Chartered Accountant

What is the Difference between a Practising Company Secretary vs Chartered Accountant?

Do you want to know how to become a company secretary or chartered accountant? Would like to understand the difference between these professions? Read this article.

Every business, whether large or small, can benefit from the services of a company secretary and a chartered accountant. Although these are two distinct professions, many still use the terms interchangeably. 

A chartered accountant is not the same as a company secretary. They all perform separate roles in a company. The role of the CS is largely administrative oversight and also helping the company navigate statutory and regulatory requirements. At the same time, the chartered accountant, as the name suggests, is mainly responsible for the financial side of the business. They are highly trained financial experts who help the business in auditing, financial management, taxation, and other related duties.

Although some categories of companies must have a company secretary, it is not a legal requirement for businesses to have chartered accountants. Public companies are required by law to have CS. Still, private companies are not obliged to do the same except if stipulated by the articles of association of the said company. In such cases, the CS is not required to have any special qualification. It is clear that the role of these two professions is key for the smooth running of businesses; the absence of a CS may throw the company into law chaos, while the absence of the chartered account may result in miss management of company finances.

We will explore the difference between a company secretary and a chartered accountant. We focus on the definition of both terms, the qualifications necessary for both professions, the processes required to become a professional in either of the fields, key duties performed in these professions, the salary differences between the two professionals, and the skills required to be efficient in these fields. By the time you get to the end of the article, you’ll be in a position to differentiate between these two professions and understand what it takes to be one of them. Let’s roll ourselves and get started.

Who Is a Company Secretary?

Commonly referred to as the CS, a company secretary is an individual or a corporate body (in some cases) tasked with administering corporate law and governance, among other duties. Public companies with a share capital exceeding ₹10 core are obliged by law to appoint a company secretary, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be an individual. For example, multinational companies may appoint corporate entities like law firms to be their company secretary. When you hear the word secretary, the first thing that comes to mind is clerical work, such as recording minutes in meetings and the like, and CS shouldn’t be confused with such roles.

The Secretary of the Company is an administrator who is well versed with corporate law and is experienced in corporate governance. They help the company provide legal advice, guide directors as to the extent of their responsibilities as stipulated in the articles of association, administer legal documents, and ensure all routine filing of documents is done on time. They are also custodians of company documents such as certificates of incorporation, articles, memorandum of association, company seal, and others. The CS works hand in hand with company directors, shareholders, and sometimes auditors.

To become a CS, one must, in the first place, love corporate law and also have critical thinking and administrative skills. In India, the first step in the process is registering with the Institute of company secretaries. You’ll be required to do an 8-month course and an extra 1-year executive program. The foundation course can be taken by a degree holder or students who have qualified for their 12th examinations. The course takes you through subjects such as company law, labour, and industrial law, banking laws, insurance laws, tax laws, and corporate governance in general. This field has various career opportunities in small and large private and public companies. Qualified professionals in this field could also start businesses that offer companies corporate law and governance expertise.

Who Is a Chartered Accountant?

When you hear the word accountant, the first thing that comes to your mind is money; the accountant is an individual or business that is responsible for recording business financial transactions; they provide professional accounting duties, including account analysis, financial statement analysis, auditing, bookkeeping, and administers the company’s financial documents. Accountants generally deal with everything related to the finances of the organisation. A chartered accountant, in simple terms, is an experienced accountant with professional accreditation in the same field. They are highly experienced accountants, who perform senior managerial roles in organisations, for example, financial directors, senior managers, chief executive officers, board of directors, and others.

Chartered accountants in India can be individuals or accounting firms; they help the business with managing the financial health of the businesses, offer strategic financial advice, act as internal auditors, help in taxation management, help in managing or calculating production costs, and offer financial investigation services, and consultancy. A chartered accountant is a respected professional accounting body member, which varies from country to country. They are in a position to offer high specialisation and in-depth expertise in accounting and finance.

Are you wondering how you can become a chartered accountant? First, you should love mathematics because accounting deals mostly with numbers. After completing the 12th standard, you could register for the Chartered accountant foundation course. You’ll have 4 four months from registration to study for your exams. The foundation course has a total of four subjects. After passing the foundation course, you may enrol for the intermediate level. You’ll have 8 months to study for the program before sitting for the exams. Once you complete this level, you can register for the articles and finals, including 3 years of mandatory training. After passing the final exam and the required training, you are certified as a chartered accountant. 

Conclusion

Many people don’t know the difference between a company secretary and a chartered accountant. They think these two professionals perform similar duties. These are two different professions and perform separate roles for the organisation.

The company secretary is mainly charged with corporate law and governance-related duties. In contrast, the chartered accountant is charged with duties related to business finances. If you want to learn more about CS and CA, you can visit Vakilsearch.com. It has extensive resources with essential information on several topics related to business and law. If you need a lawyer to help you appoint a CA or CS, you can make an appointment through the Vakilsearch portal.

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