In Singapore, every business must adhere to regulations set by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), the country’s national regulator of business entities and public accountants. ACRA plays a vital role in overseeing and monitoring companies’ activities, ensuring compliance with the Companies Act, and promoting a trusted and attractive business environment in Singapore.
ACRA, also known as the Registrar of Companies (ROC), is responsible for the registration, regulation, and development of companies in Singapore. Established to ensure the proper functioning and transparency of businesses, ACRA facilitates the incorporation of new companies, maintains corporate records and business profiles, and monitors ongoing compliance requirements.
ACRA BizFile and BizFile+
ACRA operates an online filing and information portal called BizFile, which has been upgraded to BizFile+ to provide a wider range of services and improve processing times. BizFile+ offers over 300 online services, including the submission of statutory documents, retrieval of business information, name reservations, changes to corporate structure, and annual returns.
The ACRA BizFile portal serves as a centralised platform where companies can make electronic submissions and applications, saving them time and effort compared to manual processes.
Through BizFile, companies can easily update their information, such as details of directors, shareholders, officers, and registered office address. They can also make submissions for name reservations and incorporation. The portal provides a user-friendly interface that allows companies to navigate through the different sections and complete their submissions efficiently. By leveraging technology, BizFile streamlines the process of interacting with ACRA, making it more convenient for businesses to fulfill their ongoing compliance requirements.
Checking Company Registration with ACRA
To verify if a company is registered with ACRA, you can use the ACRA company search tool. Simply enter the company name or registration number to obtain information about the registered entity.
Foreigners and Company Registration
Foreigners cannot self-register a company with ACRA as they are not eligible to obtain a SingPass, the digital ID required for accessing BizFile+. Foreign entrepreneurs and corporations seeking to establish a company in Singapore often engage professional corporate service providers who can access BizFile+ on their behalf and assist with the registration process.
ACRA Documents and Certificates
Upon successful company registration, ACRA sends an official email confirming the incorporation. This email serves as the official certificate of incorporation and includes the Unique Entity Number (UEN) assigned to the company. ACRA no longer issues physical copies of the certificate, but a print copy can be requested online through BizFile+.
Accessing ACRA’s Services
ACRA’s services are accessible to the public, allowing anyone to obtain general information about registered companies. However, to engage in company registration and access certain services, individuals must use their SingPass credentials to log in to BizFile+.
ACRA Filing Requirements
Under the Companies Act, all companies in Singapore are required to file an Annual Return with ACRA within 30 days of holding an Annual General Meeting (AGM). The Annual Return includes the company’s financial statements and updated information about directors and shareholders.
ACRA’s Power to Enforce Compliance
ACRA has the authority to enforce compliance with ongoing obligations. Failure to comply with reporting requirements and timely submission of financial information may result in penalties or legal action. ACRA can issue warnings, strike off non-compliant companies, disqualify directors, impose fines, or prosecute companies in court.
Public Availability of ACRA Information
Basic company information, such as name, address, and activities, is publicly available on ACRA’s website. More detailed information can be obtained by purchasing a Business Profile, which provides comprehensive data on a company’s registration details, principal activities, shareholders, and paid-up capital.
Notifying ACRA about Changes
It is crucial for companies to keep ACRA updated on changes to their information, such as company name, business activities, and appointments or removals of directors and secretaries. Failure to notify ACRA within 14 days may result in penalties. A professional corporate service provider can assist in ensuring timely updates to ACRA.
Navigating the Name Reservation Process on Bizfile: Tips and Considerations
When it comes to submitting a name reservation application on Bizfile, there are a few important tips and considerations to keep in mind. The first step is to choose an appropriate Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) code for your company’s principal activities. The SSIC codes determine the nature of your business and are used by ACRA to categorize companies.
It is crucial to select the correct SSIC code that accurately represents your company’s main activities. Choosing the wrong code can potentially impact the approval of your name reservation application. For example, certain SSIC codes may require approval from specific government entities, such as those related to medicine, architecture, or financial advisory services. Additionally, selecting certain principal activities like investment holding may restrict your company from enjoying certain tax incentives or benefits.
To ensure a smooth name reservation process, it is advisable to consult with a professional corporate services provider who can guide you in choosing the most suitable SSIC code for your business. They can also assist you in preparing and submitting the application accurately, minimising the risk of any errors or delays.
How We Can Help
Establishing and managing a business in Singapore requires compliance with ACRA’s regulations. Our team of experts can guide you through the company registration process, help with ongoing compliance obligations, and ensure timely submissions to ACRA. With our assistance, you can focus on growing your business while we handle the administrative tasks.
ACRA plays a pivotal role in Singapore’s business landscape, regulating and monitoring companies’ activities to ensure compliance with the law. By understanding ACRA’s functions, accessing its services through BizFile+, and meeting filing requirements, businesses can operate smoothly and maintain a positive reputation in the Singaporean business community.