Setting up of all businesses is carried out through Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). In Singapore, ACRA is the national regulator of business entities and accountants.
To foster a vibrant business scene, setting up a business in Singapore is a rather straightforward affair. In a 2016 World Bank report, it was found that setting up a business in Singapore required 3 steps and a mere 2.5 days to complete. According to World Bank findings, Singapore was in the tenth place in terms of ease of starting a business among other countries globally. New Zealand was in the top spot.
3 steps to setting up a business
- Decide on your business entity
Your business could be a sole proprietorship, partnership, private limited company, limited liability partnership (LLP) or limited partnership. Each business entity has a set of different features that define it. For example, a sole proprietorship comprises just the business owner and is not a separate legal entity from the business owner. In Singapore, a private limited company is the preferred business entity.
- Register the business
All businesses must be registered with ACRA. Take for example a private limited company, setting up the business involves determining a company name that must be pre-approved by ACRA. Complying with ACRA laws, the business must comprise of at least one director and shareholder. It must also appoint a Singapore resident company secretary. Other requirements include a paid-up capital of at least $1 and a registered address. To set up a private limited company, a registration fee of $300 is also payable.
At the end of this, you should purchase an ACRA Business Profile. It will contain important information such as your registration number (UEN). This is an important step as you will require the Business Profile to set up a corporate account.
To date, Singapore does not allow foreign individuals or entities to register for a business. As such, foreigners hoping to set up a Singapore company have to engage a firm to register a business on their behalf.
- Open a corporate bank account
The final step is opening a corporate bank account to facilitate business transactions. Depending on the nature of the business and its activities, you may need to obtain certain business licenses. Example of businesses that require licenses include retail shops, educational institutions or private education businesses, F&B businesses, trading businesses, real estate agencies, travel agencies and employment agencies.
Consult now if you need assistance in setting up a local business.