Difference between a Company Secretary and a Corporate Secretary

Generally, people tend to use the terms ‘company secretary’ and ‘corporate secretary’ interchangeably because they are not familiar with the core differences between these two essential roles at an organization. 


However, it is important for you to be familiar with the difference between a company secretary and a corporate secretary to ensure you hire the best person for these jobs and use the effective services of accounting firms in Singapore to fulfill the legal obligations. 


Secretary vs. Company Secretary

The words Secretary and Company Secretary seem similar, but there are huge differences between them in terms of the roles and responsibilities they have in an organization.

The main responsibility of a secretary is to handle files, arrange meetings, deal with different forms of communications, and perform several other clerical tasks in an organization.

On the other hand, a company secretary plays a much more important role in a company.

The responsibilities of a company secretary involve supervision of the company and dealing with a variety of legal and regulatory obligations to ensure the Board of Directors is working for the betterment and success of the company.

Career Opportunities

Generally, there is no particular degree required to become a secretary in a company because it mainly deals with clerical tasks. 

However, it is important for a secretary to be well-trained in dealing with such procedures in the company and have good communication skills in English and the regional language. 

Nowadays, IT devices and platforms are essential for the smooth functioning of a business, so a secretary should possess basic IT skills to conduct communication via email, social media, and other such platforms. 

On the other hand, being a company secretary can be a much more lucrative career as they can get high-ranking jobs in numerous organizations like regulatory bodies, banks, and financial institutions. 

Private firms like insurance companies, enterprises, and consulting companies also need company secretaries. 

A company secretary holds great significance in any company operating in Singapore because the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) has made it compulsory for every company to appoint a company secretary within six months of the date of the company’s incorporation. 

Responsibilities of a Company Secretary in Singapore

Accounting firms in Singapore help companies by providing professional services of a company secretary and corporate secretary to meet the legal obligations and ensure efficient management by fulfilling the following responsibilities:

an Asian man working in office desk

Roles in Company

A company secretary guarantees that all applicable legislative responsibilities are completed, that the company’s economic interests are always safeguarded, that sound corporate governance is followed, and that the company’s registered office location is visited on a regular basis.

Responsibilities To Company Director(s)

A company secretary must act as an adviser to the Board of directors and provide any necessary practical assistance; share timely information with all directors so that they may fully participate in board meetings.

Responsibilities To Company Shareholder(s)

A company secretary must maintain frequent communication and guarantee that their interests are safeguarded, promptly distributing financial information so that shareholders are prepared to vote at the firm’s Annual General Meeting.


Other than these responsibilities, the corporate secretary should be capable of arranging shareholder and director meetings, maintaining the company statutory registers. 


Providing wide-ranging legal support and advice, bridging the potential communication gap between the Board and shareholders, and ensuring the Board’s decisions are carried out efficiently and legally. 


Proper execution of these tasks eventually contributes to the success of the company.


Final Takeaway

The primary difference between a company secretary and a corporate secretary is that a corporate secretary is a business expert responsible for dealing with various tasks and procedures throughout the organization. 


In comparison, a company secretary is a professional, experienced, and well-qualified individual who should have the knowledge and skills to deal with different types of matters in a business and fulfill legal obligations.  


Generally, the terms corporate secretary and company secretary can be used interchangeably, especially in Singapore, because Company Law in Singapore uses the term secretary. 


The overall functions and responsibilities of a corporate secretary are very wide because they involve having authority in the everyday tasks of the company. 


The law has made it compulsory for every company in Singapore to hire a company secretary because they play an integral role in inefficient management of the company through supervision and compliance with the law. 


Lastly, hiring a company secretary is a legal obligation for all companies in Singapore, so it is important for companies to rely on professional accounting firms in Singapore and fulfill such obligations.