Chartered Secretary (CSSA)

Professional Qualification


What is a Company Secretary?

Despite the name, the role is not a clerical or secretarial one in the usual sense. Company Secretaries oversee the efficient administration and compliance of a company. Every successful, well-run organisation needs a governance professional who, as part of the senior management team, can instill a culture of sound governance and act as a trusted adviser on key issues. Company Secretaries are the primary source of advice on the conduct of business and this can span everything from legal advice, through accounting advice on financial reports, to the development of strategy and corporate planning.

In many countries, companies have traditionally been required by law to appoint one person as a Company Secretary, and this person will also usually be a senior board member.

In a rapidly changing, increasingly complex business environment, employers and investors are demanding that those charged with governance responsibilities have the skills and expertise to promote excellence in corporate conduct and administration. This can only be achieved by a genuine governance professional.

What does a Company Secretary do?

Company Secretaries occupy senior roles within organisations and have high level responsibilities. They have to ensure compliance in the following areas: corporate governance and conduct, compliance with legal, regulatory and listing requirements, training and induction of non-executives and trustees and contact with regulatory and external bodies. Additionally they oversee reports and circulars of shareholders/trustees and ensure employee benefits are well managed – including employee share schemes, insurance administration and negotiation of contracts. Other priority areas include risk management, property administration and the organisation and interpretation of financial accounts.

Company Secretaries are the company’s named representative on legal documents, and it is their responsibility to ensure that the company and its directors operate within the law.


Chartered Secretaries are in demand for their range of skills, knowledge, work experience and values (especially integrity, professional discipline and the willingness to maintain knowledge currency through continuing professional development).

Southern Africa is in a period of dynamic change and growth and opportunities in the rest of Africa and Asia become more apparent every day. In this climate, qualified and experienced Chartered Secretaries are in very short supply. Chartered Secretaries command excellent salaries, but the key to getting these top jobs is the appropriate work experience and the maintenance of records of personal integrity and ability through membership of the Institute.

Membership is vital as it provides the proof of integrity and personal good standing that the modern employer demands – a portfolio of work evidence, supported by a record of unbroken membership, provides a job applicant with the edge that is needed in any competitive environment. Membership provides a record of accountability, which is priceless if you are working in the modern Corporate Governance environment. No other degree or academic qualification can perform the same accountability function as a professional relationship with an international, prestigious professional body such as Chartered Secretaries International.

Course Outline

The course is structured around four programmes, and each serves as an independent qualification. It is a tough and rigorous course, preparing students for the demanding career of a Chartered Secretary.

The CSSA programmes are registered as professional qualifications on the NQF as follows:


  • Communications
  • Financial Accounting 1
  • Economics
  • General Principles of Commercial Law


  • Management Information Systems

  • Management Principles

  • Taxation
  • Financial Accounting 2
  • Advanced Commercial Law


  • Financial Accounting 3
  • Strategic and Operations Management/ Auditing
    and Management (optional)
  • Cost and Management Accounting
  • Corporate Law

Our life-long career support package will help ensure that you become a highly qualified specialist – whether in the public, private or non-profit sectors.

CSSA Accreditation

The school is accredited by the Chartered Secretaries Southern Africa (CSSA) to provide training for the CSSA programme. CSSA is the only body dedicated to the advancement and recognition of professional administration. The Company Secretary is qualified by examination and membership of CSSA. Only a person thus qualified is entitled to be designated a “Chartered Secretary”.

Study options

Part-time: One year 

Procedure towards competency

  • Facilitated training by qualified and experienced professionals, with continuous, in-house assessments throughout the programme to monitor each student’s progress (extra assistance is given as needed).
  • Students are examined and finally assessed by CSSA – the examining body for this course.
  • CSSA examinations are written in May and October each year.


Requirements for qualification:

  • Examined and assessed by CSSA.
  • Be a member of CSSA.
  • All fees must be paid up.


Senior Certificate or IBS NQF Level 4 or equivalent qualification with English and a numeracy subject (e.g. Mathematics, accountancy or science) – D symbol on Standard Grade or E symbol on Higher Grade.

Mature entry: Subject to approval. Applicants who have not fully satisfied the above requirements may apply for entrance if they are at least 23 years of age and have obtained a qualification comparable with those mentioned above or have satisfied a substantial part of the normal educational requirements i.e. if they have passed 4 modules at Grade 12 level, or Senior Certificate or GCE “O” Level. The four modules must include:

  • One of either Mathematics, Accountancy, Physics, Chemistry or a Physical Science subject.
  • The remaining two modules must be of either an academic or commercial nature.


For more information and assistance with fees & application forms please contact the Student Enrolment Officer at the campus you wish to study at. The course is offered at the following campuses: Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria.

Let us help you qualify as an internationally recognised, CSSA accredited Chartered Secretary (or specialise as an Accountant, Accounting Officer, Administrator or Manager). Become a vital asset as a key adviser, communicator and administrator in the governance, ethics, accountability and good practice of your chosen organisation.