This article is written by Anshika Agarwal, pursuing B.A. LLB from Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies, GGSIPU, New Delhi. The article aims to bring out all the possible perspectives associated with the majestic combination of commerce and law. The author by the way of this article, sets forth the nexus between the two fields and how this combination can be put into use to avail maximum advantage in a professional zone.
The concept of law is not new to Indian society. From prevailing in the form of religious norms in ancient India to the current constitutional and legal system, the law has evolved. This evolution is in response to the changing needs of society. For instance, homosexuality that was an offence under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code before 2018, is now decriminalised by the Supreme Court in the judgement of Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India.
Owing to the changing paradigms and the influence from the West, the legal system has adapted itself, catering to the modern requirements of the society. Newer and improved perspectives, visions and disciplines have broadened the scope of law, giving it an interdisciplinary approach. Incorporation of social, political, economical and commercial aspects have led to a better understanding of the law and its application. This has added dimensions to the legal profession making it multifaceted.
Today, its prevalence can be seen in nearly every field be it sports, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, environment, science, commerce, business studies or accounts management. Law finds its mention almost everywhere.
The legal industry has witnessed a recent boom with respect to the corporate and business sector, creating a plethora of opportunities for young minds. An amalgamation of law and commerce has emerged out to be one of the most lucrative spheres, opening the gateway to professions like that of Chartered Accountant and Company Secretary for the budding generation.
Relationship between commerce and law
Commerce refers to the sale and purchase of the goods between nations and business entities. It includes management of all such business activities associated with the exchange of goods. The diversified nature of the field extends to include accountancy, economics, financial and strategic management, business laws and general studies.
The business entities, corporate houses and firms forming a stepping stone to commerce, require efficient governance too. The matters related to setting up and closure of an entity, protection of consumers’ interests, property issues, foreign direct investments, taxation and many more and the disputes arising out of them need to be addressed. This is where the need of law creeps in.
Law provides a comprehensive set of policies, principles, methods and procedures defining the obligations and the duties to be complied with while practising these businesses. This ensures the prevalence of a transparent and economically balanced system, wherein the interests of stakeholders, proprietors, owners and customers are guarded. However, such governance is inevitable without prior background knowledge in these areas.
An understanding of the commercial and business concepts is essential for the formulation, implementation and interpretation of laws. For instance, in order to introduce GST back in 2016, the broader aspects of the taxation laws, international and national economy and trade policies were taken into account to analyse the drawbacks in the old taxation regime. It was through a series of diligent researches and comparative studies that the solutions to mend those defaults were reached. The acute understanding and in-depth knowledge in areas like taxation, public relations and accountancy led the policymakers to formulate a unified taxation scheme for the country.
Background knowledge of commerce subjects smoothens the practical application of law. The professions like Chartered Accountants, Company Secretaries and legal practitioners need to have a command over the aspects of company law, security law, accountancy and rules and laws related to taxation to serve their clients regarding the same. Thus, law and commerce are closely connected and go hand in hand.
Law and commerce complementing each other
Increasing competition demands extraordinary efforts. Law in itself, is a field of excellence, serving the young generation with a pool of opportunities. But when merged with commerce, the worth of the course and the opportunities available multiplies. An individual can either be a legal practitioner with the knowledge of commerce giving him an edge over the civil and corporate cases or can be employed under a firm as a Company Secretary or a Chartered Accountant. The option of setting up a firm also stands open once the individual has gathered enough experience for the same.
Let us view the different career options made available to us by this combination:
A Company Secretary is a legal expert having specialised knowledge in financial management, security laws, capital management, auditing and accounting. Section 2(24) of the Companies Act 2013 provides for the provision of Company Secretary appointed by the company. Section 2(1)(c) of the Company Secretaries Act 1980 defines it as “a person who is a member of the Institute”, wherein “institute” refers to the Institute of Company Secretary of India established under this Act.
The general affairs of the Institute are managed by a Council constituted for this purpose. The Council holds the authority under Section 15 of the Act to conduct examinations, determine fees for the enrollment of the students, prescribe the syllabus and the academic courses and organise training programmes for the enrolled students. It regulates the functioning of the Institute and its members and frames the necessary guidelines for the grant of certificates of practice. The institute under the supervision of the Council organises the examination and the training programmes, collects fees, updates and maintains the library and the course books.
C.S. L.L.B. career prospects
The CS degree in itself a full-fledged career choice. When combined with law, the dual degree of CS + LLB opens an ocean of opportunities for the individuals. The position of a Company Secretary is viewed as the highest in the firm after CEO, MD and other directors. Its chief role is to manage the company’s affairs and comply with statutory and regulatory procedures. Being a Company Secretary, a person functions to ensure the legal and secretarial governance, audit the company records and account books, plan projects and carry out the company affairs in accordance with the statutory compliances.
The prospects, however, broaden when the course is amalgamated with the LLB degree. A person can work as an in house legal consultant and advisor. He/she can even litigate and represent the firm of which he/she is an employee. The firms and the companies are thus at an advantage that instead of hiring two professionals they have to hire and pay for one post. A dual-purpose is hence served with the combined degree of law and Company Secretary.
The Institute conducts placement drives and offers its members with on-campus placement opportunities from some of the big corporate houses and legal firms. The firms are usually in the quest of individuals bearing the dual degree. The starting packages usually differ from firm to firm but there is no capping limit for the same. The course of CS not only provides extra skills in managing company affairs but also embellishes law CV giving an individual an edge over his / her peers.
How to get there
Managing the dual degree becomes a question of concern for the law students. Coping up with the academics and extracurricular activities like mooting, writing research papers and internships along with a full-fledged course of CS may get difficult. But one thing should always be remembered that the art lies in time management and the success lies in hard work. A sheer determination and dedication towards the same can get one through this.
People usually find it convenient to begin with the preparation for CS in the initial years of the law school so that they are done away with the course at the earliest. However, it may also be pursued after the completion of the law degree. There is no age limitation associated with the degree.
CS course details
The Course comprises three stages namely CSEET, Executive and Professional. The first stage is a computer-based entrance test named CSEET (Company Secretary Entrance Executive Test) replacing the earlier conducted CS Foundation paper. The notification regarding the same was released in February 2020 by the Institute.
The Institute via this notification has come up with some of the important changes with respect to the eligibility criteria for the entrance test. It has now mandated the entrance for postgraduates and graduates that were earlier exempted from giving Foundation paper. The students who have passed or are appearing 10+2 can enrol for the test.
The revised syllabus includes subjects:
- Business Communication
- Legal Aptitude and Logical Reasoning
- Economics and Business Environment
- Current Affairs
The Institute has further added a 15 marks communication test named Viva Voice to assess the presentation and communication skills of the candidates.
The other details and the registration for the course can be made herein.
The career option of a Chartered Accountant, one of the highest-grossing professions, is yet another beautiful epitome of this combination. The course finds its roots in the amalgamation of law and commerce, including subjects like accounting, auditing, business economics, commercial knowledge and business laws.
The degree of a CA being internationally acclaimed opens a gateway of multiple opportunities both at a national and an international level. An individual can work as a tax accountant, auditor, management accountant, financial accountant or a budget analyst in the government or private sector. The option of setting up an individual firm and representing the clients in their legal matters in the Company Law Tribunals also stands open.
The horizon broadens when the CA degree is complemented with the law degree. An individual can manage even the legal affairs of its clients in addition to financial affairs. The potential degree of LLB conferred by the Bar Council of India, enables individuals to represent in the Court of Law. Thus, with this dual degree, an individual can represent its clients even in High Courts and Supreme Court.
CA course details
The Course comprises an entrance exam called CPT that needs to be cleared in order to be eligible for the further exams. The entrance is followed by an Intermediate exam consisting of two groups. It is after clearing both the groups a person is entitled to the final degree. The students, having completed their graduation can directly enrol themselves for the Intermediate exam.
The further details of the course can be accessed through the official website of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
The interdisciplinary approach of law makes it flexible, adding a plethora of dimensions to it. Commerce being one such dimension, enhances the perspectives of legal studies. The much talked about area of business laws and corporate studies are one such perspective. The combination has emerged to be one of the most lucrative spheres, lately. It opens a gateway of a multitude of professions and opportunities like that of Company Secretary and Chartered Accountant. Big corporate houses have always been seen looking for professional acing in areas of accounts management and legal knowledge to manage their legal issues.
In the world of increasing competition, this trend of dual degrees not only adds to the worth of our Curriculum Vitae but also play an important role in enhancing the corporal skills of an individual. It may get hard and may seem tiring but in the end, it will be all worth the efforts. However, it must be essentially noted that pursuing dual degrees without passion would lead nowhere. Students should not opt these degrees merely because their peers are pursuing the same. The passion and an undying zeal should be an underlying force behind the one’s decision to pursue this combination.
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