Singapore: Very business friendly and welcoming authorithies

Singapore is a very pro business nation and government-related business processes applications for approval are very efficient, and generally available online. Laws and rules are articulated clearly and the authorities are very helpful by providing a lot of “e-guides” or “how to manuals” on their websites.


If your aim is to set up a company in Singapore, the ACRA website is a good starting point to learn everything about a company in Singapore  and what options you actually have and what the requirements are. ACRAi s actually the government  authority where you register your company. ACRA is the regulatory authority, which dcdides whether or not your company setup is approved. Generallyall businesses in Singapore must register on BizfFle. While there are some exceptions to this rule (some businesses are exempted from this rule), the fact to remember is that every business must be registered. One of the first decisions you need to make is how your business entity structure is going to look like. The following are the optionst here are to choose from:


Business (Sole partnership/proprietor)

A business refers to a sole prpprietorship registered by one business owner or a partnership formed by 2 or more partners. It is not a private limited local company (i.e. Pte Ltd). Individuals and companies are both legal entities and may set up and own a sole proprietorship or a partnership. You may choose to reserve a name for the business first,  and then register the business later or do the nname application and registration in one go.


Local Company


A local company is a business entity incorporated in Singapore. A company has the right to own property, has perpetusal succession and can sue or be sued in its own name. Companies have different set up’s and are distinguished by the company type, e.g. private company limited by shares, exempt private company, public companylimitede by shares   and upblic companylimited by guarantee.



Foreign Company


A foreign company is a company, corporation,association or any other body incorporated outside of Singapore.A foreign company may conduct business in Singapore by incorporating or regtistering as a fore9gn branch under the Companies Act The foreign company is required to hsae a registered name, tat least one local authorized representative, and a registered office in Singapore . Note 6tghatyou must apply for approval of the first.Once it’s approved by the Registrar you may proceed to incorporate the company.

Limited Partnership


A Limited Partnership (LP) is partnership of a minimum of two partners, with at least one general partner and one limited  partner, A Limited Partner  does not have a separate legal entity from the partners, i.e, it cannot sue, be sued, or own property in its own name. A General Partner is responsible for the actions of a LP and is liable for all debts and obligations of the LP.A limited partner is not liahle for the debts and obligations of the LP beyond his agreed contribution., provided he does not take part in the management of the LP.


Limited Liability Partnership


A Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) is a business vehicle that gives owners the flexibility of operating as a partnership, while having a separate legal entity like a company. The LLP has perpetual succession, which means any change in the partners of a LLP will not affect its existence, rights or liabilities.


Public Accounting Firm


A Public Accounting Firm is registered under the Accountants Act.It is set up by a public accountant gior the purpose of providing public accountancy services (audit and reporting on financial statements and performing acts that are required by law to be performed by a public accountant) .The other types of entities that public accountants can set up to provide public accountancy services are public accounting corporation and accounting limited liability partnerships


If you’re not sure which business form to choose, you can refer to the following comparison tables for more details for each type of business structure:

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When you are choosing a business structure for your business, the following factors are to be considered


The type of business structure you choose depends on your business needs, You should consider the following factors to determine the best structure for you:


  • How much capital are you prepared to invest?

  • -How many owners will there be in the business?

  • What liabilities and responsibilities are you prepared to assume?

  • What risks are you prepared to take?

  • What are the advantages and disdadvantagess of the different business entities?

  • Is the business entity easy to close?


Once you have chosen your business sstructrure, you must now reserve and register your business name. On ACRA’s website you will find e-guides and online applications for every business structure. Simply follow the steps provided online.


If you are a foreigner and wish to set up a business entity in Singapore, you will.need to 


  • Engage the services og a registered filing age (e.d. a law firm, accounting firm,  or acorporate secretarial firm to submit the online application on your behalf.

  • Employ a director, who resides in Singapore (if applicale).


To find a registered filing agent, you can simply google the term. There are plenty of them around.


As part of its pro-enterprise and one-stop business facilitation nitiative, ACRA has worked with various parties to provide iintegrated  services for newly registered

business entitiess. These business-relsated services are available via Bizfile . Some of these servicesi nclude:


Application of Licences


After successfully registering your business entity with ACRA, you may need to apply for a licence or a permit before you v=can commence business. You can apply for new licences through the GoBusiness Licensing Portal, a one-stop portal that allows business owners to applyf or multiple licences simultaneously in a simplified application and payment process. Simply select the “Self-Servivce”.


If you are planning to start a business in the food and beverage sector, GoBusiness Licensing provides a “Guided Journey Feature”


Visit the GoBusiness Licencing Portal for more information.


Start Digital Pack


SMEs that are newly incorporated can subscribe to any two digital solutions at no cost under the following categories: Accounting, HR Management System and Payroll, Digital Marketing, Digital Transactions sand Cybersecurity- for a minimum of six months, with a contract period of at least 18 months. The Start Digital Pack is a joint-iinitiative by IMDA (Infocomm Media Development Authority) and Enterprise Singapore under the SMEs Go Digital Programme.


DashBod by SMECEN


EashBod is a cloud-based integrated software that provides accounting with Statutory Reporting Features and Hujman Resources modules.With built-in regulatory compliance fratures, SMEs can easily prepare and file on time with ACRA,IRAS (Inland Revenue) and CPF (Central Provident Fund).DashBod is a PEPPOL access point and can issue Peppol invoices, the national e-invoicing framework that can increase productivity

and iimprove cash flows for SMEs.DashBod HR SMECEN, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Association of Small & Medium Enteprises (ASME).Visit the DashBod website for more information.


Activation of Customs account


ACRA has collsaborated with Singapore  Customs to make it easier for business entities that wish to engage in trading o activate thrie Customs Account. New traders can use the UEN CustomdAccounts to apply for import, export, or trans-ahipment permits or certificates through TradeNet ®.




You can register for Goods & Services Tax (GST) with the Inlsnd Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) via Bizfile.In most cases, registering for GST is compulsoryn if the turnover of an entity exceeds S$ 1 million for a continuouos period of 12 months OR when the persono perating the business reasonably expects the turnover to exceed S$1 million fpr the next 12 months.


Registration of Trademark

You can register for a trade mark with the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) via Bizfile.. A trade mark is a sign that you can use to distinguish your business’ goods and services from those of other traders.


Application of Central Provident Fund Submission Number


If you intent to hire employees you will require a CPF Submission Number(CSN) to make monthly CPF contributions for tyour staff. You can apply for a CSN with the CPF Board via BizFile..


Subscription to GeBIZ alerts


You can sign up for the GeBIZ alertsvia BizFileGeBIZ is an e-service offered by Enterprise Singapore, which updates subscribers on the latest government procurement oopportunities posted on the Government Electronic Portal (GeBIZ), based on their preferences.



Subscription to ZSMEPortal Newsletter


The SME Portal is the first stop for Singapore SME owners and saspiring entrepreneurs for information, tools and services that can help them build sustainahle and competitive businesses. It is a multi-agency initiative managed by Enterprise Singapotre.You can subscribe to the SME Portal Newsletter via BizFile to get updates on the latest business insights.

Applying for forWork Injury Compensation Insurance


The Work Injury Compensation Act administered by the Ministry of Manpower rewwquires all employers tp cover Work Injury Compensation Insurance (WICI)for all their local or foreign employees, who are under a contract of service or acontract of apprenticeship, regardless of salary, age, or nationality. You can choose to apply for WICI, administered by NTUC Income CVO-operative via BizFile.


Domain name reservation


Following the registration of a new business entity, you can reserve up to five preferred domain names (ending with or ag.) with the Singapore Network Information Centre(SGNIZC) via BizFile. You will be notified immediately if the reserved names are available for registration.

Opening a corporate bank account


You can apply for a corporate bank account with Bank of China, DBS Bank, Maybank, OCBC Bank State Bank of India or UOB via BizFilei mmediately after registration.


I’m sure reading through all this you had your private 

‘wow moment” when realizing just how much pro business and how efficient and helpful the Singapore Government is. 


I trust this information is helpful and may help one or another new business to set foot in beautiful Singapore.