types of secretaries

Different Types Of Secretaries In The Business World

If you’re an entrepreneur, you may have seen the term ‘secretary’ in multiple contexts.

However, it might not have registered that those contexts are referring to different secretaries!

And thus, we expand upon a running joke faced by Company Secretaries. 

Yes, there are different types of secretaries

Quite routinely, the MISHU team find ourselves explaining the difference between a ‘Company Secretary’ and ‘personal secretary’ to someone over the phone.

They’re looking for a personal secretary, not a Company Secretary.

However, to them a secretary is a secretary the way all potatoes are potatoes.

different types of secretaries in business
We might make you a cup of coffee if you ask extra politely.

The truth is that these two roles couldn’t be more different from each other.

Both perform crucial functions, but man, are they different functions.

In fact, the number of roles with ‘secretary’ in the name is much more diverse than it seems on the surface. 

If you’ve ever woken up wondering how many types of secretaries there are, we got you covered.

Types of secretary jobs

Here’s a rundown of the different types of secretaries you might encounter in the business world:

Personal Secretary:

This is what most people think of when they hear the word ‘secretary’. The typical personal secretary juggles administrative tasks and assists a high ranking company executive such as a director with keeping track of an extremely busy work schedule. 

This includes managing appointments and meetings, screening calls and emails, and yes, making a killer cup of coffee.

Company Secretary

Hey, that’s us!

In Malaysia, a Company Secretary is a company officer appointed by the director to provide guidance on keeping the company fully compliant with Malaysia’s laws at all times. They are specially trained and certified by the Malaysian government to provide such advice, and removes the burden of navigating complex legislation which can be very time consuming for the average director or business owner.

Digital Company Secretary

A digital Company Secretary has identical functions to its non-digital counterparts, only it has digitised much of the usual business functions and processes. All other things being equal, a client using a digital Company Secretary will usually enjoy faster and more cost-effective service due to the scalable nature of digitisation.

Legal Secretary

Legal secretaries work in law firms where they prepare complex legal documents and assist attorneys with various tasks. Compared to the average person, a legal secretary has a better understanding of legal terminology and specific requirements for legal documents (judges can be very finicky with this).  

Medical Secretary

A medical secretary is the medical version of a legal secretary, working in clinics, hospitals, and medical institutions instead of law firms where they manage patient records and assist medical officers with documentation and administrative procedures.   

Club Secretary

Ever been to a club and wondered who’s behind the seamless operation? It’s the Club Secretary. They’re the ones managing meetings, keeping club records up-to-date like a meticulous librarian, and ensuring everyone knows what’s happening. 

Each of these roles requires a unique set of skills and expertise, demonstrating the breadth and depth of the secretarial field. 

Having said that, why are there so many different types of secretaries?

Why are they all called ‘secretary’?

It’s all about the etymology of the word.

The word ‘secretary’ comes from the Latin term ‘secretarius’ which means “a person entrusted with secrets”

types of secretary in a company
Too bad meerkats aren’t MAICSA certified.

Over the years, this title intended for individuals entrusted with confidential matters has come to be associated with administrative tasks in modern-day types of secretary jobs.

But enough about applied linguistics.

Let’s take a closer look at the functions of a company secretary like MISHU and a personal secretary.

Once you see the key differences, you’ll definitely not want to get them mixed up!

Company Secretary vs Personal Secretary 

To highlight the differences, it’s worth discussing the primary functions of each role. Let’s dive into what these secretarial roles entail: 

Secretary TypeMain Responsibilities
Company SecretaryEnsuring company compliance, managing the board of directors, maintaining company records, liaising with regulatory authorities.
Personal SecretaryManaging schedules, arranging meetings, handling correspondences, assisting with personal tasks.

As you can see, the company secretary role involves strategic decision-making and a deep understanding of the company’s operational laws.

It’s a role that demands high-level analytical and problem-solving skills. 

On the other hand, a personal secretary focuses on administrative tasks including managing the schedule of a single person or a team, arranging meetings, and handling correspondence.

They ensure the smooth running of daily operations. 

In conclusion, while both roles are pivotal to the functioning of a business, they are vastly different. Understanding these differences can help you make informed decisions when looking to hire for these positions.

Let MISHU be your Company Secretary

Co sec Manager Fenny

Consider appointing MISHU’s Company Secretaries as your guide to total compliance. We’re friendly, digital-first, and deliver professional services at affordable prices.

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