The Age of Responsibility – Governance comes to the Fore

The 44th National Convention of Company Secretaries themed on “Corporate Governance”, opens day after tomorrow at Gandhinagar. Corporate Governance has been an area of focus of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India, for several years. The CS has moved from being a Compliance Professional to becoming a Governance Professional. The Companies Act 2013, and SEBI’s regulatory activities have added momentum to the Corporate Governance movement. SEBI has, with help from the CS profession, improved the environment for minority and small shareholders. It is one of the areas where India comes in the top 10 countries in the World Bank’s recent Ease of Doing Business study. Still, recent happenings testify to the increased focus on board governance in corporate India.

As the last few months’ and especially the last week’s events have shown, the Government of India is oriented towards citizens – each one of us – taking responsibility of their own actions ever since it came to power. That is exactly what good governance is all about. Senior and successful people – such as Directors on the Boards of large public listed companies – should set examples of responsible behaviour – not just with words, but with their actions in the management of the company’s affairs.

One pre-requisite for improved governance today is the smart use of Information Technology because of its obvious advantages in being quick, efficient and informed, available 24×7, ease of maintaining repositories and audit trails, and so on…. With this in mind, now, Indian companies are considering acquiring a software to help their Board and the CS’.

CA 2013 places the onus of compliance on the shoulders of the Board of Directors, and the Secretarial team, and asks for reporting thereon from the Secretarial Auditor. Therefore, it has become imperative for Company Secretaries to go beyond merely providing management certificates as was sufficient under the 1956 Act. Also, the Board needs to be kept regularly updated on compliance activities. Thus, for assisting the Board and the CS, it is no longer sufficient to deploy only a paperless meeting management solution. The Software needs to be sophisticated enough to provide support in two key areas:

– Tracking of Board and Committee decisions as they go from decision to implementation, with the persons responsible being monitored over the planned period
– Supply of information on Compliance activities in a manner that the Board is kept up-to-date on requirements and actual activities in response

Plus, there are many more desirable features that would aid both Directors and Secretaries, in providing support to help them work more efficiently and effectively.

It will be interesting to see how the profession is responding to this need and the options presented to it at the National Convention. Axar is participating with our Board Information System (BiS) designed to meet all the above needs. Over two years, Axar has worked with leading corporates and experts in the field, to construct BiS as a powerful solution to assist CS’ and Directors.

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