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Secretarial Practice: Definition, Importance

and Qualifications
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Read this article to learn about the Secretarial Practice. After reading this article you will
also learn about: 1. Definition of Secretarial Practice 2. Importance of Secretarial Practice
3. Qualifications of Secretarial Practice 4. Different Types of Secretaries.

Definition of Secretarial Practice:

Nowadays, the word Secretary means not only a confidential officer but also one whose office
is to write for another, especially one who is employed to conduct correspondence, to keep
records and to transact various other businesses, for another person or for a society, corporation
and public body.
In India, the secretary is known as Sachiva.

Importance of Secretarial Practice:

Nowadays the secretary has come to occupy a more prominent position in the society than his
ancient counterpart. In many cases the secretary has proved to be an indispensable person.

He is entrusted with all confidential matters of a business. He has the overall charge of making
correspondences, keeping records, handling legal, taxation and financial matters and maintaining
coordination in the organisation.
The importance of a secretary is:
1. He is an indispensable person. In industry, commerce and social institutions, he is a must.
2. He is required to perform official and secretarial functions.

3. He has to perform many legal duties.

4. Important and busy persons engage personal secretaries to help them in the discharge of their
5. He acts as an advisor to managers.
6. He is a key man and a liaison between the Board of Directors and the staff.

7. In case of a company, appointment of a qualified secretary is a must.

8. Bureaucratic administration cannot be run without a secretary.
9. Secretary is a confidential officer.
10. Secretary-ship is a profession rendering specialised service.
11. Secretary takes part in the policy-making process.
12. With the development of trade, industry and commerce, the importance of secretary is increasing day-by-day. Secretary is both a generalist and a specialist.

Qualifications of Secretarial Practice:

A-successful secretary should have educational, organisational, behavioural and functional skills
and abilities.
1. Sound Education:
The secretary must have a sound and a high level of education. He / She should have graduate or
post-graduate qualifications in Science, Arts or Commerce, preferably with a degree in Law.
2. Good General Knowledge:
He should have a high standard of general knowledge which will broaden and enrich his mental
horizon. He will keep himself abreast of time through continuous reading of books, journals,
newspapers, reports etc.
3. Good Knowledge of English:

The secretary should have good command over English language because he has to make
correspondences, write reports, minutes etc. in English. A secretary should have a powerful and
lucid pen.
4. Knowledge of Foreign Language:
In case of Govt. of India, a foreign secretary is supposed to have knowledge of the language of
the country where he is posted. In case of business having foreign connections, the secretary
should have knowledge of the countrys language where the branch office is situated.
5. Communication Skill:
Effective communication is very important for any executive. Being a spokesman for the
organisation, the secretary must know the art of communication. He has to explain a lot to other
persons. Hence, the secretary must have a good command over languageboth written and oral.
6. Knowledge of Law and Procedure of Meetings:
The secretary should have knowledge of law operating in the country. He is responsible for convening and conducting meetings. He should have thorough knowledge of the procedures and
rules of meetings. If he is the secretary of public bodies, statutory corporations or companies, he
must observe the rules and regulations of meetings as prescribed in the respective statutes.
7. Abilities of Office Organisation:
The secretary is in charge of an office. He has to run and manage the office efficiently. He must
have a sound practical knowledge about the best system of maintaining office including the
modern systems of filing, indexing, handling of office equipment and computer, e-mails,
intranet, internet and labour-saving devices.
He must have some knowledge of personnel management and must be able to maintain good
relations with the staff.
8. Good Personality and Character:
The secretary must have dynamic and pleasant personality, and an amiable nature. An ideal
secretary must have honesty, integrity, loyalty, tact and presence of mind.
9. Computer Knowledge:
Ability of working with computers nowadays is a must.

Different Types of Secretaries:

In a modern pluralistic society we have different types of secretaries with different types of functions.

The principal types are:

1. Private Secretary.
2. Company Secretary.
3. Secretary of an Association or Club.
4. Secretary of a Government Department.
5. Secretary of a Cooperative Society.
6. Embassy Secretary.
7. Secretary of a local body.
1. Private Secretary:
An important and busy person, who cannot spare his valuable time for routine type of jobs,
appoints a private secretary to look after those things. An eminent person like an industrialist, a
politician, a director, a doctor, a lawyer or a author appoints a private secretary to assist him in
his personal and confidential matters.
A private secretary who he does the functions of a steno-typist are called a Personal Assistant or
P. A. A private secretary does the functions of confidential nature for his master, is called a
Confidential Assistant or C.A.
The general duties of a private secretary are:
(i) He receives visitors.
(ii) He receives messages and communicates.
(iii) He maintains an engagement diary and sees that the engagements are fulfilled.
(iv) He maintains a filing system for the executive.
(v) He composes routine replies to all letters.
(vi) He reminds the executive to maintain the work schedule.
2. Company Secretary:
A Company Secretary is a full-time officer. He must be conversant with the company law,
accounts, taxations and other commercial and financial matters. A Company Secretary, as
defined by the Indian Companies Act, 1980, is an individual possessing the prescribed

qualifications and is appointed to perform the duties which may be performed by a secretary
under this Act and any other ministerial and administrative duties.
A secretary is the principal officer of the company. He is responsible for all ministerial and administrative functions under the Board of Directors. He is the mouthpiece of the Board of
Directors and an agent of the shareholders. He is the chief executive, a liaison officer and advisor
to the management. He has both statutory and non-statutory functions to perform.
3. Secretary of an Association or Club:
He is appointed by the Trade Association or Chamber of Commerce or Trade Union or a club.
The duties of the secretary of an association or club vary with the size and type of organisation.
He may be a paid secretary or an honorary one and may be on a full-time or a part-time basis.
The duties of a secretary of an association or a club are:
(i) He has to convene and conduct meetings.
(ii) He records the proceedings of the meetings.
(iii) He keeps an account of receipts and expenditure.
(iv) He conducts the day-to-day activities of the association.
(v) He acts as an agent, an advisor and a liaison officer.
4. Secretary of a Government Department:
These are highly responsible positions, both in the central and state governments. The secretaries
perform both administrative and advisory functions. They are the executive heads of government
departments and act as advisors to Ministers concerned. Government secretaries are civil
servants and normally recruited from the Indian Administrative Service.
A govt. secretary has to work under a Minister. The secretaries are not only to execute the decisions of the Cabinet but also to advise the Minister in carrying out his functions and in framing
the govt. policy.
5. Secretary of a Cooperative Society:
According to the Bengal Cooperative Societies Rule a Secretary has been defined as a person
who, subject to the control of the Managing Committee, has the management of the affairs of a
Cooperative Society and includes a member of a Managing Committee or any other person
discharging the duty of a Secretary, by whatever name called, whether under a contract of service
or not.

The secretary of a cooperative society is elected by the Managing Committee of the society for a
year either on a full-time or a part-time basis. He may be a honorary or a paid secretary. He is to
execute the decisions of the Managing Committee.
6. Embassy Secretary or Foreign Secretary:
This is a diplomatic officials post connected with a diplomatic mission or embassy. In order of
responsibility, there may be first secretary, second secretary etc. The first secretary is next in rank
to the Ambassador or High Commissioner. The positions of secretaries to diplomatic enclaves are
highly responsible and honorable.
7. Secretary of a Local Body:
Local bodies like Municipalities, Gram Panchayats, Panchayat Samities and Zilla Parishads
appoint a Secretary. He may be elected on honorary basis or nominated by the government. Here
the secretary is the Chief Executive Officer. He also coordinates and supervises all office
activities of the local body.