPANY SECRETARY, ,

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