Company Incorporation in Singapore – 3 Important Steps

Company incorporation aka setting up a company in Singapore is easy and hassle free. Singapore is consistently ranked as one of the best places in the world for doing business. 

In one of Business Insider’s articles, it was stated that Singapore not only has business-friendly laws and flexible immigration policy, it also dominated the list for its simplicity regarding business tax filing. Moreover, the government offers tax exemptions to startups and has a number of grants to help them in their initial entrepreneurship journey. 

The Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) acts as the Company Registrar. It supervises the company incorporation process in Singapore. It is as per the Companies Act, Chapter 50. All compliance requirements must be met in order to set up a company successfully in Singapore.

Local and foreign business owners benefit by employing a registered filing agent to set up a business in Singapore. This rings true for many foreigners wanting to start a business in Singapore as they might be unfamiliar with the laws and regulations. 

company incorporation

Foreigners cannot register for a new company due to non citizenship and must hire a local business registration provider to help with the company incorporation process. They also need to acquire a work visa or pass to be able to work in Singapore. 

Even local entrepreneurs are advised to do the same as they might not be fully familiar with the Singapore company law and compliance requirements.

With the local business registration provider’s knowledge and experience, these professionals will direct you throughout the whole process for Singapore company incorporation, helping to save huge on valuable time and money. 

The company incorporation process can be summarized in 3 important steps:

1. Choose your business entity

ACRA allows the registration of 3 types of business, mainly Private Limited Company (Pte Ltd), Sole Proprietorship and Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). You need to decide on the type of business structure that works best for you before company incorporation. 

A simple method to decide is by how many professionals your business has. Eg. If you are the only one, a Sole Proprietorship might prove beneficial as you will be able to make all the business decisions. 

If there are 2 or more professionals (up to 20), registering for a Limited Liability Partnership would be better. However, if there are 1 to 50 individuals who own a part of the capital at limited risk, registering as a Private Limited Company would probably work the best for you.

Nowadays, many new companies register with ACRA as “private limited companies” due to its flexibility in scaling. Furthermore, shareholders are not liable for debts and losses beyond their share capital.

2. Set up your company

One important step to do before company incorporation is to have your company name approved by ACRA first. It is a simple online process and your company name is subject to the following guidelines:

  • The name cannot be identical to a current business in Singapore
  • The name must not infringe on any trademarks, free of copyright issue
  • The name cannot be obscene or vulgar
  • The name must not have been reserved by another company

Overall, these following documents are required for submission to ACRA:

  • Company name that is approved and registered with ACRA
  • A brief description of the core business activities
  • Details of the registered company address in Singapore
  • Particulars of the shareholders
  • Particulars of the directors
  • Particulars of the company secretary
  • Foreign Entrepreneurs must submit a copy of their passport and proof of overseas residential address 
  • Foreign Companies must submit Memorandum & Articles of Associations
  • Singapore Residents must submit a copy of their Singapore identity card

3. Register with ACRA and open a corporate bank account

Once the company incorporation documents have been prepared, you can officially register your company with ACRA. Only in rare cases when the company incorporation needs to be referred to a government agency for further vetting, will the process take a few weeks. 

After company incorporation, you can open a corporate bank account so that you can keep track of how much revenue comes in and how much monies are used to cover company expenditure and overhead costs etc. 

In conclusion, the whole process might seem easy but it can actually take at least 2 weeks to 3 months, depending on your business size. When you engage a local business registration provider, it not only helps to save man hours but also automates the whole process so you get to keep track of the progress real time. No information is lost in back and forth emails too. We hope this information has been useful and bon voyage to a smooth entrepreneurship!