A company incorporated in Malaysia must appoint a Company Secretary within 30 days after the Certificate of Incorporation from the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) has been received. Similar to the appointment of at least one company director, this requirement is part of Malaysia’s legal compliance that must be fulfilled. A Company Secretary in Malaysia is not a personnel that handles general office duties such as filing or answering the phone or scheduling appointments. He or she is in fact tasked with the huge responsibility of managing the running of the company efficiently and ensuring that the company meets all its statutory and compliance regulations. Click here for more information regarding duties and responsibilities of a Company Secretary in Malaysia.
Professional Company Secretary Services have come into existence to provide qualified and professional company secretaries to help companies stay compliant with the law, as many companies, especially start-ups, do not find it necessary or practical or affordable to house one. Many business owners, thinking that a company secretary is not a big deal, have made the mistake of trying to it all themselves or hiring or appointing someone who is less than qualified and ending up facing disruptions in their operation, even penalties.
Company Secretary Services
For many SMEs, retaining an in-house company secretary under company payroll is simply not cost effective, especially when many company secretary services provide less expensive and more efficient services in that respect. As with making any business decisions, selecting the most suitable provider also takes a little market research and inquiry. First and foremost, the provider has to be a licensed filing agent with a license number you can verify. Other factors to consider include:
How transparent is your company secretary services provider about the costs involved?
Business owners of a newly incorporated company probably have an easier time deciding on a Company Secretary in Malaysia, as company secretary services are usually included in company incorporation packages. However if they are not, or you wish to independently engage one, or you wish to switch, then you must ensure that all fees involved are clearly communicated, and no hidden charges or ancillary fees pop up later. Some points to take note include:
- If it is a monthly or annual fee and is it an “all-in” monthly or annual fee?
- Are you getting billed when you make impromtu inquiries or requests?
- Are SSM charges and other filing fees included?
- If the price is unbelievably low compared to other providers, then you can expect getting hit with additional fees as services are being performed
- Are you being neglected or delayed as a basic package user, i.e. for not signing up for more expensive premium packages?
Is your company secretary in Malaysia tech savvy enough to conduct his or her duties through online digital solutions?
Telecommunicating and working and getting things done remotely have become a “new normal” even without the onset of the Covid pandemic. Therefore, it is important that a company secretary in Malaysia possesses the latest IT knowledge and skills in online conferencing, cloud sharing, collaboration software, etc, so as to execute all necessary duties when physical contact is not feasible. Besides, government agencies, such as SSM and IRBM, have begun digitising many of their operations, and any ineptitude in this regard — electronically creating, processing, reporting, distributing, archiving — will lead to delay and perhaps penalty. An efficient company secretary or Company Secretary Services provider must also be quick and adaptive to any specialised or customised digital work platform that a client may have to complement administrative workflows, especially to improve compliance management.
What are the red flags you should look out for in the quality of your company secretary services?
Lack of professionalism in company secretary services comes in many manifestations, in particular:
- filing documents with authorities without making an appropriate resolution
- failure to respond to authorities and their requirements or requests, and the company consequently has to pay for preventable penalties and fines
- failure to communicate and coordinate important information to and between stakeholders, in an organised and timely manner, and as a result, interests of various stakeholders are compromised
- incorrect year-end selection and the company ends up losing tax benefits
- any inability to comply with or lack of awareness of any provisions of the Companies Act
Do consider switching your services provider when such mistakes blatantly occur, or you end up bearing the burden of telling your Company Secretary what needs to be done.