Asia’s center of commerce, Singapore, welcomes individuals or groups who wish to start their businesses in this Southeast Asian country. As in any country, Singapore imposes clear-cut rules for starting businesses that have to be complied with strictly, otherwise individuals or groups will be denied registration and cannot enjoy the benefits of Singapore’s vibrant economy.
The first stop of any individual or entity is the Singapore government’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority or ACRA. Familiarising with ACRA’s functions and services beforehand will save aspiring business owners time and effort in having their company registered.
Business Registration Through ACRA
ACRA is the primary body of the government in charge of business registration. This is where businesses file for a business name and submit documents for incorporation, sole proprietorship, or partnership.
ACRA has also defined who needs to register a business: anyone who conducts “activity that is carried out on a continual basis for the purpose of gain, including an online business, e.g. blogshop, is required to be registered with ACRA,” the department states on its website.
ACRA has made it more convenient for aspiring business owners to submit their credentials for review. Through the online portal, BizFile, one can simply log in and submit files from any remote location without visiting the ACRA office. For those within the ACRA vicinity, however, the government body has also provided BizFile kiosks for use.
Choosing A Company Name: The First Part Of Business Registration
The first agenda of aspiring business owners in ACRA is registering their company name. The government body has come up with guidelines in creating a name for one’s business, subject to approval. Undesirable names (those that contain vulgar and offensive words) and names that are identical with any other existing business entity are prohibited, and so are certain words directed by the government to be disallowed in company names.
A name approval fee of S$15 and business registration fee of S$50 are collected for new registrations of sole proprietorships and partnerships. With the efficient bureaucracy in Singapore, processing of business registration takes as little as 15 minutes upon payment of registration fee, but in certain cases, it can take two weeks up to two months for certain businesses whose nature requires approval of other authorities (such as the Ministry of Education for private schools, etc).