Difference Between a Company Secretary and Chartered Accountant
A company secretary and a chartered accountant both play an integral role in the success of a company. However, many people tend to confuse these two important positions. There are some significant differences between a company secretary and a chartered accountant that will help you in outsourcing accounting services to a suitable firm in Singapore.
Generally, a chartered accountant can work as an internal auditor or statutory auditor of the company. On the other hand, a company secretary has a number of responsibilities within a company to ensure maximum compliance.
Roles and Responsibilities
As the name suggests, a chartered accountant is responsible for advising the company on different issues related to the company’s finance, taxation, and accounting procedures. An accountant is responsible for making sure that the company has a minimum tax burden.
The Companies Act in Singapore provides a wide range of roles and responsibilities to a company secretary. The major part of these responsibilities is to make sure the company complies with all the legal rules, regulations, and statutory requirements.
A company secretary is also responsible for advising the Board of Directors on different matters of the company. The key roles of a company secretary are:
- A corporate secretary must make sure all of the statutory obligations are met, and the interest of the business remains protected.
- Advise the company’s directors and provide them with all of the essential information in board meetings.
- Conduct regular communication with the company shareholders and make sure the Annual General Meeting is conducted as per the law.
The major differences between a chartered accountant and a company secretary are:
1. Position in Company
A chartered accountant can work in auditing, finance, taxes, consulting, and management accounting. On the other hand, a company secretary can work as a legal expert, strategic manager, business planner, executive secretary, and top strategist.
The Companies Act of Singapore makes it clear that the Board of Directors must hire a corporate secretary within six months of the company’s incorporation.
There are no such rules regarding appointing a chartered accountant. Instead, most companies choose to outsource services to an accounting firm in Singapore because it allows companies to rely on experts to streamline their accounting procedures.
Generally, a chartered accountant is an expert in areas related to direct taxes, accounting fundamentals and basics, auditing and assurance, cost accounting, financial management, management accounting, financial analysis, and other topics.
On the other hand, a corporate secretary is an expert in areas like tax laws, company law, general and commercial laws, economic labour and industrial laws, banking and insurance, basic economics, and business law.
As a chartered accountant, you acquire a quantitative mindset rather than a qualitative one, whereas a company secretary is likely to have a qualitative mindset.
The majority of chartered accountants have strong analytical abilities and are excellent with numbers, as they must be precise with every figure and leave no room for error to ensure reliable results. Companies often choose to outsource accounting services to benefit from such experienced and professional chartered accountants.
The law has allocated a variety of roles to a corporate secretary in Singapore. A company secretary is likely to be excellent at legal management and communication because they have to communicate with all of the people involved in the company, like directors and shareholders.
4. Duration of Education
A candidate must pass a certain number of levels in both of these educational degrees to become a professional chartered accountant or a corporate secretary. However, such degrees and training degrees greatly vary from country to country and even institute to institute.
Generally, a chartered accountant requires an average of 4 to 5 years to finish, whereas the course to become a company secretary is typically a shorter course that takes an average of 2 to 3 years to complete.
The bottom line is that both a chartered accountant and a corporate secretary play crucial roles in the success of the business. A chartered accountant is responsible for managing the company’s finances and streamlines the accounting procedures to ensure the company can have a robust internal financial system.
Companies do not have to hire an internal chartered accountant as they can easily outsource accounting services to a firm. On the other hand, the company’s Board of Directors must hire a corporate secretary within six months of the company’s incorporation to comply with the law.
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