Singapore is a major business hub in Southeast Asia, experiencing massive growth over the past few years. If you are looking to start your business in the region, read on for our guide to registering your business in Singapore.
Singapore is an international business hub, and although large corporations are the first thing that come to mind, the city has a thriving startup community with several avenues for support available. There are over 800 existing investors, and with over 200 incubators and accelerators, the region is uniquely positioned to actualise new ideas. To join in on the growth, here is our guide to registering your business in Singapore, including the steps to follow to become incorporated.
Select Company Name
The first step to registering your business in Singapore is getting your company name approved by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). You must choose your company name and submit an application for it via ACRA’s online business and filing portal, Bizfile. The name must not yet exist or contain prohibited words. Regulations can be found here.
When registering your company name, you must specify the activities of your business by selecting the most relevant Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) code. Once your company name is approved, you can move on to incorporate your business. This must be done within 120 days of the name approval.
Determine Company Type
There are several kinds of companies you can register in Singapore. ACRA allows the following to be registered: Private Limited Companies, Sole Proprietorships, and Limited Liability Partnerships.
The most commonly registered company is an Exempt Private Company. Some of its characteristics include that it can have a maximum of 20 shareholders, no shareholder may be a corporation, and it has share capital. Share capital refers to the amount of money that each shareholder has committed to the company, which can be issued with or without full payment. The minimum amount issued when incorporating a company is SG$1.
Decide On A Financial Year End
A company’s financial year end (FYE) must be chosen carefully. It represents the last day of its accounting period, which is the recognised interval to complete an accounting cycle. Each period provides a perspective on how profitable the company is on an ongoing basis.
Transactional records are kept over each period and reported in a financial statement. Make sure to choose the FYE carefully, because it determines when corporate filings and taxes must be paid each year.
Appoint Key Personnel
The next step of the registration process is appointing key personnel. All companies must have at least one director and a secretary. Make sure to appoint a company director, a company secretary, and an auditor, who is mandatory unless your company is exempted under the Companies Act. You must appoint an auditor within 3 months of incorporation. Some optional roles include chief executive officer and a managing director. FInd the requirements for each role here.
Before submitting your application, you will need to acquire the personal particulars and contact details of those in the appointed roles. This includes their National Registration Identity Card (NRIC), full name, nationality, contact details, and residential address.
Register Office Address
When registering your business, you must provide an office address. This is where all communications and notices to the company should be addressed to, and where your company’s records are kept.
All companies must be accessible to the public at least three hours of the working day to allow members of the public to reach out to the office if necessary, and to allow for the delivery of legal documents. The registered office address must be in Singapore, but need not be the place of operation.
If you are new to the city and looking for a vibrant community environment to start your business, take a look at the best coworking spaces in Singapore.
You may also use your home address if you are running a small business out of your home under the Home Office Scheme, though you must apply for approval when registering to incorporate your company.
Submit Company Constitution
A company constitution is a legal document that sets out the rules and regulations on how the business should be governed, spelling out the rights and responsibilities of the directors, shareholders, and company secretary. The details that must be included can be found here. A copy of the constitution, signed by shareholders, must be kept at the company’s registered address, and another must be submitted with the registration application.
Submit Application to ACRA
Now that you have compiled all the documents you need to successfully register your business with ACRA, log into BizFile with your Singpass to submit the application. Under the eServices menu, navigate to “Local Company” followed by “Start a New Local Company”. Click on “Application for New Company Name” and complete the form. You can also decide to apply for a company name and incorporate the company in one fell swoop. If you choose not to, however, you must provide the transaction number of your approved company name application to proceed with the “Incorporation of Local Company” transaction.
Once your application has been approved, BizFile will send an email to all appointed officers included in your forms to request for endorsement. This must be done within 60 days of said email.
The fees for incorporating your business in Singapore are SG$15 for the name application, and SG$300 for the company registration.
Now that you have the information to get started with registering your business Singapore, get going and perhaps check out some of Singapore’s top venture capital firms for potential funding! Become one of over 4,000 registered startups in the city, and expand your business scope.