What type of business entity suits your business best? It depends on several factors. The website of ACRA (The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority) gives some guidance. ACRA is the national regulator of business entities and public accountants in Singapore; you might compare this to the Dutch ‘Kamer van Koophandel’ (KvK). ACRA also plays the role of a facilitator for the development of business entities and the public accountancy profession. Whatever entity you choose, your company needs to be registered at ACRA.
Salient differences NL-SG
As a Dutch national you might want to start a Sole Proprietorship, because you used to be a ‘ZZP’er’ (Zelfstandige Zonder Personeel) in the Netherlands. This is an easy way to start your business. A Letter Of Consent (LOC) allows you to work for your company, which can be contracted by various other companies at the same time.
However, in Singapore the Sole Proprietorship is not very common. A Private Limited (Pte Ltd), comparable to a “BV”, gives you the status of ‘a real business’ in the eyes of a Singaporean. You will need a Company Secretary for a Private Limited. Although it is something we are not used to, it is very common here and should not keep you away from starting a Private Limited.
More information about a Private Limited and the Company Secretary:
- Intertrust – Private Limited Company – FAQ (pdf)
- Intertrust – Corporate Secretarial and Accounting Services Singapore (pdf)
The same goes for a business stamp. This is an absolute requirement for a proper business. Nothing to worry about! It is just a stamp with your UEN (Unique Entity Number, given by ACRA after registration) and the name of your company. You can have this made by every stamp shop around the block for 20SGD or less.