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Understanding the Distinction: Company Secretary vs. Corporate Secretary

Corporate Secretary

The terms ‘company secretary’ and ‘corporate secretary’ are often used interchangeably, leading to confusion due to their apparent similarity. However, these roles have significant differences, and understanding them is crucial for effective hiring and compliance with legal obligations through accounting firms in Singapore.

Secretary vs. Company Secretary:

While the terms “Secretary” and “Company Secretary” may sound alike, they differ significantly in their roles and responsibilities within an organization.


Handles clerical tasks such as file management, meeting arrangements, and various administrative duties.

Company Secretary:

Plays a pivotal role in the company, overseeing legal and regulatory obligations to ensure effective governance and the Board’s dedication to the company’s success.

Career Opportunities:


  • Typically does not require a specific degree but needs training in clerical tasks and communication skills.
  • Basic IT skills are essential for modern business communication.

Company Secretary:

  • Offers lucrative career opportunities with high-ranking positions in regulatory bodies, banks, financial institutions, insurance companies, enterprises, and consulting firms.
  • It holds great significance in Singapore, where the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) mandates the appointment of a company secretary within six months of incorporation.

Responsibilities of a Company Secretary in Singapore:

Accounting firms in Singapore play a crucial role by providing the professional services of a company secretary and corporate secretary, ensuring legal compliance and efficient management.

Roles in the Company:

Ensures legislative responsibilities are met, safeguards the company’s economic interests, follows sound corporate governance, and regularly visits the registered office.

Responsibilities to Company Directors:

Acts as an advisor to the Board, providing practical assistance and timely information for active participation in board meetings.

Responsibilities to Company Shareholders:

Maintains frequent communication, safeguards shareholder interests, and promptly distributes financial information for informed voting at Annual General Meetings.

Additional Responsibilities:

  • Arranging shareholder and director meetings.
  • Maintaining company statutory registers.
  • Providing legal support and advice.
  • Bridging communication gaps between the Board and shareholders.
  • Ensuring efficient and legal execution of the Board’s decisions.

Final Takeaway:

The primary difference lies in the level of expertise and responsibilities. A corporate secretary is a business expert handling various organizational tasks, while a company secretary is a qualified professional managing legal obligations.

The terms may be used interchangeably, especially in Singapore, where Company Law refers to a “secretary.” Both corporate or company secretary titles are integral to efficient management and legal compliance.

Company Secretary vs. Corporate Secretary

FAQs about Company Secretary vs. Corporate Secretary

Are the terms "company secretary" and "corporate secretary" interchangeable in Singapore?

Yes, in Singapore, Company Law uses the term “secretary,” allowing the two terms to be used interchangeably.

Why is hiring a company secretary mandatory in Singapore?

Hiring a company secretary is a legal obligation in Singapore, mandated by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). They play a crucial role in efficient management and legal compliance.

What are the primary responsibilities of a company secretary in Singapore?

Responsibilities include ensuring legislative compliance, advising the Board, maintaining shareholder communication, arranging meetings, and providing legal support. 

How do accounting firms in Singapore assist with company secretary services?

Accounting firms offer the professional services of a company secretary, ensuring legal obligations are met, and efficient management is maintained. 

Can a director also serve as a company secretary in Singapore?

Yes, a director can serve as a company secretary in Singapore, provided they are not the sole director of the company.