Corporate and MNC always look for profile where individual as “Company Secretary” should possess depth knowledge of Companies Act, FEMA, Sebi, Listing compliance, etc. Even Section 203 of the Companies Act 2013 defines the requirement of appointing of Compliance Officer to certain specified classes of the Company. And according to the definition of the Compliance Officer under Companies Act 2013, only Company Secretary holding valid membership number and who are associate member of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India can act Compliance Officer.
Even Company Secretary has mind set to have knowledge in the field of Corporate Laws, Sebi, Corporate affairs, etc. But never took the other area of law so serious. Now since new Companies Act require Director to give declaration about compliance with all the applicable laws to the organization and as Good Governance practice, it will widen the scope of the CS in other area of law.
Role of Compliance Officer in areas of Compliance and Law:
1) Labour Law: This field was always neglected by the Company Secretary in employment and in practice. Many HR and MBA personnel are looking after HR Compliance in offices and at manufacturing units. However, there always lack the expertise of practical approach and knowledge when it comes to the professional in Compliance. Company Secretary in practice can explore Labour Law compliance as completely new field for practice. Large MNC are into practice to obtain the Compliance Certificate under all the Heads of the Company periodically, place it before the Board for the observation and suggestion, comments and the areas of improvement. Companies can indulge into practice of taking services from CS in practice and CS can increase their scope by providing Labour Law Audit to the manufacturing unit of the company.
2) Environmental Law: What is Environmental Law and why it becomes very critical for the company because of any kind of serious or critical non compliance in Factories?? Environmental Law covers the entire ambit of the Environmental Protection Act, Water Act and Air Act. Non compliances under this head are straight invitation for the factory to shut down or serious penalty and fines on Occupier. Proper maintenance of factories surrounding, timely submission of the Returns under the said acts and rules framed there under, timely intimation to the department about any incident or accident occurred in factories.
3) FDA, Drugs and Cosmetic Laws, Warehouse Compliance: For a Logistic Company and E commerce platforms, complying with the basic requirement of all this applicable laws become very important. Lack of knowledge and experience can put company into huge amount of losses. FDA, Drugs and Cosmetics Laws are not that easy to comply with. Registration process of the Company, Proper storage of food items and medicine in Warehouses, at proper temperature, no distribution activities of expired products, it becomes headache for Compliance Officer to monitor each and every provision to comply with.
4) Liaison with Government Dept: To liaison with Government department for obtaining various Licenses, approvals and Registration for running the businesses of the Company is again big challenge. Indian Laws itself a challenge to understand to follow. To run a business successfully, there are various departments where application in the name of the Company is required. Eg. For FSSAI and FMGC sector – FSSAI License, Dairy industries – FSSAI License, IT business in IT Park need ITES License (Information Technology Enabled Service). Having a varied knowledge of various applicable Registration / License, procedure to obtain the same and ongoing compliances, Compliance Officer has scope.
5) NCLT: PCS can now open their door to practice and explore in this field if appearing before appellant tribunal. We can now do the advocacy to solve the matter of our clients.
6) FDI and other investment compliances: FDI investments are taking growth in Indian corporate than domestic investment. Professional like Company Secretary plays very important to perform and observe the timely compliances of investment and day to day activity pertaining to FDI norms and as per Companies Act, 2013. Indian Companies started approaching tax heaven nations for long term funding in their share capital and borrowing. Based on the nature of business, certain caps under FDI policy allow few industries to accept investment under automatic route, making investment process quick and smooth. FDI policy of India pertains to change from time to time. Not very easy to keep the track of changes in FDI policy which have impact on our businesses and to explain the same to management along with the way out, in order to compliant with the law. Any non compliance in FDI and invitation to RBI to your office.
7) Compliance Audit of our Company: Company Secretary can always act as Internal Auditor of their own company, by verifying and conducting compliance audit for various departments on periodical basis to ensure that company are complying with all the applicable laws. Company Secretary can submit their Internal Audit Report to the Audit Committee for the reviews and quick actions. CS might be engaged into day to day secretarial compliances but they can come out with an audit plan for their own company and implement a good governance practice.
8) Goods and Services Tax: As professional, practice in GST is a new field for an individual. Following are the scope for Company Secretary:
1. Act as authorized Representatives in the matter of registration under Goods and Services Tax Act
2. Act as an Authorized Representative for acting as an agent for the taxpayer (Report on GST Payment Process)
3. CS as Compliance Officer of the Company can put their steps in the Regime of GST along with the secretarial work, to make sure that the Company is complying with the provisions of the GST, its registration, timely returns filings, proper dues paid, etc.
Likewise there are lots of areas where our scope of work can be increased, either thru employment or by going in specialized practice of this particular field.
CS has got wide scope of life and career in the upcoming future.
Only our professional is called by “Company” Secretary. Because CS can interpret the laws and regulation with its impact and implications. Honor the title given to us.
*Small article on Career of Company Secretary – KMP / Compliance Officer*
*Disclaimer: This article is purely written to show the broad aspect of CS profile and not comparison of the same with other professional*
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