Let’s see if you’re using the right corporate title for your business.
There’s no problem in aiming high in anything you do, especially as an entrepreneur. However, it’s also necessary that while we aim high, we do it right. I have heard people give themselves “big titles” when they’re actually ignorant of the meaning and authority those titles carry.
Many of you reading this will be surprised that the corporate titles we use for our businesses are regulated and come with some authority and structure which we don’t actually have. Oh! Yeah, they’re regulated just like the business activities we carry out. I also know some use these titles with actually no legally registered business.
You may not be punished or held responsible for using this corporate titles, but professionally, it may not be good for your personal or business’ profile. Just imagine you telling a potential partner “I am CEO of XYZ” and then the person later on discovers your business is not even registered.
You may have a registered business but using the wrong title. It sure should be interesting, right? Don’t hold me responsible for it, please.
Let’s learn something new today – in Cameroon, corporate titles are not just titles, but tell the business type you have legally registered and the authority you have. The rules have been put in place by the Foundation for a Unified Business Law in Africa, FUBLA (OHADA) Let’s see what the FUBLA has for us when it comes to business structures and their corporate titles the managers have to use.
In Cameroon, corporate titles depend on the legal structure and are tied with specific responsibilities and accountability. Each title is associated with a role in the business structure. In order for you to know which job title you have to use, you need to first know the legal structure of your business as well as the responsibilities that are associated with the said title.
Below are some business structures, their corporate titles and functions:
The manager carries out all managerial duties in the partnership’s interest. In case there are many managers, each of them will have the same powers as the sole manager. It is worthy to note that a partnership can appoint several managers who can be partners or not.
Manager (Gérant in French) – Just like the manager or managers of a general partnership, that of a sole proprietor business carries out all managerial duties in the company’s interest. As the owner of the business, you automatically have the title of a manager because decisions are taken by you.
That doesn’t mean you cannot appoint a manager to run activities in a sole proprietorship. However, since the business license carries your name as the owner, legally, you become the sole manager of the business.
Sole proprietors legally carry out all decisions on the day-to-day administration and management of the business. See the differences between a sole-proprietorship and a limited company. Check out this if you want to register a business entity in Cameroon.
Manager (Gérant in French) – A private limited company can be managed by one or more people (natural persons) who may be members of the shareholding or not. These managers are appointed by the members found in the articles of association.
The manager in a private limited company performs all managerial duties that may be of interest to the company. If they are many managers, they will hold separately the powers vested upon them under the article of association.
(S)he has the broadest authority to act in every circumstance on behalf of the company when dealing with third parties. However, this should be subject to the powers provided for in the FUBLA Uniform Act.
In this case, the legal corporate title you have to use as the head of a private limited company, partnership or sole proprietor business is a Manager. All those using titles like Managing Directors, CEOs, PDGs, Director General, General Manager in these business structures are just usurping them.
Public limited liability companies have two management structures of which the owners have to choose one according to the Uniform Act. Check out the differences between a public and a private limited company.
This type is managed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chairman of the Board of Directors and General Manager. In this setting, the Board of Directors (BOD) may appoint a CEO who must come from among its members and which must be a natural person.
In certain countries, the equivalent corporate title of a CEO is the Managing Director or President Directeur Général. This means you can use this equivalent titles if you are the most senior executive of a public limited company with board of directors.
It should be noted that the Board of Directors may also appoint others to assist the general manager as deputy general managers.
The chairman of the board of directors and general manager is what is commonly used in Cameroon especially with para-public corporations or companies that the government is a shareholder. Other names that can be used for the title of General Manager include Managing Director, Director General, or Directeur Général.
A public limited company that has less than or equal to three (3) shareholders may choose not to have a board of directors. In this case they may appoint a General Director (General Manager, Directeur Général).
A public limited company may at any time decide to change its daily management and administration structure as it deems necessary. Such a decision should be taken during an extraordinary general meeting that will amend the articles of association.
In business, having the correct corporate title is very important especially when dealing with a third party. Imagine you telling someone who knows these titles that you are the CEO of your company. The person immediately knows you own a public limited company meanwhile you may be running a sole proprietor business or may not have a legally registered business.
Titles come with authority and responsibilities to bind a business. Once you start to misuse corporate titles, you send a false image or message about your business structure, who you are and the responsibilities you have.
We are at your disposal if you need advise to choose the right business structure for your activity. We also offer company creation or business registration services in Cameroon. Our experts can help coach you on which business structure will be best for the activity you want to carry out.
You can get in touch now!
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This content has been prepared for information purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, accounting or legal advice. You need to consult your own tax, accounting or legal advisors before engaging in any transaction.