Setting up a company is no easy task, from planning to execution; the process takes a lot of time and effort. One has to start with knowing what their business would offer, who is their target clients, where are they locating the business and what would their company name be. Everything will start from trial and error, especially with one’s business name. At this day and age, businesses come and go, thousands or maybe millions of business have already been established around the world so there would be no surprise if the preferred name of your business is already taken and registered. While it is common knowledge that businesses with the same name are prohibited, there are still companies that encounter this kind of problem. Hundreds, or even thousands, of businesses have already been established in Singapore and because of its good reputation around the world as the best place to do business, it is no doubt that starting companies may have problems when it comes to registering their business for name in Singapore.
ACRA or Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority handles the business name registration of companies who wish to locate their offices in Singapore. It is Singapore’s national regulator for business entities, corporate service workers, and business entities. ACRA’s work basically resolves around monitoring the corporate compliances and facilitating the progress of the business entities to ensure that Singapore is still and will always be the best and trusted place for doing business. From getting applications, refusing them, transferring them to a different agency for review, and finally approving them, ACRA is Singapore’s agency that helps the budding company owners to be finalize their goals of putting up businesses in the Lion City.
Important Steps and Key Notes for Company Name Registration
- A starting company must first reserve the company name/s that the owners prefer and all they have to do is fill out an application form, via BizFile+, which is ACRA’s electronic filling system. The one doing the application can either log into the BizFile+ using their identification number as well as their SingPass’, or a registered filling agent can do it on their behalf. This agent can come from law, corporate secretariat, or accounting firms. The companies must also pay the following fees: $15 for the Name Approval Fee and $300 for the Registration Fee. Once the application fee is paid, the application process is usually processed within 15 minutes. In the form, one have to choose your incorporation package – local in Singapore, foreigner, etcetera, prepare three proposed company name, primary business activities and scope, director’s or owner’s details, shareholder’s details, company’s capital, registered Singapore address for the company, and contact information. It is important to note that an approved company name will only be hold under reservation 60 days from the date of the application, although it is also possible to extend the reservation period, if necessary, by applying for it thru BizFile+.
- It is important to take note that ACRA has the right to refuse company names proposal not only when the proposed business name is similar or identical phonetically to an already existing business, but also when it is undesirable or detrimental to society, when names have already been reserved by another company earlier, and names which the government of Singapore has already directed the Registrar not to accept for registration for whichever reasons it may be.
- To avoid unnecessary problems or complaints brought about by similar or identical names application; one has to conduct a thorough research first before sending an application to ACRA. The starting company can do a preliminary search using ACRA’s BizFile+ where company names in Singapore are registered. One can also do some research in the Internet, in Google or Yahoo for example, to double check if their prospect name has already been taken a different company or business. By doing this initiative, one can avoid possible complaints and further delays in applying for a business name to ACRA.
- For ACRA to approve the reservation of names, the company names proposed must not be similar to a business that has already been registered previously. Proposed name shouldn’t even be identical phonetically to another registered company or business. Common words in the business world such as “insurance”, “bank”, “corporation”, and “university” could be still be under the Government’s regulation and will require permission before one could use it for naming a business or company. 1 to 14 days is usually the appeal process for this scenario. On the other hand, if the nature of the business includes something to do with education or health, for example, ACRA has to forward the application process first to another agency for review and could take 14 days to 2 months of processing.
While applying for a company name might be a difficult task for company owners, the online application procedure of ACRA, BizFile+, provides an easier platform of starting a business in Singapore. The application still takes a lot of process, as one can expect, but the processing time might be shortened if the owners will comply with the conditions stated on the list. Proper preliminary researching as well can save one’s company a lot of time and hassle as refusal by ACRA will more likely be impossible and complaints from other companies will be more improbable further down the road. Company owners must be creative and careful as well when choosing a name for their businesses that they have worked hard for. By being creative, they are more likely to settle on a name that is unique and more reflecting of their business scope and activities because they will be able to make sure that they wouldn’t have a similar company name, therefore saving more time in the approval process. On the other hand, by being careful, not only are they able to save more time, but they can also save their company from possible delays brought about by further review processes in ACRA, as well possible complaints and lawsuits that could be filed by an already registered companies and business in Singapore.