Incorporating a business in Singapore is easy if you have the services of a competent corporate secretary. According to World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business survey, Singapore ranks 10th in the world for ease of doing business in 2016. This rank was based on three indicators, namely, number of procedures to register a company, number of days to complete a company registration, and the amount needed to register a company.
In Singapore, registering a company takes only three steps, namely:
- Preparation of constitution and standard incorporation documents
- Register online with ACRA including company name search and filing the company incorporation
- Company’s first resolution
As such, a total of 38,306 private limited liability companies were registered in Singapore up until June last year, according to World Bank data.
If it’s this easy to register a company in Singapore, then why is there a need for a corporate secretary? What role does a corporate secretary play, and can companies do without one?
The role of a Corporate Secretary
ACRA, or the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, requires that setting up a local company requires at least one director and a corporate secretary.
Specific to the corporate secretary, ACRA requires that every company must appoint a company secretary within 6 months from the date of its incorporation. The secretary must also be residing locally in Singapore and he or she must not be the sole director of the company.
Here’s where the role of the corporate secretary gets really important: The secretary may be held liable for the company’s failure to comply with the law in certain situations, according to ACRA.
That said, it is important to note that compliance with the Singapore corporation laws must be met on time, all the time, if a company were to run its business smoothly without being at odds with the authorities.
What should you look for in a Corporate Secretary?
Notwithstanding the fact that you would want to register your business quickly and accurately to avoid problems occurring later on, you need to have the right person to do the job.
According to ACRA, a corporate secretary should have at least one of the following qualifications, in compliance with section 171 (1AA) of the Companies Act:
- Been a secretary of a company for at least 3 of the 5 years immediately before his appointment as secretary of the public company.
- Qualified person under the Legal Profession Act (Cap. 161).
- Public accountant registered under the Accountants Act (Cap. 2).
- Member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore.
- Member of the Singapore Association of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.
- Member of the Association of International Accountants (Singapore Branch).
- Member of the Institute of Company Accountants, Singapore.
Why is outsourcing a Corporate Secretary more efficient?
The shift from hiring a corporate secretary to outsourcing one from corporate secretarial services firms has gained great momentum over the years. This can be attributed to five reasons:
According to Payscale.com, the average salary of a company secretarial is S$49,395 per year. Corporate secretarial services firms would charge from S$750 to S$1,200 per year on average for the same role.
Because corporate secretarial services firms are solely focused on their corporate secretarial role and nothing else, they develop a certain level of expertise that enables them to get things done accurately and quickly. For businesses, this means having the ability to get on with their core deliverable fast, such as launching their product or services to the market.
Corporate Services Singapore, for example, offers corporate services with the following expertise:
- General statutory compliance
- Maintenance and update of statutory registers
- Preparation of minutes of meetings
- Correspondence with shareholders
- Arrange for annual general meetings
- Maintain share registration
- Custody of the company seal
- Compliance with Constitution
Save on usual set up costs
Companies that outsource their corporate secretarial function save on the usual costs associated with hiring a full-time corporate secretary, such as the cost to purchase office furniture and equipment (computer, phone, fax machines, copiers, desk, table, lighting) and cost of insurance and other government-mandated benefits for employees.
Save on cost of recruitment and training
Companies that outsource their corporate secretarial function also save on costs associated with recruiting and training a secretary. These costs are totally eliminated and the business is also placed in the hands of experts with years of proven capability in performing the corporate secretary role.
Focus on what really matters
Outsourcing the corporate secretary role means companies are unburdened from registration and compliance matters, which means they can focus their time, energy, and resources to business development.
A solid legal foundation greatly contributes to the success of a business. Outsource your corporate secretary to a reliable partner. Contact Corporate Services Singapore today at (+65) 6602 8286 for no obligation discussion.