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Guide to Registering A Business And Setting Up A Business Account

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Guide to Registering A Business And Setting Up A Business Account

Disclaimer: The insights shared in this article are the result of a collaboration between OCBC and Smart-Towkay.com. It's essential to note that all views expressed in the article are the independent opinion of Smart-Towkay.com, which is based on our thorough research and industry expertise.

Smart-Towkay.com cannot be held responsible for any financial losses that may occur as a result of any transactions, and we strongly encourage readers to conduct their own research before making any financial decisions.

Registering A Business, What Does It Mean?

The process of setting up a company with a registered business name and local business address. In Singapore, businesses are registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

A registered business appears more legitimate because information on your business can be searched and verified via ACRA. As a result, your business will find it easier to obtain financing and contracting on credit. Also, you can access governmental support such as those offered by Enterprise Singapore.

If you incorporate as a private limited company or Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), it provides your business with limited liability protection depending on the corporate entity being set-up, which means that the owners' personal assets are protected from creditors and lawsuits brought against the business.

Who Can Incorporate A Business In Singapore?

Regardless of nationality or residence, anyone can incorporate a business in Singapore – but with one condition.

At least one local resident must be appointed as Director of the company and an official registered office address within the country is required. One can appoint a Nominee Director if they can’t find any suitable local director. 

Foreign companies also have the opportunity to register subsidiaries or branch offices in Singapore if desired; however, certain businesses may need special permits or adhere to additional regulations prior to operation.

Requirements For Incorporating A Business In Singapore:

  1. Appointing at least one local resident as a director of the company.

  2. The minimum age for registration is 18 years old. You will require a Singpass Login to register for a business

  3. Minimum Paid Up Capital: S$1

  4. Having at least one shareholder, who can be an individual or a corporation.

  5. Having a registered office address in Singapore.

  6. Having a company secretary within 6 months of incorporation, who must also be a resident of Singapore.

  7. Providing a Memorandum and Articles of Association, which outlines the company’s constitution and purpose.

  8. Registering the company with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and obtaining a Business Registration Number.

  9. Obtaining the necessary licences and permits to operate the business, if required by law.

  10. Registering for taxes with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) and obtaining a tax identification number.

  11. Complying with other regulatory requirements, such as maintaining proper accounting records and filing annual returns.

It is important to note that certain types of businesses, such as those in regulated industries, may have additional requirements and compliance obligations. It is advisable to seek professional advice before incorporation.

Step By Step Guide Of Incorporating A Private Limited Company In Singapore

The process of incorporating a business in Singapore is relatively straightforward and simple with just your Singpass Login and a credit/debit card.

Choosing The Right Business Structure

Private Limited Companies

This type of company allows for limited liability and provides taxation benefits, such as corporate income tax exemptions and accounting fees exemptions on startup businesses and also requires compliance with statutory regulations under the Companies Act and related legislation, including registration with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is another popular choice and allows for self-employment without any partners or shareholders. The downside to this option is that it offers no personal liability protection; this means that all assets owned by the proprietor are considered assets to be seized if they are sued or encounter financial difficulties.

Partnership & Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

A partnership in Singapore is a business structure where two or more individuals share ownership and management of the business. The partners share profits and losses and are personally liable for the debts of the partnership.

A limited liability partnership (LLP) is also a business structure where two or more individuals share ownership and management, but the partners are only liable for the debts of the LLP to the extent of their capital contributions. This means that their personal assets are not at risk in the event that the LLP is unable to pay its debts.

Choosing A Business Name

Registering your business name is one of the first few steps in launching your startup. As an aspiring entrepreneur, choosing the perfect name for your new venture can be a daunting task.

It needs to be something that conveys the purpose and mission of your company, as well as something that is memorable and easy to recall. It is always advisable to do a search on ACRA’s website here to see if it is available.

Step By Step Guide:

Log in using your Singpass -> eServices -> Select Local Company *(For Pte. Ltd. incorporation) -> Application for a New Company Name

*For other entities incorporation, choose the relevant field on the left taskbar

Key in your proposed entity name and if it is available, it will be shown as available in green.

As you apply to name your business, be sure to indicate the primary and secondary activities of it by picking which Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) code is most fitting for your operations.
Click here for a full list of SSIC codes.

Approval for name application cost S$15 and approval is often immediate. After receiving approval, your business name will be set aside for you for 120 days. If you don’t register it or incorporate during that time frame, the name will become available to other applicants afterwards.

At this stage, you are ready to incorporate your company after receiving ACRA’s email with the Transaction No.

Incorporating The Company

With the Transaction Number, log in to BizFile+ website, click on eServices-> Local Company-> Incorporation of Local Company.


Before incorporating of the company, these are the few things you need to take note:

1. Deciding on a Financial Year End

The financial year end (FYE) is the final day of each accounting period for a business. This interval allows one to gain insight into its ongoing profitability, as transactions are recorded and reported accordingly in statements over this time frame.

2. Appointing Directors, Company Secretary and Other Key Personnel

All companies must appoint at least one director and a secretary.

Before submitting your application to incorporate a company, you will need the following personal particulars and contact details of the appointed officers.

  • NRIC and full name

  • Nationality

  • Contact information (telephone number and e-mail address)

  • Residential address

For NRIC and some FIN holders, there is no need to provide personal information (e.g. nationality and residential address as reflected in the NRIC and FIN) as these will be obtained from the relevant government agencies.

3. Determining Your Share Capital

Share capital is the amount of money committed to a company by its shareholders. It can be issued in full or partially paid-up; but at least $1 must be provided when you incorporate the business.

Paid up capital on the other hand, implies how much each shareholder has already settled for their shares.

4. Registered Office Address

The registered office must be an address in Singapore, but it need not be the place of operation. For instance, your company’s registered office address may be in Raffles Place but your factory could be located in Changi.

Read more on Guide to Home Office Scheme here.

Incorporated and Ready to Succeed? Setting Up Your Business Bank Account

Different types of business account available

There are mainly two types of business bank accounts available in Singapore, each with its own set of features and fees. Some of the most common types of business bank accounts in Singapore include:

  • SGD Business Account: A current account is a basic type of business bank account that allows you to deposit and withdraw money as needed. It usually comes with free local transfers and a debit card. 
  • Multi-Currency Business Account: A foreign currency account is a bank account that allows businesses to hold and transact in a foreign currency. These accounts are useful for businesses that have international trade activities or that need to make payments in foreign currencies.

What Documents Do You Required To Open A Business Account In Singapore?

To set up a corporate bank account in Singapore, you will need to provide certain documentation and information to the bank. The specific requirements may vary depending on the bank and the type of business, but generally, you will need to provide the following:

  1. Incorporation certificate and Business Profile: A copy of the certificate of incorporation issued by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), and the Business Profile that can be obtained through Bizfile+.

  2. Business licence or permit: Depending on the nature of the business, you may need to provide a copy of the relevant business licence or permit issued by the government.

  3. Personal identification and proof of address: The bank may need to verify the identity of the authorised signatories of the account, and may ask for personal identification documents such as passport or NRIC, and proof of address, such as a utility bill or bank statement.

  4. Minimum deposit: The bank may require a minimum deposit to open the account.

It's important to note that the process of opening a corporate bank account in Singapore may take several weeks, and the bank may require additional documentation or information as needed. It's also important to shop around and compare different banks to find the best account for your business.

Introducing OCBC x OSOME - Incorporate Business and Business Account On The Same Day

Business Account + Incorporation: A one-stop solution for new business setup

If you have decided to incorporate your business, then this Business Account + Incorporation solution is the right choice for you.

With this collaboration between OCBC and Osome, you can easily incorporate your company and set up a business account both at the same time. You can even enjoy exclusive discounts when you incorporate your business with OCBC and Osome!

How Does It Work?

Clients sign in using MyInfo account and upload their data in one click. Osome collects all documents for registration, prepares an application, and files it.

With automation, incorporation can be done in about 30 minutes! As soon as the registration is completed, the client will receive a secure link to open an OCBC instant business account. Through Osome and OCBC's efficient data exchange process, you won't have to spend time filling out documents again - resulting in fast and secure completion of your business formation by sundown.


Normal package price
OCBC exclusive price
Incorporation + Unlimited Corporate Secretary Package
$600
$500
Incorporation + Unlimited Corporate Secretary + Osome's Accounting Software (for accounting purposes)
$1,100
$950

Offers:

SMEs that subscribe to Xero and Talenox typically pay $820 for a 12-month subscription. Now, with the new package, a company pays $50 a month and gets 1 year of:

  • Osome Starter Accounting that includes bookkeeping, accounting, taxation, and all the essential reports (up to 20 transactions a month).

  • Xero subscription;

  • Talenox Suite (up to 5 employees);

The company saves a total of S$1,080 on this offer. After the first year, OCBC SMEs can continue to enjoy a preferential rate of $140 per month for the same package, for six months.

Who Can Benefit From The Offer:

A business that can benefit from the offer:

  • is registered and incorporated in Singapore with a valid UEN issued by ACRA;

  • is a Private Limited Company;

  • has at least 30% ownership/shareholding by Singapore citizens and PRs;

  • has group annual sales turnover of no more than S$100 million or has no more than 200 employees;

  • has an OCBC business account or is willing to open one;

  • is a first-time applicant for the Start Digital Pack;

  • is not already currently using Xero & Talenox.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Nominee Director role in Singapore?

A nominee director acts as a director of the company on behalf of the company owner – he will meet all legal and regulatory needs without impacting operations. Foreigners who wish to form a company in Singapore, yet lack an eligible local resident as director per the Companies Act's regulations, can engage a reputable Corporate Secretarial Firm to appoint one of its employees to be the Nominee Director.

You can avoid appointing your friends and family for this task by opting for a Nominee Director.


Read more on the Roles and Responsibility Of A Company Secretary here.

Can either director be a company secretary for my Private Limited Company?

The simple answer is, yes. You can be your own corporate secretary for your Pte. Ltd. Entity.

In order to do this, you would need to register as a company director and then apply for the company secretary position yourself. This is a procedure that many people who are running their own businesses feel uncomfortable about doing themselves.

Can my ACRA address be my residential address?

Yes, your ACRA address can be your residential address if you are under the Home Office Scheme.

Read also: Step-By-Step Guide On How To Convert Your Sole Proprietorship or LLP To Pte Ltd In Singapore

Read also: Can Directors be Liable for Company Debts in Singapore?

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UPDATED AS OF 15 Jun 2024
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