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The second step

18 July 2016

Chartered status − The second step

Chartered status can open up new possibilities in your career

As an ICSA graduate, people will already recognise that you are a highly skilled individual who can function across a wide range of areas; whether it be in law, finance, strategy, governance and, of course, company secretarial. However, by upgrading your membership to be an Associate and gaining chartered status – and in doing so, the post-nominals ACIS − you can showcase yourself as someone who is serious about their career and who has a proven high level of work experience in the company secretarial environment.

Chartered status

Chartered members are also required to complete 20 hours CPD. This gives employers peace of mind that their knowledge will be up-to-date and relevant.

Job vacancies often state that the candidate must be a member of ICSA – this means a chartered member. We are also seeing an increase in the number of job advertisements not just asking for a qualified company secretary but stating that holders of ACIS will be held in high regard. In other words, you may stand a better chance of landing your dream job if you hold chartered status.

Being chartered also means you can attend and vote at any general meetings or the AGM, vote to elect council members, and apply to become a member of the Public Practice Scheme.

The requirements

Candidates must have a minimum of six years relevant experience in company secretarial and legal work, corporate governance, general management and administration, pensions, insurance, information systems management, committee administration and accounting and/or financial management. The experience can be in any or all of these areas.

The required six years’ experience may be reduced by up to three years if you also hold other relevant qualifications.


Candidates need to complete and submit the following documentation to be considered for chartered membership:

  • Completed ICSA Associateship application form 
  • CV of full employment/education history, which must clearly detail responsibilities and the dates, months and years of each appointment. We need a full work history from the date of finishing school – do not leave any gaps
  • Optional supporting evidence/documentation 
  • Upgrade fee − a list of fees can be found on our website.

One of the most common mistakes when submitting an application is that the candidate has missing gaps in their career history. We do require a full CV which shows your full working history since finishing school; this includes filling in any time taken out for gap years, career breaks and voluntary work. Even if you just took a month out from working or studying, we need to know.

Other common mistakes include forgetting to get the required signatures on the form and even forgetting to sign the application form yourself, as well as sending in a CV but not having your employment certified.

This is the second step up your career ladder, the first being attaining ICSA Graduate status. The third step is to achieve Fellow membership of ICSA.


I am being asked to answer three questions confirming I am a fit and proper person, what does this mean?

The term ‘fit and proper’ contained in our byelaws 4 and 6 relates directly to the character of an applicant and includes the concepts of honesty, solvency and competence.

Must I gather referee signatures for all my working career?

No – if the required working period has been reduced due to relevant further education, only the years required to make up the total of six years require a referee’s signature. For example, if your relevant degree took three years to complete, you will only be required to attain signatures for three years relevant work experience.

What is the alternative to getting my work experience certified?

If you prefer, you may forward original reference letters from employers. The letters must show the position(s) held and date, month and year of starting and finishing the appointment(s). A letter offering you but not confirming acceptance of an appointment will not suffice for this purpose.

Who can sign my form of recommendation?

Any person of professional status, for example another ICSA Associate or Fellow member, a lawyer or an accountant. Both signatories must have known the applicant for at least one year.

The professional person signing my application is a relative or partner, is this acceptable?

The relationship must be declared on the application form. We will accept recommendations from a relative or partner of the applicant where that relation is an Associate or Fellow of ICSA. We will also accept the recommendation if the applicant is directly employed by or reports to that relative or partner.

Any personal relationships must be declared in all circumstances by indicating ‘yes’ on the application form.

I am/or have been working part time in a relevant role, can I apply for Associateship?

Yes you can − the number of hours you have worked part time will be calculated and added towards the number of years required. This must total over the period to meet the minimum requirement of three or six years.

When do I need to submit my application?

Applications must be received no later than one month prior to a meeting of the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and Associated Territories (UKRIAT) Committee. Dates are published on our website.

How long will it take for my application to be approved?

The time it takes all depends on when your application was received. All applications must be approved by the UKRIAT Committee − they meet four times a year, usually in April, July, October and December.

Need help?

If you need help or advice on any part of taking the step to chartered status, contact our members and students team at membersupport@icsa.org.uk or call on 020 7580 4741.

Theresa Minnie is Head of Membership and Outreach at ICSA: The Governance Institute

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