One of the most promising economies not just in Asia but in the world is in Singapore. Despite having a fairly small land area, multitudes of investors choose to set up a business in this country because it is involved in efficient free-trade agreements and has unrelenting government support. No wonder why Singapore is regarded by most countries as an economic powerhouse.
If you want to know where to register a company in Singapore, one of the agencies you should be familiar with is the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). This government office oversees business operations in the entire country, and it is usually the first agency that aspiring entrepreneurs have to deal with. Here are some pieces of information about ACRA that are worth keeping in mind.
How ACRA Started
Prior to the establishment of ACRA, businesses in Singapore were under two separate regulatory bodies: the Registry of Companies and Businesses (RCB) and the Public Accountants’ Board (PAB). Then, on April 1 of 2004, the Accountancy and Regulatory Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Act was passed into law, merging RCB and PAB to form ACRA.
As a corporate body, ACRA is granted the functions and responsibilities, some of which are:
- Supplying the government with information regarding businesses and public accountants
- Keeping track of the business structures and documentary requirements
- The signing of necessary contracts and executive agreements
The ACRA website proudly describes its duty to “provide a trusted and vibrant environment for businesses to thrive and flourish, and contribute towards making Singapore the best place for business”.
As stated previously, all businesses need to register with ACRA for them to be considered legal. Though the process of registration may take quite some time, the good thing is that you would only need to work with ACRA mostly, freeing you from the hassle of dealing with multiple agencies.
Before you get your business listed, you should first be aware of the business structure you would like to fall under. In Singapore, there are three structures: sole proprietorship, limited liability, and private limited. Determining which type of structure your business follows will help streamline your registration.
The next step is to secure a company name, which can be done through ACRA’s website. The agency will check if the name you want to register is unique so that future legal problems can be avoided.
The main part of the registration is the submission of the required documents, which include the following:
- A unique company name
- Detailed company constitution
- Information about the director
- Information about the company secretary
- Information about the shareholders
- Singapore-based company address
The length of time it takes ACRA to complete the registration of your business depends on the business structure you chose and other factors such as registrant density at a given period. However, as soon as the agency is done with your application, you will immediately be sent a copy of the Company Business Profile or the Certificate of Incorporation.
If you do not have plans of building a company of your own but want to invest or partner with existing companies, then ACRA can also be of help. With the ACRA company search tool on their website, you can look up a particular business and verify if they are indeed legally registered. This way, you would be sure about where you invest your money and other resources.