Our tips on starting a business in SG

Setting up a company is much like building a house: you want to build it on a solid foundation (stone, as opposed to sand), and you would like to use sturdy materials (brick, and not straw). When you set up your company the right way, you sidestep shaky floors and shady shortcuts–in summary, just like what we did for our company, you want to set up your business for long-term success and smooth sailing years ahead.

In spite of the nation’s well-deserved international reputation for the ease of conducting business, Singapore Company Registration may get complex without someone showing you the ropes. Making mistakes in any juncture can cost you not just cash but also your chances of establishing your organization.

Having helped some gone through this phase ourselves while setting up our business, we want to share with you some tips which you should be looking out for.

1. Know the authorities you will be in contact with.

1) ACRA or the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority regulates Singapore’s businesses, public accountants and corporate service providers.

2) IRAS or the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore includes a basic guide to help new businesses understand their tax obligations.

3) MAS or the Monetary Authority of Singapore is the go-to for setting up companies in the banking, finance and insurance industries.

4) Legal Services Regulatory Authority is where you apply for your new entity licence or registration in case you are seeking to put up a law firm.

5) MOM or the Ministry of Manpower is where you receive your EntrePass if you are a foreigner who would like to start and operate a new company in Singapore.

Note, you may not need all the above, but it’s good to know because you never know when you need them.

2. Know the laws that businesses in Singapore needs to follow.

1)Manpower/Employee Laws. When you start hiring employees for your business, be aware that there are laws in place for their own protection, as well as regulations covering the participation of foreign workers. You can discover useful advice at MOM or at SMEPortal.sg.

2)Customs. If you’re involved in import-export actions, you have to register with Singapore Customs.

3) GST. When your company generates annual taxable revenue of over SGD1 million annually, you want to register for the Goods and Services Tax, which taxes goods and services in Singapore in addition to goods imported into the country.

4) Registration number. Your ACRA-issued small business registration number needs to be on all of your official company communications.

5) CPF. Employers and Singapore citizens and permanent residents are required by law to set aside a percentage of their yearly salaries because of their Central Provident Fund pensions.

3. Open up bank account.

Most banks in Singapore provide services that are especially for companies like trade financing, treasury & exchange solutions, international fund transfers, company insurance and liquidity management services. Get options for opening a business bank account in with the different banks to help you. We actually met a owner who runs a singapore tyre shop while we were setting up our account with UOB.

4. Stop delaying the boring but needed stuff.

Yes, its boring to wait in line and sign a bunch of documents but the last thing you want is to dilly-dally over your enrollment. How do you know that someone else isn’t already employing for the company name you want? By taking quick, decisive action when starting your business, you save stress as well as time.

5. Learn all about startup incentives

Becoming aware of the benefits you are entitled to can help your business save. Qualifying startups, for example, can get tax relief during their first three assessment years on the first SGD100,000 of their normal annual income. You might even be eligible for certain grants provided by the gov.

A few final tips..

If you are from abroad looking to set up a business here, you’re actually required to engage a local company to register your company for you.

We’ve started our own businesses here in Singapore, and we’ve gone through a tedious process to learn and get everything set up. If you have the budget, try engaging in a well-known local company to do everything for you. They use their knowledge to assist clients set up in the most effective and efficient manner without having to worry about engaging the wrong vendors and going against certain local laws you may be unaware of.