The role of the company secretary is one that we have discussed at great length before in previous blogs and whitepapers, however, such is the ever-changing nature of the position that we never run out of things to discuss, which is something we’re looking forward to doing at this year’s Thomson Reuters Forum for Unlisted Companies event this June.
Some of the biggest changes to affect the role over the past 12 months since the last conference comes in the sheer number of new regulations company secretaries are tasked to ensure compliance with, including the headline grabbing General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that came into effect at the end of May.
Understanding what data you hold and where it is stored is now more imperative than ever for companies of all sizes as they look to comply with the new regulation and avoid the eye-watering fines possible for non-compliance. It would appear that 2018 is the dawning of a new era where companies are finally having to tackle the disparate network of digital solutions they have created over the past decade or more.
The theme of this year’s conference is ‘embracing innovation’, which further backs up this theory as well as the amount of new data protection and data security regulations now in place. As the business world begins to open its eyes to the possibilities that technology can bring, via automation services, AI and mobile applications, the inherent dangers that they also open themselves up to must also be fully understood. All too often we have seen organisations run before they can walk when it comes to technology and leave themselves wide open to cyber attacks. Of course, the opposite is also true, as the NHS found out last year when the WannaCry virus wreaked havoc across one third of all NHS Trusts capitalising on its outdated and non-secure IT systems.
Striking a happy balance between these two scenarios is the holy grail all companies are striving for, and those attending this year’s conference will be looking for guidance on this matter as well as wanting to demo the latest solutions on offer from the exhibitors.
The other major theme of this year’s conference is ‘the agile company secretary’. In an interview conducted a few years ago, James Menzies of the Ernst and Young Corporate Secretarial Support Services said; “The biggest challenge for company secretaries is doing more with less. Increasing profile of corporate governance, more reporting, more transparency, new rules and legislation and an ever-increasing push to globalise businesses to grow, opposed by a steady pressure on budgets and headcount mean that the company secretary of the future will need to be able to work ever smarter, embrace change and new challenges in order to succeed.”
This statement certainly still holds true for company secretaries today, as their workload continues to increase, whilst time and budgetary constraints seem unlikely to ease any time soon.
Providing company secretaries with the right tools to do their job efficiently is vital for the smooth running of an organisation. It allows them more time to focus on the business critical aspects of their job, whilst also providing board members and directors the knowledge that their meetings will be well run, well documented and that the information they bring along with them will be the most up-to-date.
Board portal solutions may have been around for a long time, but the best providers out there keep up to date with modern trends and fully understand the needs of those that will be using the platform. eShare’s latest releases have been focussing exactly on this, with the release of our digital minutes function, allowing the creation and compilation of these minutes to be done in a matter of minutes and hours, as opposed to days and weeks.
Other recent updates include our innovative ‘topic history’, which allows users to access the minutes and notes from similar agenda items from previous meetings instantly in real-time. Gone are the days of delaying a decision until the previous meetings minutes are found and referenced for agreed actions.
These features, among others, delighted company secretaries and administrators at our recent London user group and we are excited to demonstrate them to a whole new audience at the up coming conference.
If you are attending the Thomson Reuters Forum for Unlisted Companies conference in June, please stop by the stand to witness these new features in action and discuss your company’s needs with our team. Alternatively, please get in touch with us today to request a brochure and a free online demonstration.