Any entrepreneur who has tried to create a new business in Singapore has had to deal with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, or ACRA, as it is more commonly known. When it comes to the subject of business regulation, ACRA is the go-to institution for all companies in Singapore. ACRA’s powers extend from all matters related to the incorporation and administration of new companies to intermediation in case of non-compliance as per the Companies Act.
ACRA’s Role as the Registrar of Companies
Every country has an independent public authority that is responsible for managing a list of companies and facilitating their incorporation, administration, and compliance with local law. In countries like the United Kingdom, India, Australia, etc. this body is known as the Registrar of Companies.
Ever since its incorporation in 2004, ACRA has been considered the Registrar of Companies in Singapore, since it maintains a list of companies in Singapore, and monitors corporate compliance for registered companies. Given Singapore’s popularity as a destination for business, ACRA not only acts as a regulator but also a facilitator to introduce new tools, data resources, and services that help businesses in Singapore grow and become successful.
Important to note is that while ACRA approves the incorporation of companies in Singapore, it does not grant the business a license to fully operate. Certain types of businesses, such as hotels, recruitment firms, financial services, telecommunications companies, etc. need to obtain industry-specific licenses from various local authorities before commencing operations.
Using ACRA’s BizFile
Bizfile is ACRA’s electronic portal for conducting any activities related to business incorporation and administration. Before Bizfile, all these processes were completed manually. Its addition has not only sped up these processes significantly but also served as a rich source of business data for both ACRA as well as business owners.
A number of companies in Singapore use Bizfile for online company registration, to submit their annual filings, submitting changes in business information, business directory search, and purchasing industry reports. In fact, it is possible to download a list of all registered companies in Singapore using the Bizfile search functionality.
Business registration Services provided by ACRA
All companies in Singapore, whether tech companies, factories, small businesses, or any other kind of business entity needs to be registered with ACRA. To this end, ACRA provides some useful services such as:
Company name lookup. To ensure that a business is registered with a unique name, ACRA provides a list of all the registered companies in Singapore. This list of companies in Singapore can also be downloaded in PDF format.
Company registration. ACRA enables the filing of important business information via BizFile+, its online portal. This portal allows companies to register their business structure, Company Directors and Secretary, address, share structure, and more, in order to commence operations in Singapore.
Unique Identity Number (UEN). Once a company is registered with ACRA, they issue a unique identification number that allows businesses to transact with government agencies. UENs can also be used to identify how many companies are registered in Singapore.
Free business profile. Each company that registers with ACRA receives a free business profile, which contains all the vital information regarding the new company.
ACRA Integrated Services. ACRA has partnered with a number of bodies that provide essential services for newly incorporated companies to start operating in Singapore. Some of these are applying for business licenses via the GoBusiness Licensing Portal, activation of a Customs Account, Goods and Service Tax registration, registration of a trademark, and opening a corporate bank account.
Company reports. Business owners in Singapore seeking information about companies for market research, due diligence or decision making can purchase a number of company reports from ACRA, including background checks, certifications, people profiles, incorporation documents, and more. This information is not only available for famous companies in Singapore, but every entity registered with ACRA. Should you need information on successful Singapore companies, this service can help.