Corporate governance is the practices and principles that guide a business and ensures its accountability to its stakeholders. It is a set of processes that affects how a company is operated, regulated and controlled, and good corporate governance adheres to ethical standards, best practices and relevant laws to protect shareholders’ interests. Corporate governance professionals typically are employed by large companies.
What Is Corporate Governance?
According to BusinessDictionary.com, corporate governance is “…the framework of rules and practices by which a board of directors ensures accountability, fairness, and transparency in the firm's relationship with its all stakeholders.” The framework includes distribution of rights, responsibilities and rewards, and procedures for reconciling conflicting interests, proper supervision, control and information flow. Stakeholders may include shareholders, board of directors, management, employees, customers and the community.
Specific job duties may vary by position type, however typical corporate governance job functions include maintaining and updating the governance framework, monitoring compliance with requirements in framework, coordinating governance committee and board member meetings, monitoring certain business processes, establishing and maintaining a record of operational procedures manuals, and analyzing monthly reports. Another key component typically includes facilitating the flow of information. This position needs to provide key information to managers, board members and committees. Liaising with board members and fulfilling their requests for information also may play a large role.
While some employers may only require a bachelor’s degree, others may seek a law or advanced business degree. Three to five years of legal, governance or business experience is typically sought. Furthermore, previous experience working with a board of directors and strong Microsoft Office skills may also be required.
In addition to education and previous work experience, there are a number of personal attributes employers may seek. These include the ability to maintain confidentiality, being a detail-oriented, organized, critical thinker, and strong analytical skills. Furthermore, this position is required to work with a variety of people from executives to board members to external parties. As such, it is important to have strong communication and interpersonal skills, as well as the ability to forge and maintain relationships.
As of July 2010, Indeed.com reports the following average salaries for corporate governance positions as follows: corporate governance analyst $88,000, corporate governance specialist $102,000, and corporate governance manager $96,000.