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Lessons of a CEO #3

October 10, 2016

A Brief History of Thyme

So, apologies are of course due. We are only at Blog week 3 and I’m already a day late. My subscriber base (my mum) was up in arms about the delay – such atrophy, she lamented must surely be the cause of the recent Sterling flash crash and will not bear me well in life. I must also apologise to the patient viewers of my 22 press ups in 22 days challenge. Having only succeeded in 20 push-ups, and having missed day two – this is not looking like a project coated in success.

Anyway let it just be said that it was a busy week – on which I will update you more in a separate post, when I can.

I’m returning today to look at the ingredients of a successful startup – and this week I thought I would spend a bit of time looking at productivity tools.

Related reading: These technology tools will help you do more with less in your small business

Your life has changed (and let’s be honest, not for the better) when you quite consciously click on the iStore, looking for an app to make ‘email something you love again’. (Yes that one exists – go hunt for it yourself and if any of you reignite the fires of passion for your Yahoo account after downloading it, then email me and tell me why). Needless to say I have downloaded (and often scrapped pretty quickly) many many online tools over the last few years – looking for solutions to problems big and small and I thought it would be useful to list a few of them out for you here – so you don’t have to!

My memory isn’t great (there are a lot of productivity apps for that) so I may not get round to listing every last app I’ve stumbled upon here today BUT fear not, just like Baldrick, I have a cunning plan. I will jettison in our hotshot team of Dragons and ask them to add anything else they download to this list whenever they next do – heck this blog might become the startup software survival list in a few years. One simply must think big.

Lists, my grandmother – Mamgu, always said should be well-organised – so mine shall be.  Mamgu (which is Welsh for grandmother, and we’re English – go figure) was actually a productivity rockstar. Her hand got shaky when she was older and she would write me letters used a typewriter with a digital display. I think it would show about ten or fifteen characters before it typed on the paper, so if you made a mistake, booom, you could erase it before it hit the paper. Now that was some cutting edge sh*t back in the day I assure you, and saved her a bunch of money in tippex.



Unless you are shipping snow across the States – don’t get me started, you’re really going to want to have a play with some of these at one point or another

LinkedIn Sales Navigator – Why would you pay 50 bucks or so a month for something that is free? Because LinkedIn isn’t free. Collecting your very up-to-date data – that’s free – but if you want to use LinkedIn to talk to folks you don’t know, you’re going to need to pay.

Unless you’re a recruiter, Sales Navigator is the subscription I’d recommend. LinkedIn tries to get you to use a different interface once you sign up. You probably won’t end up ever looking at it. You’ll just be delighted to now have a few million new friends who will share daily photographs in your feed of inspiring messages. Favourites include photographs of expensive sports cars with overlayed white text about hard work and success. Don’t click ‘like’ on these posts. It won’t help you with sales productivity.

Dux Soup – Go on, admit it, you’ve never heard of it! BOOM, check it out. If you use LinkedIn and you’re into sales automation, you really want to have a look at this. It’s a native Chrome app and it makes your LinkedIn Sales Navigator account very much more valuable.

LinkedIn Autopilot – The nemesis of Dux Soup. I downloaded this, used it for a while and then switched to Dux Soup. They do different things so have a look at both. – Some of the sales guys use this. Having never used it myself, I can’t make much comment but I think its wizardry is guessing email addresses from social media profiles. Can we hide nowhere any more?!

Gmass – This little bad boy lets you mass-email directly from your Gmail account. That’s presumably how it got the name. It was free for a while but I think they’ve started charging a few bucks a month now. It’s a great way of avoiding your email looking ‘spammy’ or ‘newslettery’ or anything else with a ‘y’ on the end.

Pipedrive – This is a CRM really but it’s a pretty neat tool for very small sales teams that just want to push leads along a pipeline. It’s visual – for those of you that are – visual.

SumoMe – This is pretty hardcore sales stuff for your website. These guys know page conversions. If you’re new to traffic generation, you should have a kick around here.

Boomerang – This lives right in Gmail and schedules your mails to go when you like. But clearly I’m not paying for that. Why do people buy this? Because of ‘read receipts’. You know the minute your sales email is opened – and sales folk like that for fairly obvious reasons. There are a bunch of competitors to Boomerang but the sales guys I talk to like Boomerang.


TeamGantt – Never used this in my life, but our Product team swears by it. Gantt gets stuff done on time, and that’s good for you and your startup. So there you go, I endorse it!

Receipt Bank – Awesomeness on your phone. Spend company cash, take a photo, and it’s in Xero. Done. Clearly our CFO will ‘lol’ at this post since he routinely finds my expenses in my bag crumpled up. But look in-principle – this app is just amazing!

Google Apps – Long story in three words: CTO was right. And to think all those years ago I thought Microsoft was the centre of the world. Forgive me cloud computing, I was a humble lawyer. You know now when I start a spreadsheet, I actually do it in Sheets. First!

Xero – Love these guys. If you do need online accounting software – make it Xero.

Dragon Law – Our CFO loves it for legal work, and our Cathy swears by it for e-signing (You should create a free account for that alone!).

Evernote – Everyone struggles to organise their life. I found this and for about a month, Chris and I talked about nothing else. Then we downloaded the Scannable app and it just got better. Then for reasons I don’t recall both of us just stopped using it. But quite frankly you should give it a go. Its beautifully designed. I think I might start using it again.


There is so much SaaS software out there for working together on your software that I’m not going to waste time going too deep here. Needless to say you’ll end up using one or other.

Smartsheet – When we were just starting out we tried to use this to help with early project stuff. I did not take to it at all (but then let’s be fair – see my comments on Basecamp, the thing we actually use (not on Basecamp of course because I would never in my wildest moment of madness actually use it). Anyway this was a few years back now – I’m sure its worth having a play with.

Basecamp – Yes Dragon Law uses this. Do I personally use this? No. Never. Never. Is it useful for our business? Our team thinks so. Should you ever say on a group call at Dragon Law, “It’s on Basecamp”? No, of course you shouldn’t. Ever. Is any of this Basecamp’s fault? No. See my comment on it’s competitors, Smartsheet and Trello.

Trello – Downloaded it. Didn’t really get it. A pretty version of Smartsheet for folks that like their collaboration software to be visual. Anyway the Dragons have spoken, we use Basecamp.


Intercom – Look, this isn’t cheap and it will probably not be a Day One purchase for you, but when you are casing out customer contact software for your app, and you will be, don’t hesitate. This is quite simply the best.  API works like a breeze. It channels chat to the right folks in your business. It does work on your phone and they’ve done a rather jolly good over there at Intercom. 10 points to Gryffindor!

Zendesk  – Oldie but a goodie. Works well alongside Intercom. We used to use Freshdesk but moved on to Zendesk when we implemented Intercom. Our Customer Success team is a lot happier (and thus more successful) now!

Google Hangouts – I guess the secret here is to understand what Hangouts is, or rather what it isn’t. It isn’t Skype nor is it Whatsapp Audio or FaceTime Audio, which are of course totally awesome lifehacks when you’re overseas and working off a data-only plan. You can use Hangouts as a Skype replacement because it does have a call function but you’ll 7 times out of 10 end up mad at your phone and want to do damage requiring screen replacement (if you do – GetFynd are good if you’re in Singapore). No, Hangouts is simply a meeting room. Once you figure this out and you set up your calendar invites clearly (with the link to the meeting in the meeting description so your friends dialing in from their phone can find it) well it works rather well. Boom, con-calls for free.

Outlook for iPhone – I have no idea why Microsoft released a full-blown piece of software for the iPhone for free after about 8 years of competitors doing it. But they did. We assumed it would be horrible and clunky. I tried it for a week (because I have used EVERY single email client for the iPhone and I give them all a week). It’s still on my phone. I kind of like it!

That’s all for now – but bookmark this page – we will keep adding to the list as we try out more of the truly mind-boggling array out there!


Daniel Walker

3 Career Planning & Development Lessons From My Apprentice Asia TV Experience

October 6, 2016

The importance of career planning and development dawns upon many after several years (or decades). By then it’s too late to change career tracks.

For fans of The Apprentice – Asia, Andrea Loh from Singapore would ring a bell. She was the runner-up in the hugely popular first season of the super-hit franchise. Along with the winner of the show (Jonathan), she was also among the youngest participants in the show, going head-to-head with seasoned professionals in the show that was described as the toughest job interview.

The show which puts ‘interns’ through gruelling simulated & real challenges from the corporate world, has excellent lessons for MBA aspirants & students.

Andrea takes us through her on-screen and off-screen journey. She also picked up a few powerful career planning lessons that she generously shares with us.

Career Planning & Development Lessons from my Apprentice experience
by Andrea Loh

(first published on MBA Crystal Ball on 10 Mar 2015)

It all happened in a massive blur – just 4 months ago, I was filming myself on my Macbook in my bedroom after pulling yet another 14-hour workday in Singapore, with only a week to go for the audition deadline I’d seen on TV. Today, I was in a boardroom in Kuala Lumpur — THE Boardroom — awaiting my fate as to whether or not I’d be Tony Fernandes’ pick as his apprentice.

In 2013, The Apprentice Asia went on to be screened in 22 countries all over Asia, ranking first amongst the coveted PMEB viewer segment, and torrented (don’t quote me!) by many others all over the world. But for all its international reach and recognition it brought me, all I could grapple with was the fact that I came so close, only to finish second.

Post-show, I quit my job as a commercial litigation lawyer, packed my bags, and took 4 months off to soul-search. Since January 2014, I’ve lived and worked in Hyderabad, India, as a commercial manager in a technology start-up.

These are 3 career planning lessons that stood out to me from the entire experience, and I hope they encourage you to find your own path as well.

#1: Don’t Put Off The Hard Career Questions

At the Final 4 stage of The Apprentice, we were interviewed by 3 prominent CEOs (General Electric, AirAsia, and a local Malaysian conglomerate) — pretty nerve-racking if you ask me! One question I found difficult to answer was about where I saw myself fitting in within Tony’s empire. In other words, what was the career path I saw myself taking, were I to clinch the job?

Career Path: i) the way that someone progresses in their professional life, typically through a series of occupations with one or more organisations, AND ii) something we think we’re on and sometimes follow blindly.

A recurring question I get is something along the lines of “Seriously? How did you move from Singapore to India?”, served up with a large dose of incredulity. For me, the move was a very straightforward choice. It wasn’t so much about the city; it was more about the job opportunity.

Let me explain: For me, I knew my aim was to work in some type of commercial role, in the “front-end” of a business as it were.

Being a lawyer in private practice, I knew my exposure would be restricted to the legal industry if I followed the “career path” of a typical lawyer. And because law wasn’t giving me relevant skills anymore, all signs were clear that I had to go elsewhere to learn what I required to transition to a commercial role in the future.

So I took the plunge, quit my job, and made the leap! Result: career switch within 2 years. Without those interviews on The Apprentice, I would probably have taken a longer time to come to this conclusion, so I’m sharing this as my first lesson for everyone.

The lesson is not to put off the difficult question of one’s career path, and consequently switch ASAP, because the longer you dither, the more time you waste. Making a career switch is no mean feat, so the earlier you do it, the lesser the opportunity cost.

Andrea shares her experience at The Hub Singapore’s 12th F*ckup Nights

Similarly, the longer you wait, the more entrenched you become in a particular skill set and industry, and the greater the inertia to switch later on. I’ve met plenty of people who tell me they just can’t walk away from their jobs anymore, because starting again would be too much of a sacrifice.

So how can this be applied? My advice would be to first know the area you want to work in— and be honest with yourself here! Don’t be afraid to shoot for the moon, because as the saying goes, then at least you’ll land among the stars. Next, ask yourself whether what you’re currently doing matches or complements where you want to be. If they don’t match, your next move is clear: make that switch ASAP!

#2: Age and Experience Are No Substitutes For Drive and Passion

Being the youngest contestant on The Apprentice was pretty daunting — everyone had years of work to their name, and similarly bloated titles. Oddly enough, the 2 finalists (myself and Jonathan Yabut, the eventual winner) were the youngest girl and boy respectively. Coincidence, or a sign or something more?

Image source: Rappler

Tony himself said that it was passion and drive that brought us to the final two, not necessarily the experience that other candidates had. Here at work in India, a quote we have on our wall is,

my discipline will beat your intellect anytime of the day”.

I’m going to tweak that a tad to say that discipline (and drive, and passion!) will beat experience. In my opinion, people can always learn new skills, but the determination to learn those skills well and quickly is what really counts at work and in life.


Here’s more anecdotal evidence for you: Based on my 2 years in the hierarchical legal industry, age matters because seniority how it functions. It’s a lock-step industry where you get promoted and rewarded based on the number of years of experience you have in practice.

As a contrast, in the fast-paced technology industry which I’m currently in, age is just a number which takes a significant backseat to one’s skills and smarts — you need look no further than all the Silicon Valley twenty-something keyboard geniuses! The world economy’s changing, and we would do well to keep pace with that change.

This is good news because it means you don’t need to have decades of experience in an area before venturing into it. All this ties in very well with my first point — don’t be afraid to make that switch, as long as you’re convinced about the new mountain you want to scale!

The application of this lesson necessarily entails some level of competition between you and other potential candidates, be it a job, a promotion, or a new career. In order to apply this, you’ll have to get out there, realise there is a ton of competition for every spot, and choose not to be daunted by it! (I suppose its a concept that’s more familiar to Indians, all 1.2 billion of you.)

Just remember: Your determination to succeed and bright-eyed bushy-tailed eagerness can and will beat someone else’s experience. And that should be enough reason to give it a go.

#3: Be Fearless

The tasks we had to accomplish each week on The Apprentice were often larger than life. They ranged from re-designing the AirAsia crew uniforms (side note: we won, and they’re wearing our tweaked designs a year on!), to pitching appliances to retail bigwigs from Sogo and Giant Hypermart, conceptualising and executing marketing campaigns for the Volkswagen Beetle and Nestle’s Dolce Gusto capsule coffee machine, and even running the Hilton hotel for a day.

In the finale, we had 3 days to put together a black-tie event from scratch and run the auction at the event (side note: we raised more than RM1.1 million, the equivalent of 2 crore INR, in that one night alone!), where attendees included CEOs, ambassadors, and society elite.

So let’s be frank: I knew next to nothing about these tasks I was supposed to execute. I was trained to read contracts and advocate for my clients in front of a judge, not to determine consumer tastes, execute product pitches, or organise high-profile events. And the only logical response to all this would have been to be scared sh*tless.

But what is it that got me to the final, going through 8 tasks, numerous interviews, and the millions of times I doubted my own capabilities?


This is the final step in the trilogy of lessons I’m sharing here, and really the most abstract of the lot. It’s hard to tell someone “Be Fearless”, when they’re faced with a pile of emails and the daily slog in front of them, as opposed to an intense competition for a job where stakes are high.

What I can do is write from an anecdotal perspective: Whether it was driven by a foolish overestimation of myself, or sheer “fight or flight” mode kicking in, each day I attacked the challenge in front of me like I had nothing to lose.

Fearlessness is crucial to thriving (not merely surviving!) in the workplace because it requires an abandonment of traditional, in-the-box paradigms and behavior in favour of a more gung-ho, risk-taking approach.

It could be advocating testing a different product in the market, speaking up for an unpopular idea in a management meeting, or even simply disagreeing with your boss.

Fearlessness doesn’t exist in a vacuum, by the way. You have to be fearless with reference to something. A good friend of mine always says,

If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.

The corollary to fearlessness is a sense of conviction, belief in something that you hold close to your heart. Fearlessness just means not letting conventions get in the way of something you believe in.

So at the end of the day, I think for anyone contemplating their professional life (and let’s face it, we millenials do that constantly, trying to strike a work-life balance while grappling with unfulfilled dreams), it’s useful to:

  1. ask yourself the difficult questions;
  2. be determined to seek out a path that you’re passionate about; and
  3. act on your decisions with fearlessness.

My career trajectory has been deeply impacted by taking these steps, and while I’ve got a long way ahead of me still, I can rest in the knowledge that I’m getting closer to my goals with each move I make. All the best and press on!

Image source: AXN Website

Which Payroll Method Works Best For You?

October 4, 2016

Have you ever considered all the possible ways that you could process your payroll? With the rapid advancement of technology today, there are plenty of options for your business when it comes to processing employee payroll. They can be classified into two broad categories: Manual or automated.

Most organisations today have progressed into the latter, though there remains a handful of companies who have yet to make the transition.

Here are some of the common methods of payroll processing:

Excel Spreadsheets

We all have been through the horrifying experience of manual payroll calculations using excel spreadsheets. At one glance, it is just spreadsheet after spreadsheet filled with figures that seem to swim about the more you stare at it.

Processing payroll using excel is extremely tedious as you will have to manually input employees’ working hours or calculate overtime pay using excel formulas. One wrong entry could result in incorrect calculations of wages and more often than not, these errors prove difficult to detect amongst the abyss of numbers! Excel spreadsheets also fail to keep up with the constant changes in employment legislation.

Learn how Dragon Law helps you increase efficiency, minimise errors, and keep up-to-date with the latest legislation.

Watch (in Cantonese with English subtitles):


Yet, several small to medium business owners still stick this type of payroll processing method as it is less costly without the technological complications.

Outsourcing Payroll

Outsourcing your payroll involves engaging an external company that handles your company’s payroll functions. Fully-outsourcing the payroll process has considerable benefits:

  1. You free up more time that will allow you to focus critical issues in your business.
  2. Your accounts are managed by the experts – hence you minimise costly payroll mistakes.
  3. Your provider (and not you) have to worry about deadlines for wages and taxes.
Related: Subcontracting? Outline commitments with a Consultancy Agreement

However, the downside of this payroll method is that the costs associated with engaging an external payroll processing company can be very high. Additionally, there is the risk of breach of privacy as sensitive information has to be released to an external party in order to process the payroll.

Payroll Software

Payroll software uses technology to streamline and automate payroll processing. The most obvious benefit of using payroll software is that payroll calculations can be completed within a fraction of the time that is spent calculating manually.

Online payroll software such as Gpayroll provide the ability to automate payroll calculations, and takes care of post-payroll activities such as auto filing of CPF & taxes, salary disbursements and payslips generation. By adopting intelligent payroll software, you can enjoy the same benefits of payroll outsourcing without worrying about high cost.

A full-functional payroll software provider will likely allow you to select additional payroll functions as “add-ons”, on top of the core set of payroll functions. This provides organisations the flexibility in customising their payroll system.

The method of payroll processing chosen depends on a multitude of factors such as size of the business, the organisation’s technological capabilities, the complexity of the payroll and the time and resources invested. Typically, payroll software is an attractive option for most companies due to the flexibility and low costs.

This a guest contribution submitted by Gpayroll. The views expressed here are of the author’s, and Dragon Law may not necessarily subscribe to them. You, too, are invited to share your point of view. Learn more about guest blogging for Dragon Law here.

About Gpayroll

Gpayroll is an easy to use, self-run online payroll service that will redefine and revolutionize the payroll industry. Its intuitive and automated system will help business owners focus on their core business without the hassle of managing payroll. Follow on Facebook

Lessons of a CEO #2

September 30, 2016

Fashion Foreword

Today’s missives are about startup fashion. The great thing about working in a startup/for yourself/at home/[insert any non-corporate setting] is that you get to decide how to dress. The problem about working in a startup/for yourself/at home/[insert any non-corporate setting] is that you have to decide how to dress.

Now, I went to school in the dark ages when uniforms, in grammar schools at least, were pretty much de rigeur, and my school cursed blessed us with thick woolen uniforms that were a symphony of grey from cap to socks. Uniforms are great because everyone looks awful.

I’m not going to go into what I wore at university so let’s skip forward a few years.


Exit university. Buy 70’s three piece suit from charity shop for first job in city. This was a relic at the time and gave me three years of finger pointing fun.

(No don’t be ridiculous, this isn’t me).

Ignoring the fact that I’m now old enough to have suits that show how old I am (and one day will no doubt be worn as fancy dress with no appreciation for their cutting edge-at-the-time fashion sense), it’s actually difficult to really go too far wrong in a suit. All the better if you can be bothered wearing a tie.

The worst that the corporate world can throw at you is ‘smart casual’ – which for those of you young enough to be CEO of a startup  – is approximately defined as ‘wear your work suit but take off your tie before you arrive for drinks, as opposed to after you have started drinking when you will want to put it on your head’.

How millions of men imagine they look at corporate drinks

And then suddenly you work for a startup. You’re responsible for:

  • Business development (that’s a fancy way of saying your startup needs to sell something – see my future post on how this differs enormously from ‘collaboration’ which is startup for, we won’t buy what you sell but you can buy us coffee),
  • Going to cool startuppy events like RISE,
  • Working with coders and engineers,
  • Working with salespeople, and
  • Presenting to VCs… the list goes on.

And the reason this is on my mind this week, switching job roles, as we do every day at a startup –  means changing clothes – and each change is a constant reminder of how totally cool it actually is to be living in this world of startups. So my rundown this week so far:


Sunday (I wasn’t working – it was my first daughter’s birthday party. She’s 7, not 3. Keep up or see my previous post on the importance of attending your children’s birthday parties). I am the one dressed in a space suit slash cardboard robot:

Monday – I meet Chris (our Head of Legal) in the hallway. Like a pair of startup henchmen we are both dressed in the Dragon Law-important meetings-to go to-uniform. This is to the startup world, what the pin stripe and bowler hat was to 80s London. Startup men readers out there, be sure you have your jacket and jeans outfit picked out before you incorporate your company.

(A model more handsome than Chris or I)

Tuesday – As I’m working with the coding team today, I decide to wear flipflops and a hoodie. The cliché is not lost on our CTO who looks more sad for me than amused.

Wednesday – We are pitching a mega law firm today so I make some small effort.

(A startup CEO yesterday preparing his sales pitch)

Thursday – And today we are hitting a startup event so of course it is the obligatory jeans, Dragon Law t-shirt and jacket. All startups jobs should come with the warning that the employee will be expected to wear a black t-shirt with their company’s logo blazoned across it soon after they start and often. Men like me should also have been warned that it is imperative to look good in it.

Well I can’t be good at everything.

Also read: Lessons of a CEO: Nr.1 – Lessons I’ve learnt

Daniel Walker
CEO of Dragon Law

The Guide to Incorporating Your Company in Singapore

September 29, 2016

This guide is designed to provide you with detailed information about registering a company in Singapore. It details the various registration requirements, procedures, and likely timeline for registering a company in accordance with Singapore’s initial and ongoing regulatory requirements.

Registering as a Private Limited liability company in Singapore is the best possible choice for foreign companies as it is recognised as a separate legal entity and shareholders are not liable for any debts incurred beyond the share capital already contributed.

A properly structured Private Limited company enjoys tax efficiencies and little limitations when conducting business in Singapore.    Tweet this


Documents required for incorporation

The Company Registrar requires the following information before the registration process can begin:

  • Your company name,
  • A brief description of your business and the scope of its activities,
  • Paid up capital amount,
  • The particulars of your shareholders,
  • The details of your directors (this includes your mandatory resident director and any additional foreign or local directors),
  • Your registered office address in Singapore, and
  • The particulars of your company secretary.


In order to prepare the required paperwork for registration, your professional firm will also request the following documents*:

  1. For foreign nationals: Passport copy and proof of overseas residence,
  2. A copy of the Singapore identity card for permanent residents or citizens, and
  3. Copies of registration documents of the foreign company. This could include a Certificate of Incorporation and Memorandum and Articles of Association (only applicable for branch) and company extract from the registrar.

*If the documents are in a language other than English, an officially endorsed translated copy is required.

Registration timeline

Over the last decade, the Singapore Registrar of Companies has made a dedicated effort to streamline the incorporation process. As a result, the company registration procedure is now fully-digitised and takes only 2 days (subject to the receipt of complete documents).

Legal made digital:

Try Dragon Law for free


Part 1: Reserving your company name

Before a company can be set up, it needs to have an approved name. Your corporate secretarial service provider can help to file this with the Company Registrar on your behalf.

The approval process generally comes through in less than an hour, regardless of whether it is approved or rejected; provided it does not contain certain professional words such as “bank”, “finance”, “law”, or “media”. If you have submitted an application for a company name containing these professional words, it may require additional approval from the relevant government authority outside of the Registrar. This will stretch the approval process to several weeks. Your chosen company name must satisfy the following criteria:

  • The name you choose must not be identical or too similar to the name of any existing local companies,
  • It cannot infringe any registered trademarks,
  • The name is free of vulgarities or obscene terms or implications, and
  • The name has not already been reserved by another company who intends to incorporate.

Once approved, the name will be reserved for 60 days from the date your application was lodged. You may request for an extension prior to the expiry date.

Part 2: Registering your company

Once the relevant documents are signed, filing the incorporation request and receiving approval from the Registrar of Companies can occur in just a few hours after the name is approved.

Once approval is granted, a registration fee must be paid to the Singapore Registrar of Companies. The fee ranges from S$300 onwards depending on the type of entity registered.

Delays may occur if complexities arise in the case where directors, shareholders or foreign companies are of a particular nationalities or countries. In such cases, there might be requests for additional documentation prior to granting approval.

Part 3: Formalities following incorporation:

Once the company has been set up, the following documents will be issued:

  1. Certificate of Incorporation: The Company Registrar will send an email containing a company registration number which is considered the official certificate of incorporation. Although a hard copy is no longer issued as a matter of course, one can be requested online and collected the next business day from the office of the registrar. Requesting a hard copy incurs a fee of S$50. This applies to both Subsidiary and branch office.
  2. Company Business Profile: This is a document containing the particulars of your company and a PDF file of this can be requested for an application fee. The document will be delivered within an hour of making the request.

These two documents are considered to be sufficient for all legal and contractual purposes for conducting business in Singapore. Additionally, you should also have:

  • Share Certificates for each shareholder (only for subsidiary),
  • A company seal (only for subsidiary),
  • A company rubber stamp, and
  • A share register indicating shares allotted (only for subsidiary).

Corporate bank accounts

Once the company is setup, your company is free to open a corporate bank account at any of the major banks in Singapore. Many of the major banks require your physical presence as part of the procedure. While this is not an absolute rule and there are banks in the city which do not follow this procedure, your physical presence in Singapore will grant you a broader range of options.

Annual filing

The Companies Act requires that you perform certain annual filing processes in order to comply with the relevant commercial regulations in Singapore.

For further reading, download our FREE eBook on Incorporating in Singapore:


The above information is summarised in the following infographic:

Source: Ottavia (download infographic in PDF here)

This a guest contribution submitted by Putra Eddy of Ottavia. The views expressed here are of the author’s, and Dragon Law may not necessarily subscribe to them. You, too, are invited to share your point of view! Learn more about guest blogging for Dragon Law here.

About the Author

Eddy heads Ottavia group operations – a boutique Singapore-based corporate service firm that specialises in company formation, immigration, Accounting & Tax, Business support.

Eddy is an experienced chartered accountant and Alumnus of a Big 4 accounting firm (Deloitte Singapore). He has also gained commercial experiences during his tenure with a public listed firm which helps him to understand the intricacies of day-to-day operations, efficient corporate structuring, M&A activities and corporate compliance and regulations. Connect with Eddy on LinkedIn.