Running Your Own Company? Here Are 5 Singapore Government Agencies You Need To Know About

While dreadful, documentation, as well as other logistical and administrative matters, are unavoidable when doing business. Here are some government agencies in Singapore that you should be familiar with as an SME owner to make the administrative process a breeze.

Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)

Given that every registered business on our sunny island is done through ACRA, this agency is a definite must-know. A national regulator of business entities, public accountants and corporate service providers in Singapore, ACRA aims to provide good corporate governance as well as high-quality financial reporting and audit. On their website, there are various useful guides on how to prepare financial statements, file financial statements, file annual returns, strike off a local company, and more.

More often than not, the first contact that business owners have with ACRA would be through BizFile+, ACRA’s online filing and information retrieval system. BizFile+ has more than 400 electronic services to help business owners with their submission of statutory documents and more.

Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS)

As a business owner, you absolutely need to know about IRAS, the main tax administrator for the Singapore government. You are likely to be in contact with IRAS for all tax matters ranging from corporate tax to goods and services tax (GST).

The agency also provides a comprehensive range of useful tax guides so that you can educate yourself on tax matters such as what are the taxable income and deductible expenses for a company, when to apply for GST registration, how to report your employees’ earnings, just to name a few.

Enterprise Singapore

In April 2018, International Enterprise Singapore and SPRING came together to form Enterprise Singapore. This agency supports companies to build capabilities, innovate, and internationalise. Startups, SMEs, and high-growth companies can all stand to benefit.

Information on financial assistance such as grants, loans and insurance, tax incentives are all available on their site. For instance, the Startup SG Tech grant is listed as an early-stage funding option to fast-track the commercialisation of scalable in-house solutions. Local companies can also look at the Enterprise Development Grant to support business upgrade, innovation, and overseas venture.

In addition, non-financial assistance is also available. Singapore companies can explore the range of business toolkits, while foreign companies can find useful resources on the site, such as information on Free Trade Agreement.

Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM)

MOM handles a multitude of things relating to employment. If you want to find out more on applying for work passes and permits, workplace safety and health, or employment practices, this is the place to go to. In addition, MOM also provides useful labour market information on unemployment, income and more which can be useful when conducting market researches. After accessing their homepage, there is even a short virtual tour to guide you on how to navigate around the site.

Central Provident Fund Board (CPF)

CPF is a social security system that helps Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PR) who are working to set aside funds for retirement. On top of that, it also helps to address home ownership, healthcare, asset enhancement and more.

As an employer, you will need to make CPF contributions to your employee based on the rate prescribed by the CPF Board. Under the employer guide, you can also find a wealth of information regarding company set up, hiring matters such as Foreign Worker Levy, compliance, and more.

We hope that the list of government agencies listed above will come in handy when you are setting up or expanding your company. Be sure to explore the wealth of readily accessible information online to tap on as many resources as possible to further improve your business processes.

How To Plan A New Business Or Side Hustle

All successful businesses start with great planning. Business plans can be a daunting challenge for some, because of the effort you have to put to craft one. As daunting as it seems, business plans are necessary as they provide the roadmap for where you want to take your company. In other words, a well thought-out business plan is a vital requirement for any entrepreneur or business seeking to increase chances of survival.

But how do you write a good business plan?

Figure out what needs to be there and what doesn’t

Start off with a basic outline that will make sense to investors or whoever it is you are offering your business plan to. Write about your understanding of the market, the unique selling propositions of your product or service, the business model, and data that proves there is demand for whatever you want to create. If possible, show that you have the team and resources to help you in this business journey. If you don’t, write down what resources and how much money you need to be able to reach your destination.

You can build off the above with more sophisticated aspects, such as:

  • Company Analysis
  • Industry Analysis
  • Competition Analysis
  • Customer Analysis
  • Marketing Plan
  • Management Team
  • Operations Plan
  • Financial Plan

Research, research, research

Now that you know what needs to be included in a business plan, you need to start doing your homework. Find and curate as many resources as possible, monitor your target market on a regular basis, and keep track of competitors’ new launch or strategy.

Investors reading your business plan will want to see that you’ve thought long and hard about the potential of starting or expanding your company, along with the challenges ahead and how to rise above them.

For entrepreneurs who intend to use their business plan to get an investment, you also need to research your potential investors. Understand the way they work, take a look at their portfolio, and see whether there are any similarities with your business.

Have proof to back up every claim you make

Want to know why research is so important for business planning? By conducting thorough due diligence, you will have proof to back up every claim you make.

Let’s say you claim in the business plan that your product will be the leader in your field by six months to a year. You will need to detail why you think so. If you say your management team is fully qualified to make the business a success, you should make sure their resumes demonstrate the needed experience.

Be realistic with available time and resources

What’s most important about a business plan? Whether or not the steps and content can be implemented. So more than being a document to win over investors, a good business plan needs to be doable.

Don’t be overly optimistic about time and resources, it’s a common error of entrepreneurs. Be realistic, as it will give credibility to your plan. Always assume things will take 15% longer than you anticipated. If you anticipate that a certain process takes 20 weeks, write 23 weeks instead.

The success of business planning is all in the details. Make the plan concise, but include enough details that a reader will have sufficient information to make educated decisions. A business plan should reflect a sense of professionalism, with accurate content, realistic assumptions, credible projections, and no spelling mistakes.

This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. We provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public. To learn more about us, click on our website here.