Congratulations on the succeeding in registering your company! So now you’ve just got to figure out the next steps to venture into the beginning of your business. Here’s how you can ensure everything is smooth sailing with these 6 steps as a guide:
1. Hiring a company secretary
A company secretary plays an important role in any company and as part of the Singapore Companies Act (Section 171), it is essential that each company appoint someone qualified as their company secretary. This is to be done within 6 months of your company’s incorporation.
It is advisable to do so as soon as possible because certain legal procedures require the signature and approval of a company secretary. In addition, a company secretary can also help keep track of legal documents and procedures that are to be stored safely or to be completed.
Please also note that if you are a shareholder or director of the company, you cannot be the company secretary. Another person who has an existing address here in Singapore has to be appointed.
2. Safekeeping Documents
For additional security measures, consider getting a hard copy of your business profiles. You can do so by making an online request and paying for a small application fee. This will make your file downloadable for a certain period of time so be sure to do so before the time limit.
Be sure to distribute share certificates for each of your company’s shareholders. You will also be needing a share register to keep track of the shares allotted to each individual shareholder to prevent confusion in the near future.
3. Opening a bank account
The next step would be to open a bank account for your company so as to facilitate business transactions. There are major bank branches in Singapore that you can choose to open your account with, but you should consider your available options first based on your situation.
A good number of banks in Singapore need you to be present in order to open an account. So if you are based locally and it’s convenient for you to do so, then you will be able to choose from a wider range of banks depending on the nature of your business.
But if you are situated overseas and travelling to Singapore is a problem, then you will have to limit your options to banks who provide such services without you having to physically visit Singapore, for example, international banks like HSBC or Citibank.
4. Annual Filing
After your company incorporation has been completed, the Companies Act will be put into place and you will be required to adhere to certain requirements for annual filing, tax returns and the like.
You will be required to file ECI, which is your Estimated Chargeable Income, within 3 months of your company’s incorporation. This is so that you will be informed of when you need to pay tax. If the ECI is not filed, you may have to pay a penalty for lateness after IRAS has calculated.
In addition, your company will also be required to hold Annual General Meetings between shareholders and directors each year. The first one should be held within 18 months of your company’s incorporation, so that everyone can be bought up to date with how the company is doing. You will also be required to file Annual returns with ACRA within one month after your Annual General Meeting, with all updated information.
5. Applying for licenses
If your business operations fall under Education, Finance, Trading, Agencies, Construction, Manufacturing, Investments, Property or Food & Beverages and the like, you may be required to apply for licenses before you can begin your business. Do some research to make sure that the nature of your business does not fall under any categories listed.
In the event that it is, you can apply for licenses through the relevant government websites they belong under.
Based on the nature of your business, you can also consider taking insurance if there is a need. For example, insurance policies that are to help protect against allegations that are unfounded and hold no basis. There are a range of insurance policies made available to aid professional companies along. It is not mandatory to get an insurance policy for your company, but if there is a risk and a need to do so, perhaps consider speaking to advisors to see what policies would work out the best.
Once you have completed all these steps, business should be smooth sailing ahead. Wishing you prosperity and luck in your endeavors!