What actions need to be taken after a company registration in Singapore?
After successfully registering a Singapore company, it’s essential to take specific actions to ensure that your business operates smoothly and meets legal requirements. In this article, we’ll provide you with an in-depth guide on what actions to take after a Singapore company registration.
1. Understanding Business Compliance in Singapore
Starting a business in Singapore is relatively easy, but it’s essential to ensure that your business is compliant with local laws and regulations. In this section, we’ll discuss some key aspects of business compliance in Singapore.
- Appointment of Company Secretary: Under the Singapore Companies Act, all Singapore companies are required to appoint a company secretary within six months of incorporation. The company secretary is responsible for ensuring that the company complies with its legal obligations and for maintaining the company’s records and registers.
- The company secretary must be a natural person who is ordinarily a resident of Singapore. If the company has only one director, the director cannot be the company secretary. It’s also possible to engage the services of a professional corporate services provider to act as the company secretary.
- Business Registration Number: Every company registered in Singapore is assigned a unique Business Registration Number (BRN) by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). The BRN is used to identify the company for all official purposes, such as filing annual returns and tax returns.
- It’s important to ensure that your company’s BRN is correctly stated in all official documents and correspondence. Failure to do so may result in delays or penalties.
2. Obtain Business Licenses and Permits
Depending on the nature of your business activities, you may need to obtain one or more business licenses or permits from the relevant government agencies. Some examples of businesses that require licenses or permits include:
- Restaurants and food establishments (NEA food establishment license)
- Construction companies (BCA contractor license)
- Moneylenders (MinLaw moneylender license)
- Employment agencies (MOM employment agency license)
It’s important to check with the relevant government agencies to determine whether your business requires any licenses or permits. Failure to obtain the necessary licenses or permits may result in fines or even the closure of your business.
3. Goods and Services Tax (GST) Registration
If your company’s annual turnover exceeds SGD 1 million, you must register for Goods and Services Tax (GST). GST is a tax on the supply of goods and services in Singapore and is currently set at 7%.
GST-registered companies must charge GST on their sales and can claim back GST paid on their purchases. It’s important to keep accurate records of all GST transactions to ensure compliance with GST regulations.
4. Opening a Corporate Bank Account
Once your Singapore company is registered, opening a corporate bank account is important. In this section, we’ll discuss the steps involved in opening a corporate bank account in Singapore.
Choosing the Right Bank
There are several local and international banks in Singapore that offer corporate banking services. When choosing a bank, consider factors such as:
- Fees and charges: Different banks may have different fees and charges for corporate banking services, such as account maintenance fees, transaction fees, and foreign exchange fees.
- Services offered: Consider the types of services that the bank offers, such as online banking, mobile banking, and trade finance services.
- Reputation: It’s important to choose a bank with a good reputation and track record in Singapore.
- Relationship manager: Consider the quality of the relationship manager assigned to your account. A good relationship manager can provide valuable advice and assistance with your business banking needs.
Required Documents for Account Opening
- To open a corporate bank account in Singapore, you’ll typically need to provide the following documents:
- Certificate of incorporation: Business profile from the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). Board resolution authorizing the opening of the account and designating the signatories. Passport copies and proof of residential address for all authorized signatories and beneficial owners
- Proof of business address: Business plan and financial statements (for new businesses). The specific documents required may vary depending on the bank and the nature of your business.
Advantages of a Corporate Bank Account
There are several advantages to having a corporate bank account in Singapore, including:
- Separation of personal and business finances: A corporate bank account allows you to keep your personal finances separate from your business finances, making it easier to track your business transactions and maintain accurate accounting records.
- Professionalism: Having a corporate bank account can give your business a more professional image and help build trust with customers and suppliers.
- Access to financing: With a good banking relationship, your business may be eligible for financing options such as loans, credit lines, and trade finance facilities.
- International transactions: A corporate bank account allows you to conduct international transactions in different currencies and may offer better exchange rates and lower fees compared to personal bank accounts.
5. Hiring an Accountant
Hiring a qualified accountant can help ensure that your business complies with financial regulations and keeps accurate records. When looking for an accountant, consider the following factors:
- Qualifications: Look for an accountant who is qualified and experienced in Singaporean accounting practices.
- Industry experience: Consider an accountant who has experience in your industry as they may have a better understanding of your business and its specific accounting needs.
- Fees: Different accountants may charge different fees, so it’s important to consider your budget when choosing an accountant.
- Communication skills: Choose an accountant who communicates effectively and can explain financial information in a way that you can understand.
6. Hire Employees
If you plan to hire employees, you’ll need to comply with Singapore’s employment laws and regulations. Some of the key requirements include:
- Providing employees with written employment contracts
- Complying with the minimum employment standards, such as the minimum wage and working hours
- Registering your employees for CPF contributions and work injury compensation insurance
7. Set Up Accounting and Bookkeeping Systems
Proper record-keeping is essential for financial reporting, tax compliance, and business decision-making. It involves maintaining accurate records of all financial transactions, such as sales, purchases, and expenses. By keeping good records, you can:
- Monitor your business’s financial health: Good record-keeping allows you to track your income and expenses, and identify areas where you can reduce costs or increase revenue.
- Make informed business decisions: Accurate financial records can help you make informed decisions about your business’s future, such as whether to expand or reduce operations.
- Comply with tax regulations: Good record-keeping is essential for filing accurate tax returns and complying with tax regulations in Singapore.
8. Protecting Intellectual Property Rights
Intellectual property (IP) is a valuable asset for businesses and protecting it is crucial for long-term success.
Importance of Intellectual Property Protection
- Economic benefits: IP protection encourages innovation and creativity, which can lead to economic growth and job creation.
- Competitive advantage: IP protection can give businesses a competitive advantage by preventing others from using their ideas or inventions without permission.
- Brand recognition: Protecting your company’s trademarks can help build brand recognition and customer loyalty.
- Legal protection: Registered IP rights provide legal protection against infringement and allow businesses to take legal action against those who use their IP without permission.
Types of IP rights
In Singapore, businesses can register for several types of IP rights, including trademarks, patents, and copyrights.
- Trademarks: Trademarks are used to distinguish a business’s products or services from those of its competitors. A trademark can be a word, phrase, symbol, or design, and it must be distinctive to be eligible for registration.
- Patents: Patents protect inventions, such as new products or processes, by giving the inventor exclusive rights to use, manufacture, and sell the invention for a certain period of time.
- Copyrights: Copyrights protect original works of authorship, such as books, music, and software. Copyright protection gives the owner exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, and display the work.
Registration Process and Duration
To register for IP rights in Singapore, businesses must submit an application to the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) and pay a registration fee. The duration of IP protection varies depending on the type of IP right:
- Trademarks: Trademarks can be registered for 10 years and can be renewed indefinitely.
- Patents: Patents are granted for 20 years from the date of application.
- Copyrights: Copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years.
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