Important checklist after setting up company in Singapore
Last updated on 3 August 2021
Now that you have incorporated your company in Singapore, while there are many things to take care of as a business owner. There are many things to take care of as an entrepreneur, not all of them have to be difficult. We have put together a checklist to assist you to get things organised or serve as a reminder even if you are a seasoned business owner.
APPOINTING A COMPANY SECRETARY
Every company is required to appoint a local company secretary, whose primary role is to keep the company in compliance with reporting obligations under Singapore law. In larger companies, this may be a full-time position within the company. For smaller companies, you may appoint a provider of corporate secretarial services so that you and your team can focus on growing your business. Almost all companies that provide incorporation services in Singapore will be able to provide you with corporate secretarial services.
CORPORATE ACCESS (CORPPASS)
All Singapore registered Company is compulsory to register for CorpPass. CorpPass is a corporate digital identity for Company to perform online transactions with government agencies.
APPOINTMENT OF AUDITOR
Every company needs to appoint auditor if it does not meet at least 2 of the following 3 criteria:
- total annual revenue <=S$10M
- total assets <=S$10M
- number of employees <=50 Companies with corporate shareholders will be assessed at group level for audit requirements.
DATA PROTECTION OFFICER
All companies are required to appoint at least one Data Protection Officer (DPO), to be responsible for ensuring that the company complies with the Personal Date Protection Act (PDPA).
OPENING OF CORPORATE BANK ACCOUNT
After incorporation, you may choose any of the local or Singapore-based foreign banks to open a corporate bank account with. For corporate due diligence purposes, most banks require account signatories and directors to be physically present in Singapore to complete all the paperwork necessary.
The time taken to open a bank account differs from bank to bank as each have their own procedures to follow. However, do note that all banks are required by law to conduct stringent checks and investigations on potential clients before the bank account can be opened. Do factor these points in and take note of the time requirements when you are making plans to set up your local corporate accounts, which would be essential for transactions with local authorities, such as GIRO set up for GST.
SETTING UP ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE
Every business needs to keep track of its profit and loss position, health of cash flow and revenue projection. Cloud accounting software, such as Xero, has transformed the conventional bookkeeping function from a department to provide historical reports, to an active platform capable of being integrated with your business partners to provide real-time information such as bank balances. You may wish to consider reaching out to specialists on cloud accounting services whom will be able to advise you on how the cloud accounting software is able to make your operational process seamless and help you with your business decisions.
GOODS AND SERVICES TAX (GST) REGISTRATION COMPLIANCE
In Singapore, all companies with an annual turnover exceeding S$1 million are required to register for GST. Companies under this threshold may choose to voluntarily register themselves for GST. All GST-registered entities are required to file GST returns on a monthly or quarterly basis.
The current GST rate in Singapore is 7 per cent. As the registration process may be quite confusing, you may wish to consider engaging a company providing accounting services in Singapore to assist you in the registration and management of this process
ACCOUNTING STANDARDS COMPLIANCE
All financial statements of Singapore-registered companies are required to be prepared in accordance to Financial Reporting Standard (FRS) issued by the Accounting Standards Council, Singapore.
Accounting records kept by companies need to detail the transactions and financial position of the company, to facilitate the preparation of the financial statements. Submission to ACRA are required to be filed in XBRL format, except for those exempted under the Companies Act.
You may choose to do your bookkeeping in-house or engage a company to handle bookkeeping services Singapore for you.
Depending on your company’s requirements, you may need to hire employees for various functions. Do take note that you are required to comply with the hiring conditions and responsibilities under the Employment Act. These include the payment of Central Provident Fund (CPF) and Skills Development Levy (SDL) for Singapore citizens and permanent resident employees. If you are hiring foreigners, you will need to apply for work passes for them to work in Singapore.
If you find negotiating the various legislative requirements challenging, you may wish to engage a company that provides HR and Payroll services or immigration services Singapore.
BUSINESS LICENCES AND CUSTOM REGISTRATION
Companies that engage in importing, exporting and trans-shipment activities are required to register with Singapore Customs. Without a Customs Account, you will not be able to engage in these activities.
Depending on the nature of your business and the good/services you trade in, you may also be required to apply for other business licences in Singapore required by the authorities such as the Health Sciences Authority.
In today’s economy, having a digital presence may arguably be more important than a physical presence. To have a website of your own, which is almost expected today, you will need to register a domain name and choose a suitable hosting plan. For domains ending with .sg, you will need to register your domain with an approved domain registrar in Singapore.
Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or LinkedIn. By investing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and building a content strategy/plan enables your digital real estates to be found and be present in this competitive digital first landscape. Such platforms are widely used for business development, marketing and client engagement today.
While the options seem endless, the platforms you choose will depend on the nature of your business, the profile of your client base and the type of marketing efforts you are looking to undertake.
GOVERNMENT FUNDING AND ASSISTANCE PROGRAMMES FOR SMEs
There are various grants and schemes that newly incorporated companies in Singapore can enjoy. The Singapore government has also implemented many schemes to assist companies to improve productivity, embrace the use of technology, staff training and capital expenditure in the form of loans and grants.
Consider engaging a company that provides business advisory services to explore your options for grants assistance.