2023 Singapore AGM Insights Report

2023 Singapore AGM Insights Report

2023 Singapore AGM Insights Report

An in-depth report of the future of Singapore AGMs

In post-pandemic 2023 where shareholder meetings have veered from virtual AGMs to physical AGMs, find out the shifts behind these AGM trends and how hybrid meetings utilising webcasts can be a bridge to enhance efficiency and inclusivity.

As Singapore’s leading Meeting Services provider, BoardRoom has conducted 173 shareholder meetings in April 2023, and we share our key findings and takeaways on the future of meetings. In this comprehensive report, we delve deep into the current landscape of AGMs to understand the trend and shift in the various formats. Explore the reasons behind this shift and pick up practical tips in organising a successful AGM, so you can identify opportunities and risks while planning for future meetings.

Download the report to make an informed decision for your next AGM.

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Download 2023 Singapore AGM Insights Report

Related Business Insights

SG-MY-Lumi Meeting Services : Optimising Hybrid AGMs

Hybrid Meetings – Tackling the Venue Challenge Banner

SG-MY-Lumi Meeting Services : Optimising Hybrid AGMs

In our recent webinar, ‘2023 AGMs and EGMS – What Have We Learned’, more than 50% of respondents identified cost as a major concern when considering hybrid meetings. Many believe that hosting hybrid meetings costs twice as much due to the need for physical venues and remote setup. While rising costs and logistical expenses pose challenges, they also create opportunities for creative solutions.

One strategy is downsizing venues, prioritising quality over quantity. The key is to strike a balance between limited physical attendance and remote participation.

Here are our tips on how you can maximise cost efficiency and engagement in your hybrid meetings.

Connect with our Meeting Services team today to discuss on how you can promote a dynamic and inclusive meeting environment that serves all stakeholders.

Contact BoardRoom for more information:

Charlyne Pak

Share Registry Services Manager, BoardRoom Singapore

E: [email protected]

T: +65 6536 5355

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How cash flow forecasts and reporting can help your business through turbulent times

How cash flow forecasts and reporting can help your business through turbulent times Banner

How cash flow forecasts and reporting can help your business through turbulent times

Amid economic uncertainty and volatility, businesses face unique challenges that can significantly impact their financial stability and long-term viability. Chief among these is ensuring sufficient levels of available cash, which is why understanding your business’s current and projected cash flow is crucial.

Ahead, Yang Shuzhen, Director of Regional Accounting for BoardRoom Singapore, explores the cash flow forecast and reporting strategies and key finance metrics that can help strengthen your business’s resilience in demanding times.

Why cash flow reporting is vital for business success

The preparation of cash flow reports promotes good financial management in several ways. Importantly, they gauge your business’s ability to generate cash and use available cash to meet its obligations – both of which are necessary for surviving and thriving amid an economic downturn.

“Put simply, if you don’t have enough money available, you cannot pay for expenses,” says Shuzhen.

The proper tracking of cash inflows and outflows is critical, as it enables businesses to:

  • gain real-time insights into their financial position;
  • create data-driven cash flow forecasts for nimble, informed decision-making and forward planning;
  • identify potential cash shortfalls and take proactive measures to address them;
  • capture opportunities for investment, expansion or increased remuneration where excess cash reserves are identified; and
  • have transparent, trust-building discussions with lenders, investors and suppliers.
Cash flow vital for business success

The requirements for cash flow forecasts and reporting in Singapore

According to the Singapore Financial Reporting Standards, understanding an entity’s cash flows helps users of financial statements evaluate its cash generation capability, needs, and timing. The objective of this Standard is to require the provision of information about the historical changes in cash through a categorised cash flow statement encompassing operating, investing, and financing activities.

Businesses can assess their cash flow situation via the direct method of reporting, which records actual cash receipts and payments, or the indirect method, which adjusts the net profit or loss for non-cash items.

“They can also monitor cash inflows and outflows in their day-to-day operations to understand their net cash flow and forecast future cash availability,” Shuzhen says.

Companies must report their cash flows under three main categories: operating activities, financing activities and investing activities.

“This allows your finance team and stakeholders to understand cash inflows and outflows for each category and make decisions from there,” Shuzhen explains. “For example, investors can decide whether they want to continue investing, depending on their risk appetite.”

Cash flow forecasting and reporting

The difference between unlevered free cash flow and levered cash flow

Free cash flow refers to the amount of cash your business has after accounting for its capital expenditures.

It can appear on your balance sheet as either:

  • Unlevered free cash flow (UFCF) – This is the amount of money your business has available before meeting its financial obligations (eg. debts, expenses, taxes and interest payments). UFCF shows your gross free cash flow and is an important figure for investment bankers, potential buyers and executive staff.
  • Levered free cash flow (LFCF) – This is the amount of money your business retains after meeting recurring short- and long-term financial obligations. LFCF shows what cash can be put towards investments and building equity and is of interest to bankers, buyers, internal staff and board members.

Using these two metrics in your cash flow reporting can help you manage your finances effectively and tailor your cash flow statements for particular stakeholders. However, many Singaporean businesses prefer to assess their cash flow based on the liquidity of their assets.

Best practice for elevating your cash flow management

To support financial stability and growth in times of economic growth or downturn, consider implementing the following cash flow management practices within your organisation.

Reduce expenses and optimise credit terms
Assessing your credit terms can be useful for addressing predicted cash shortfalls. Many businesses stretch payment timelines with vendors while softening credit terms with customers. Other potential strategies for increasing available cash include securing additional funding sources, diversifying revenue streams and exploring alternative vendors.
Optimise excess fund
Explore various market instruments to make the most of your liquid cash. These may be investment opportunities that offer lower interest rates, shorter maturity periods and easy cash access while also generating additional incidental revenue.
Employ robust accounting practices
Employing comprehensive accounting practices that encompass meticulous cash flow tracking, transparent reporting, and forward- looking projectional forecasting is indispensable for navigating financial complexities and enables data-driven decision making.
Use proper accounting software
In contrast to non-specialised software like Excel, advanced accounting programs like BoardRoom’s partner platform Xero leverage automation and AI technology to streamline financial processes (eg. manual checking), reduce human error and provide precise, real-time visibility of cash flow.
Regularly analyse cash flow data and projections
Historical cash flow statements and cash flow forecasts can provide valuable insights into your financial performance. They can empower you to develop realistic budgets, set achievable financial goals, pinpoint areas for improvement, and make informed decisions about new investments, risk mitigation and resource allocation – resulting in greater control over your financial outcomes.

Partner with a professional accounting team

Engaging outsourced accounting services can help you improve your cash flow management while ensuring compliance with Singapore’s financial reporting standards.

For example, many businesses perform their bank reconciliation monthly. This can create difficulties for your finance team, who may need to manually check thousands of transactions and investigate missing or incorrect deposits at the end of the month (particularly if your business receives daily deposits).

According to Shuzhen, BoardRoom’s Accounting Services team often recommends that clients do their bank reconciliation weekly instead.

“For businesses who we’re helping to manage vendor payments and track funds coming in from customers, doing bank reconciliation weekly, or even daily, gives them a more regular picture of cash inflow and outflow,” she says. “This is especially the case if they use a POS system, which often results in a timing difference between transactions recorded in the POS system and the bank statements.”

Enhancing your cash flow tracking with strategies like this is just one way that external accounting support can help make your cash flow management easier, faster and more accurate.

If your organisation operates across borders, an international accounting and tax firm can also assist with complex processes such as foreign currency cash flow management.

Partner with a professional accounting team

Enhance your cash flow reporting with professional support

During turbulent times, businesses that prioritise robust cash flow management gain a competitive advantage, enabling them to weather economic storms and emerge stronger in the face of adversity.

As one of the Asia-Pacific region’s most trusted accounting services providers, BoardRoom has the skills, expertise and experience to boost the accuracy and efficiency of your cash flow management – bolstering the operational resilience of your business.

Our professional team possesses deep, up-to-date knowledge of regional accounting regulations and standards to help satisfy your cash flow management and reporting obligations.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help position your company for long-term success.

Contact BoardRoom for more information:


Yang Shuzhen

Director of Regional Accounting

E: [email protected]

T: +65 6536 5355

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The critical role of a company secretary at each stage of the business lifecycle

The critical role of a company secretary at each stage of the business lifecycle Banner

The critical role of a company secretary at each stage of the business lifecycle

In today’s dynamic and highly competitive business landscape, companies operating in the Asia-Pacific region face an array of challenges at every stage of their lifecycle. From the early stages of incorporation through to periods of growth and even cessation, the need for effective business management is paramount.

For business leaders who are tasked with steering their organisation through difficult times, the support of a skilled and experienced company secretary can prove invaluable.

In this article, we speak to BoardRoom Singapore’s Head of Corporate Secretarial, Eunice Hooi and Director of Corporate Secretarial Services, Kevin Cho, about the critical role of the company secretary and how outsourced company secretarial services can benefit your business at each stage of its journey.

The importance of a company secretary in Singapore

For businesses registered in Singapore, the appointment of a local resident company secretary is mandatory to comply with business regulations.

“Under the Singapore Companies Act, every company must appoint a company secretary within six months of incorporation,” Kevin explains. “Furthermore, the office of a company secretary must not be vacant for more than six months.”

Company secretaries undertake a wide range of corporate advisory duties across multiple business functions. As an officer of the company, they play a key role in ensuring that the company complies and thrives. Therefore, the professional qualifications and track history of a company secretary are vital.

Two key focus areas for company secretaries in Singapore are as follows:

1. Corporate governance

A good company secretary will help champion corporate governance in all aspects of a business, with the view to promote operational integrity, enhance performance and maximise value for stakeholders. This involves ensuring all relevant corporate governance standards are met (including, for public companies, the listing rules of the Singapore Stock Exchange).

“At BoardRoom, we maintain a high standard of corporate governance because we advise our clients on what the best practices in the market are,” Kevin says.

In practice, your company secretary will start by recommending the baseline corporate governance processes that need to be implemented. They will then work with the board of directors and management to enhance the governance framework by considering subsequent policies and procedures adopted by the organisation

As corporate governance is not a one-time exercise, but rather an ongoing process, your company secretary will continually assess your organisation’s corporate governance and suggest improvements to meet evolving standards.

Corporate governance with a Corporate Secretary

2. Regulatory compliance

As part of their duties, company secretaries help to ensure compliance with local and regional regulatory requirements as they evolve. They provide support with meeting regulatory requirements within the prescribed deadlines, whether this be holding your annual general meeting, filing your annual return or updating your statutory registers.

Effective company secretaries also take the initiative to engage with regulatory authorities on a regular basis and participate in public consultations on regulatory changes.

“This ensures that we know what is going on in the regulatory landscape and for some public consultation papers, we obtain the views and feedback from our clients on these proposed regulatory changes,” Eunice says. “We gain a solid understanding of the changes and then help our clients to achieve compliance and get prepared.”

Failure to comply with regulations may result in legal, reputational, and financial repercussions for a business. To safeguard your organisation, it is important to engage a company secretary who takes compliance seriously and has the knowledge and experience to ensure your organisation observes it.

Challenges during incorporation

Establishing a solid foundation is crucial during company incorporation. This means creating an appropriate corporate structure and business model that allows for sustainable cash flow and consistent growth.

Common challenges to expect at the start include:

Ensuring regulatory compliance
Navigating the local regulatory requirements of a new region can be daunting. A company secretary with extensive regulatory knowledge can ensure your new entity satisfies all requirements to minimise the risk of non-compliance.
Choosing an appropriate set-up
Your company secretary can explain the different business structures available in Singapore and advise you on the best set-up for your entity, depending on your objectives (e.g. limited liability company, holding company or trading company). If your company secretary is part of a larger organisation with tax expertise, they will be able to provide guidance on potential tax implications and ensure your company is optimally structured for tax efficiency and manage any potential tax risks.
Maximising the benefits of foreign investment
If you are expanding into Singapore, your company secretary will ensure your operating model allows for tax-efficient profit extraction.

Challenges during growth

As companies expand, they face increased complexity. Larger organisations have multiple shareholders and stakeholders to manage, while smaller businesses may have less experience and knowledge to draw on.

Common challenges in this phase include:

  • Fostering a shared vision – Various stakeholders may have conflicting ideas about the growth plans for the company. Company secretaries can facilitate communication between stakeholders to pave a harmonious path forward.
  • Disagreements between shareholders – The company secretary can document issues tabled for discussion at board meetings. In his or her capacity as an impartial party, the company can then rely on the minutes of the meetings when taking steps to resolve the issues.
  • Acquiring new business – In the acquisition of a new business, a company secretary can advise and assist on the corporate exercise to effect the transfer.
  • Expanding into new regions – If you are setting up a company in another country, a company secretary with regional presence can advise you on how to achieve your business objectives while complying with the local legislations.

Challenges during the end stages

Reaching the end stages of a business entity can be both an exciting and daunting time as you prepare to transition to new endeavours or capitalise on your achievements.

Common challenges in this time of change include:

  • Choosing the best path forward – A company secretary, together with a corporate finance advisor, can assist with determining the optimal route for your business’s end stages. They can help weigh the pros and cons of selling or liquidating the business versus pursuing an IPO and other avenues and then collectively guide you through the transition process.
  • Ensuring compliance – Your company secretary can help ensure all necessary documentation is filed correctly and that no regulatory obligations or duties are outstanding.
  • Contract management – You may need to terminate or amend contracts with different stakeholder groups, from suppliers to employees. Your company secretary, together with a lawyer, can assist to review existing contracts, advise on termination procedures and help negotiate with parties to ensure a smooth process.

The benefits of outsourced corporate secretarial services

Working closely with the CEO and/or CFO of a company, the company secretary can provide immense value to your business not only when times are tough, but also when business is booming. With a capable company secretary by your side, your company is able to navigate obstacles and capture opportunities in all economic climates.

The question is, will you hire a company secretary internally or engage an external team?

Outsourced corporate secretarial services are becoming an increasingly popular option, with many businesses seeking a company secretarial solution that provides:

Time savings
With an external team handling your company secretarial duties, your executive team are freed up to focus on core operations and growth initiatives.
Access to a wealth of knowledge and resources
With access to an entire team of company secretarial experts, your company is supported to achieve outstanding regulatory compliance and address future challenges before they become an issue.
Compliance support during expansion
Service providers with a global presence are familiar with international regulatory obligations, so they can ensure a smooth and compliant expansion process.
A full suite of complementary services
Growth affects all areas of a business, not just the company secretarial function. Engaging a provider which offers complementary services means you can easily access support across business functions.
Business continuity
The departure of an internal company secretary can cause undue stress and financial outlay in the hurry to find a replacement, especially given that the Singapore Companies Act stipulates that the seat cannot be empty for more than 6 months. As such, outsourcing the role ensures you are never without company secretarial support and do not risk falling foul of the requirement under the Companies Act.
External company secretaries can provide unbiased advice and support because they are not influenced by internal company politics or personal interests, and hence are independent parties.
A strong referral network
A top-tier provider will be able to direct you to trusted third-party experts as needed so that potential issues are avoided.

Engage world-class corporate secretarial services

BoardRoom has been providing high-quality company secretarial services since 1968. Since then, we have developed a strong track record of helping businesses across all industries achieve their goals.

“We have a formidable pool of talented, experienced staff who provide support to small- and medium-sized local businesses as well as large multinational corporations,” Kevin says.

As a full-service provider, BoardRoom can assist you with all aspects of running a business, from accounting, tax and payroll, to share registry and environmental, social and governance.

“Our company secretarial team has strong technical expertise, industry knowledge and commercial experience, which ensures clients receive specific, high-quality advice for the situation,” Eunice adds.

“What sets us apart is our dedication to seeing our clients thrive as we genuinely want our clients to do well. We take the time to gain an in-depth understanding of your business and goals, then work as an extension of your team to make your vision a reality,” Eunice sums up.

For more information, please contact us today.

Engage world-class corporate secretarial services

Contact BoardRoom for more information:


Eunice Hooi

Head of Corporate Secretarial

E: [email protected]

T: +65 6536 5355

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Tips for running hybrid AGM webcasts in Singapore

Tips for running hybrid AGM webcasts in Singapore Banner

Tips for running hybrid AGM webcasts in Singapore

The arrival of COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of digital technologies for the seamless execution of general meetings in Singapore. Supported by legislative changes, the pandemic ushered in an era where virtual platforms became the backbone of these meetings, revolutionising the way businesses and organisations convened and interacted.

The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Alternative Arrangements for Meetings) Orders allowing businesses to hold virtual general meetings in Singapore ceased from 1 July 2023. However, in recognition of the many benefits afforded by virtual and hybrid meeting technologies, Singapore introduced a new Bill on 9 May 2023, allowing businesses to continue holding their general meetings electronically if desired. However, for public companies listed on Singapore Exchange (SGX), general meetings would have to be held either in physical or hybrid format.

With legislation supporting businesses to provide stakeholders the option to attend meetings virtually or in person, it appears that hybrid meetings are set to be an ongoing Annual General Meetings (AGMs) trend.

Charlyne Pak, Manager Share Registry Services for BoardRoom Singapore, explores the reasons behind the surge in hybrid AGMs and offers expert tips to help you run hybrid meetings successfully.

The benefits of hybrid AGMs

Hybrid AGMs are becoming commonplace in Singapore and around the world due to the raft of benefits they can provide to businesses and shareholders alike.

The benefits of hybrid AGMs

Three key advantages of hybrid AGMs are:

Greater engagement
Positive ESG factors
Cost and time savings

Greater engagement

By allowing attendees to join from anywhere in the world, hybrid AGMs, or any type of general meeting, can help to improve accessibility and stakeholder engagement.

“One of the main reasons companies adopt hybrid meetings is because they want more interaction with shareholders who want to attend in person while at the same time giving shareholders the flexibility to choose which mode they want to participate in,” Charlyne explains. “Hybrid formats allow for a wider reach of stakeholders, as attendance is not limited by location.”

The convenience of hybrid meetings also means that shareholders are less likely to skip them due to conflicting schedules.

“Shareholders who hold stakes in multiple companies can now attend multiple AGMs in one day, as there’s little to no travelling time in between,” says Charlyne.

Positive ESG factors

By leveraging technology to bridge distances, businesses can enhance their response to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in several ways.

“Hybrid AGMs can help reduce the environmental impact of meetings because attendees who would normally travel can instead participate remotely,” she says.

A reduced need for travel leads to less carbon emissions, thus promoting sustainable business practices.

Hybrid AGMs can also help foster good corporate governance, with higher attendance levels across stakeholder groups helping to promote transparency, accountability and relationship building – three critical components of responsible business management.

Cost and time savings

Hybrid meetings can provide businesses with valuable time and cost savings, which can then be redirected into progressing primary business goals. A reduced number of in-person attendees can help businesses to save on costs by downsizing their catering and event space.

By leveraging digital technology, hybrid meetings are also likely to proceed more efficiently than fully physical meetings; since COVID-19, average meeting times in Singapore have seen a remarkable 62.5% drop.

How to prepare for a hybrid AGM in Singapore

Businesses can help ensure a successful hybrid AGM by taking the following steps in the preparation stage.

Start preparing early
Commence preparations at least three months in advance to block out attendees’ calendars, allow time for testing and avoid costly last-minute changes or rescheduling.
Review local regulations and standards
Singapore regulations are continually updated to enhance the AGM experience for all businesses and their shareholders. To ensure compliance, familiarise yourself with the latest regulatory requirements and service standards. A trusted corporate secretarial services provider and share registrar can ensure your company remains compliant.
Arrange for site visit and equipment testing
For a seamless experience, select a venue that easily accommodates in-person and virtual attendees, and invest in high-quality audiovisual equipment. Test all equipment beforehand to minimise the risk of technical glitches.
Test internet connectivity
Test your network to ensure it is stable and secure and prepare a backup network in case of connectivity issues on the day.
Work with a reliable meeting solutions provider
BoardRoom, partnering with Lumi Global, provides a meetings solution that is secure, user-friendly, and also able to meet the regulatory requirements for live voting and Q&A (a vital diversity and inclusion factor). Familiarise yourself with the platform and arrange on-the-day technical support to ensure quick, professional handling of any unexpected issues.
Hold a dress rehearsal early
Unexpected technical issues can cost money and time and harm your reputation. Dress rehearsals allow time for your board, chairman and relevant stakeholders to familiarise themselves with meeting procedures and provide the opportunity to iron out potential issues and create a contingency plan.
Provide clear instructions to attendees
Provide clear meeting instructions to all attendees, detailing the process for joining the hybrid meeting, accessing relevant documents and participating in Q&As and polls.

As a matter of best practice, a reputable meeting services provider will adopt these steps during the preparation stages of an AGM, seamlessly reducing the burden on companies. By leveraging their expertise, they will ensure a streamlined hassle-free experience.

Tips for conducting a successful hybrid AGM

When it comes to ensuring the smooth and effective running of a hybrid AGM webcast in Singapore, Charlyne has the following three straightforward tips for business leaders:

  • designate a moderator;
  • request attendees turn phones off or on silent; and
  • foster engagement with both virtual and in-person attendees.

“Firstly, as there are two different channels for receiving questions – in person and via the real-time messaging platform – always designate a moderator from your company,” she says.

A sharp moderator can help guide the flow of discussion and manage questions raised during Q&A, encouraging valuable engagement across stakeholder groups, and also helps the Chairman to control the meeting time.

“Secondly, request all attendees to turn off their mobile devices or switch them to silent mode,” Charlyne continues. This will minimise distractions and interruptions during the meeting and help attendees stay focused on matters at hand.

“Thirdly, it is important to foster a sense of fairness among in-person and virtual attendees,” Charlyne says. “This involves making sure all attendees are equally engaged throughout the meeting instead of defaulting to those present in the room.”

Business leaders can foster engagement and satisfaction among all shareholders by:

  • dedicating equal airtime to in-person and remote attendees during the live Q&A; and
  • providing remote attendees with tokens of equal value to any perks provided to physical attendees (such as refreshments or vouchers).

What to do after your hybrid AGM

The period following an AGM presents a golden opportunity to evaluate the event’s success and make improvements to your conduct of hybrid general meetings.

After your AGM, it is time to:

  • Analyse attendee feedback – Gathering feedback from all attendees will assist in refining future meetings. Consider including a QR code at the end of the final presentation directing shareholders to a feedback form.
  • Evaluate the success of the hybrid format – Assess the effectiveness of the hybrid format in achieving your desired outcomes (such as increased engagement and inclusivity) and compare attendance rates with other formats to gauge overall success.
  • Start planning for future AGMs – Use the insights gained from the evaluation process to refine and enhance future AGMs. Opportunities for improvement may lie in adopting new technologies, enhancing your engagement strategies and addressing any shortcomings identified.
What to do after your hybrid AGM

Engage a reputable meeting services provider for the best results

From 1 October 2022, in order for shareholders to make decisions on an informed basis, all SGX-listed companies must include live polling and Q&A at their general meetings. A professional meeting services provider can support with these practices and all aspects of the meeting process from start to finish to ensure a compliant and successful general meeting.

Top general meeting service providers in Singapore tend to have the following:

  • strong knowledge of local regulations and standards and the ability to help you achieve strict compliance;
  • a wealth of experience in running General Meetings in different formats and implementing contingency plans for dealing with unfortunate situations like power outages; and
  • an end-to-end service that includes a post-meeting debrief to explore what was done well and what can be done better next time.
Tailored support for hybrid meetings in Singapore

Tailored support for hybrid meetings in Singapore

Hybrid meetings have emerged as the future of general meetings, with many Singaporean businesses embracing digital technologies to deliver inclusive and productive meeting experiences for their shareholders.

BoardRoom has a long history of helping businesses throughout the Asia-Pacific region make the most of their General Meetings. Today, we proudly conduct general meetings for almost 47% of companies on the Singapore Stock Exchange and have a strong reputation for delivering exceptional outcomes for clients.

As part of our comprehensive share registry service, we assist with all aspects of running physical, virtual and hybrid meetings in Singapore. Our experienced share registry team specialises in providing a professional, tailored meeting service that aligns with your unique business needs.

Contact us today to find out how we can assist with running your next AGM. To learn more about the future of annual general meetings in Singapore, download our AGM trend infographic so you will be equipped to make informed decisions for your next AGM

Contact BoardRoom for more information:

Charlyne Pak

Share Registry Services Manager, BoardRoom Singapore

E: [email protected]

T: +65 6536 5355

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The benefits of hybrid meetings and virtual AGMs in Singapore

The benefits of hybrid meetings and virtual AGMs in Singapore

The benefits of hybrid meetings and virtual AGMs in Singapore

The global shift towards greater digitalisation has had significant impacts on the Singapore corporate sphere, with the COVID-19 pandemic serving to accelerate a sector-wide uptake of digital communication technologies to support business continuity.

While the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Alternative Arrangements for Meetings) Orders allowing businesses to hold meetings electronically ended on 1 July 2023, a new Bill has already come into effect, giving businesses (non-SGX listed) the option to continue conducting their meetings virtually if they wish – even if physical meetings are stipulated in their company constitution.

Now that businesses have experienced the advantages of electronic meetings first-hand, the shift towards virtual and hybrid formats is expected to be an enduring Annual General Meetings (AGMs) trend.

Ahead, Charlyne Pak, Manager Share Registry Services for BoardRoom Singapore, explains how both small and large businesses can benefit from holding hybrid and virtual meetings in Singapore. We will also explore key considerations for ensuring your meetings foster positive communication and meaningful connection between shareholders.

Key advantages of hybrid meetings and virtual AGMs in Singapore

A major advantage of virtual meetings is that they can be logistically easier to arrange than on-site meetings. This is particularly the case when the board of directors are located overseas.

“On-site meetings may require transport, venue preparation, accommodation and catering, while virtual meetings allow participants to dial in from wherever they’re located,” Charlyne explains. “This makes running the meeting easier logistically and saves on costs.”

Benefits AGM meeting

Additional advantages of hybrid and virtual meetings include:

Increased flexibility and convenience
Participants can choose whether to attend physically or remotely, depending on their location and preferred mode of communication.
Enhanced diversity and inclusion (D&I)
Shareholders who are based overseas or have mobility or health issues (e.g. immunodeficiency) can easily attend remotely, which supports inclusivity and engagement levels.
Improved communication
Real-time messaging functions allow for better communication during Q&A sessions, as it removes the stress or pressure that can come with asking questions in-person.
Time savings
Digital capabilities such as pre-meeting registrations, integrated virtual voting and live Q&A help to streamline meeting management.
Corporate sustainability
The need for travel, paper and catering is minimised or removed, resulting in less wastage and a smaller carbon footprint.
Bolstered reputation
Leveraging new technologies symbolises your company’s eagerness to stay at the forefront of evolving business practices.

The benefits of virtual AGMs for smaller businesses

The time and cost savings of electronic AGMs make them a popular option for many smaller businesses, who usually have limited financial resources and therefore must prioritise the effective management of budgets.

“Virtual meetings can be more cost-effective as you don’t have travelling, accommodation or venue booking expenses,” says Charlyne.

The real-time engagement tools offered by digital technology have cut meeting times dramatically, with the average meeting now lasting 30 minutes, down from 80 minutes in 2019.

Digital technology can also assist small businesses in making new connections and fostering strong partnerships due to the improved networking and collaboration opportunities it can provide.

The benefits of virtual AGMs for smaller businesses

The benefits of hybrid AGMs for larger businesses

As COVID-19 restrictions eased, many businesses – particularly larger organisations with numerous shareholders – learned how to run a hybrid AGM so that overseas shareholders could still enjoy the convenience of attending remotely.

According to Charlyne, the flexibility of hybrid meetings can help boost participation numbers, leading to stronger engagement and communication among members of your organisation.

“With hybrid meetings, you can connect with a larger group of shareholders with no geographical limitations,” Charlyne says. “However, less tech-savvy shareholders can still choose to attend in person.”

Hybrid meetings also allow companies to streamline in-meeting communication through the use of digital tools.

“Participants can raise questions virtually via real-time messaging, where the moderator can categorise similar/repeated questions for the Chairman to reply. This helps in reducing the duration of the meeting,” Charlyne says.

What to consider when running a hybrid or virtual AGM in Singapore

Business leaders can maximise the benefits of hybrid and virtual meetings (AGM, EGM) by paying attention to the following factors.

Meeting format
Both virtual and hybrid settings for your AGM offer distinct unique benefits. Make your selection based on your business requirements and shareholder demographics.
Communication management
To comply with regulatory standards and support good communication, work with reliable meeting service providers. BoardRoom, partnering with Lumi Global, provides meeting solutions with features such as real-time voting, messaging, polling, and document repository which provides shareholders easy access to all documents. Make sure to designate a moderator to manage incoming virtual messages and questions.
Practise and preparation
Prior to the meeting, it is important to perform a dry run (dress rehearsal) and craft detailed chairman scripts. This will help ensure the seamless execution of your meeting and instil confidence amongst attendees, leading to enhanced meeting outcomes.
Good governance
A reputable meeting services provider can ensure good corporate governance by facilitating transparent and inclusive communication, promoting effective decision making and support in maintaining accurate records.
Risk mitigation
To reduce the risk of disruptions, work with your meeting services provider to put contingency plans in place in the event of technical failure. By partnering with Lumi Global, the world’s leading end-to-end hybrid and virtual meeting provider, BoardRoom is able to switch to a backup server almost instantly should there be a power failure during your meeting, thus maintaining seamless continuity.
Privacy and security
Ensure internal data privacy and security protocols are followed to protect sensitive information shared before, during and after the meeting.

Make the most of your meetings with BoardRoom

Amid digital transformation in Singapore and around the world, electronic meetings have emerged as powerful tools for businesses to adapt and thrive. Well-conducted hybrid and virtual AGMs provide a valuable opportunity to engage meaningfully with shareholders and gain a strong understanding of stakeholder expectations.

At BoardRoom, we are ready to handle all your meeting management, polling and live engagement needs as part of our premium share registry services.

With a commitment to delivering quality service, we strive to ensure the effective and compliant running of your general meetings in line with local regulations and the Singapore Standard for Vendors of Virtual/Hybrid General Meeting Systems.

Our dedication to positive client outcomes means we are now Singapore’s leading meeting services provider, with 47% of public-listed companies choosing BoardRoom to conduct their general meetings.

Contact us to discuss how our comprehensive share registry and meeting services can benefit your business.

Make the most of your meetings with BoardRoom

Contact BoardRoom for more information:

Charlyne Pak

Share Registry Services Manager, BoardRoom Singapore

E: [email protected]

T: +65 6536 5355

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The changing face of meetings and AGMs, from virtual to in-person. What to expect?

The changing face of meetings, from virtual to in-person. What to expect Banner

The changing face of meetings and AGMs, from virtual to in-person. What to expect?

With recent changes in regulatory requirements and shareholder activism, we have observed significant differences in how companies conduct their meetings to ensure regulatory compliance and meet shareholders’ expectations. Adoption of technology such as AGM webcasts and ESG factors have also influenced the way companies conduct their meetings.

We have compiled valuable insights reflecting the dynamic shifts that have taken place in the world of Annual General Meetings (AGMs) for the April-May meeting season in Singapore. Whether you’re an investor or a company executive, our infographic is your gateway to understanding the dynamics of virtual, physical and hybrid AGMs in Singapore.

Download our AGM Trends Infographic today so you will be equipped to make informed decisions for your next AGM.

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ESG in Singapore: A top priority for growing businesses

ESG in Singapore: A top priority for growing businesses

With environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues now top of mind for investors, consumers and communities around the world, businesses are quickly embracing sustainable practices to secure their long-term success.

Many governments are committing to net zero targets in an effort to address climate risk, meaning businesses must now take action to minimise their carbon footprint and help deliver these targets. In Singapore, ESG expectations among stakeholders are prompting businesses to start tracking their emissions to meet demands for transparency and traceability in supply chain management.

Further, climate reporting is now mandatory for public Singapore companies, and the Singapore stock exchange (SGX) has released a list of 27 recommended core ESG metrics for companies to report against. Many forward-thinking private companies are choosing to use these metrics too.

In this article, we speak to Tina Thomas, Head of ESG for BoardRoom, about the key ESG issues impacting decision-making in business today and the top strategies Singaporean companies can use to safeguard their future.

What is ESG risk?

ESG practices should now be ingrained into companies’ operations and risk management plans. According to Tina, listed companies that ignore ESG matters may encounter major regulatory compliance problems (potentially resulting in legal action or loss of their licence to operate) and experience a loss of customers. For private companies, ESG disclosure is not yet mandatory, but it must be part of their long-term strategy. “Customers now have the choice of whether to buy from a sustainable company, so there’s a market risk if companies ignore ESG matters,” she says. Specific ESG risks vary between businesses depending on the nature of their operations.

ESG Risk

Some risks now critical for many businesses include:

1. Environmental risk

Businesses with carbon-intensive operations and products should implement strategies to reduce emissions and save energy.
Waste management
Companies must assess how they manage their waste, whether hazardous or non-hazardous, liquid or solid.
Water management
With water stress on the rise, businesses should consider the water source used in their operations (especially manufacturing businesses) and switch to sustainable procurement methods where possible.

2. Social risk

Issues that can drive business risk include worker rights, gender and racial equality, child labour and environmental effects on people’s health. Companies should also support employee wellbeing and provide valuable training opportunities. This helps attract and retain talent and offers a range of flow-on benefits (e.g., better productivity and efficiency) for improved business outcomes.

3. Governance risk

Good governance is essential for ESG success as it not only guarantees that businesses operate safely and fairly within their respective sectors, but also ensures responsible practices in areas such as borrowing, internal risk management, anti-money laundering (AML), and compliance with relevant acts and regulations. A lack of good governance will not go unnoticed by stakeholders.

What ESG opportunities can I explore?

In addition to mitigating ESG risk, Singaporean businesses can also build their resilience by being first movers in the ESG space and making use of new opportunities the market poses for companies.

“If a company does not understand the ESG landscape, they might miss all the opportunities available,” Tina says. “For example, some companies are introducing plant-based products to capture new clients. Or there may be opportunities for expansion, new technology or market streams.”

From a social perspective, a strong corporate governance framework is crucial for businesses as it empowers them to establish and enforce ethical standards, ensuring fair work conditions and promoting transparency across their supply chains to responsibly monitor and protect the rights of workers. This strategy benefits not only your business but society at large.

ESG opportunities

What are the benefits of sustainable practices?

Sustainable practices can benefit Singaporean companies in various ways, depending on the nature of the business and its industry.

Some prominent practices include:

Adopting a low-carbon business mode
This protects the longevity of carbon-intensive businesses for whom renewable energy poses an existential threat.
Implementing efficiency enhancements
Manufacturing businesses that enhance the efficiency of their machines, operations or workspaces can enjoy cost savings.
Improving working conditions
Good working conditions improve employee morale and productivity.

Initiatives like these have additional benefits, including improved brand reputation, more robust regulatory compliance and reduced policy costs (e.g. carbon tax).

How a diverse workforce promotes social responsibility

In today’s rapidly changing world, the benefits of sustainable practices and diversity and inclusion are more interconnected than ever before. Embracing a diverse workforce and fostering an inclusive environment presents a valuable opportunity for businesses to perform better and be more innovative.

“Without diversity, people think alike and have the same or similar views, so there’s little to no creativity,” Tina explains.

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is a positive social factor for employees, while it can be a governance strength for board members.

“The SGX emphasises that the boards have to be diverse – this is mainly to champion the idea that having the right mix of individuals with the right education, background and experience level is important for ensuring a business is well run,” Tina says.

Furthermore, embracing D&I helps to create an open workplace culture that is accepting of differences and more adaptable to change in an uncertain world.

How does ESG impact business decisions?

ESG is now shaping business decisions to a significant degree. Whether a company is buying or investing in a business or improving parts of its own group, ESG considerations are now a standard part of commercial and financial due diligence processes.

Primary ESG considerations commonly include:

  • climate change and its potential impacts on the business (e.g. the threat of natural disasters and drought);
  • resource depletion and the limits it may place on resource consumption within a business’ operations;
  • possibilities for emissions reduction and the conservation of resources (like water);
  • the potential to adopt a circular business model that enables reuse and recycling to maximise resource efficiency and minimise waste; and
  • the importance of good corporate governance, a hallmark of well-run companies that builds trust among consumers and investors while reducing compliance risk.

To ensure business decisions consider key ESG factors, leaders should develop a comprehensive ESG strategy and engage with stakeholders to promote open dialogue. “They also need to invest in sustainable business practices and monitor and report on their progress,” Tina says.

ESG Impact

How do I promote strong corporate governance?

An effective way to drive good governance in your organisation is by ensuring senior management and board members take ownership of ESG performance.

“These leaders play a key role in setting the tone from the top in terms of following governance standards and responding to ESG risks and opportunities,” Tina says.

It is also essential for leaders to fully understand ESG, as this will empower them to make strategic decisions around resource management and risk mitigation and successfully lead their business through ESG transformation.

What support is available for ESG in Singapore?

When it comes to proactively responding to ESG risks and opportunities, the assistance of an experienced ESG services provider can be invaluable.

BoardRoom’s ESG Singapore team helps businesses throughout the Asia-Pacific region translate their ESG efforts into valuable competitive advantages, including:

  • a steadier investor base;
  • reduced cost of capital;
  • increased access to financing;
  • higher staff engagement; and
  • stronger customer loyalty.

As a globally minded firm with offices throughout Asia Pacific, we leverage the diversity of our teams to deliver high-quality, carefully tailored ESG solutions.

ESG Support Singapore

BoardRoom’s holistic ESG services

The assistance BoardRoom provides as part of our end-to-end ESG service includes (but is not limited to):

  • undertaking a materiality assessment to identify which ESG issues your company should respond to and report on;
  • conducting a gap analysis to evaluate compliance with stakeholder expectations;
  • gathering valuable ESG data with our innovative, easy-to-use ESG Access platform; and
  • setting data-driven key performance indicators and targets for ESG performance.

We provide full ESG life-cycle management for all types of businesses, from growing SMEs new to ESG to large multinational corporations wanting to take their sustainability practices to the next level.

Wherever you are on your ESG journey, we are ready to assist.

Elevated ESG reporting

Our ESG professionals can also help you enhance your ESG performance in the eyes of key stakeholder groups through robust, efficient sustainability reporting.

Public and private companies alike should adhere to globally recognised frameworks to ensure their sustainability reports meet stakeholder expectations.

Publicly listed companies must now disclose their ESG management in line with the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations. Many businesses also follow the Global Reporting Initiative Standards in their reporting.

With our guidance, you can confidently use the best ESG frameworks and methodology for your business.

Realise your ESG goals

Contemporary businesses must ensure they are effectively responding to ESG risks and opportunities if they are to thrive within Singapore, Asia and beyond. BoardRoom’s ESG experts can help implement a customised ESG strategy for your organisation, promoting ongoing sustainability and profitability.

We offer a full suite of complementary corporate services in addition to ESG support, including company secretarial, company incorporation, accounting and bookkeeping, payroll, share registry, employee stock option plans, XBRL conversion and filing, tax advisory and filing and international accounting and tax. This means you can easily combine services to ensure your business is fully supported to achieve its expansion goals.

Contact us to find out more about elevating ESG in Singapore.

Contact BoardRoom for more information:


Tina Thomas

Head of Environmental, Social and Governance

E: [email protected]

T: +65 6536 5355

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Maximise company formation with a knowledgeable company secretary

Maximise company formation with a knowledgeable company secretary

Maximise company formation with a knowledgeable company secretary

For business leaders looking to expand internationally, Singapore is an attractive destination. Its competitive, high-income economy offers enticing growth prospects for new companies, and its tax and regulatory systems are purposefully designed to benefit foreign investors.

However, starting a business in Singapore can be complex, especially if you are new to the region. This is why it is crucial to appoint a highly skilled company secretary who can help set you up for success.

A company secretary with extensive tax expertise or who works closely with a tax advisor, can provide tailored advice on the ideal business structure while also ensuring your new entity meets its regulatory requirements and manages compliance risks from the outset.

In this article, we speak with Eunice Hooi, Head of Corporate Secretarial for BoardRoom Singapore, about the role of the company secretary in business today and the immense benefits of appointing a company secretary with strong taxation knowledge when setting up your business.

The role of a company secretary in Singapore

Throughout the lifecycle of a business, company secretaries undertake many important duties across various business functions. Top-tier company secretaries with tax expertise or who work with a team of tax professionals are an invaluable asset to your executive team.

Three core responsibilities that lie with the company secretary are as follows.

1. Ensuring a seamless incorporation process

When setting up an entity in Singapore, there are defined sets of pre-incorporation requirements and post-incorporation obligations you must satisfy per the ​​Singapore Companies Act and related regulations.

An experienced company secretary can guide you through every stage of incorporation, providing specialist advice on the various business structure options as follows:

  • What are the different business structures available in Singapore
  • How to choose an appropriate business structure
  • What are the legal and tax implications involved in selecting the appropriate business structure
  • What are the available tax incentives and exemptions for the chosen business structure
Ensuring a seamless incorporation process

As an example, Eunice explains “the introduction of Variable Capital Company (VCC) legislation in January 2020 has made Singapore an attractive destination for asset management in the Asia Pacific region. In addition to supporting with incorporation requirements, VCC’s in Singapore may qualify for a tax incentive application, subject to meeting certain qualifying conditions.”

In addition, the experienced company secretary can guide you in choosing the company’s financial year-end (FYE). The company’s financial year-end represents the final day of its accounting period. You may choose any date, but the common choices in Singapore include 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December.

Eunice explains that there are three key reasons why this is a critical decision for companies incorporating in Singapore:

    The company is required to hold its annual general meeting (AGM) within six months post their FYE, and file its annual returns to Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) within seven months after FYE. This is specifically in reference to private companies
    The company is required to submit an Estimated Chargeable Income (ECI) to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) within three months post their FYE. Briefly, ECI is an estimate of the company’s taxable profits (after deducting tax-deductible expenses) for a specific Year of Assessment
    If the company is a start-up, they may be eligible for the Start-Up Tax Exemption (SUTE) for the first three consecutive years of assessment. For a company to maximise the benefits of this tax exemption, it is best to make the company’s first basis (tax) period as long as possible within the 12-month period

    “Therefore, you may consider choosing the first FYE to fall on the last day of the 11th month from the date of incorporation to maximise the coverage of the SUTE benefits,” says Eunice.

    For example, if the company is incorporated on 15 May 2023, they may choose its first FYE date as 30 April 2024. This means that the company’s first set of accounts will close on 30 April 2024. As a result, the company’s basis (tax) period will be from 15 May 2023 to 30 April 2024.

    Staying up to date with local regulations

    2. Staying up to date with local regulations

    By staying informed across all the local laws, rules and regulations pertaining to your organisation, a company secretary helps you remain fully compliant for the life of your business.

    Good company secretaries are extremely familiar with the Companies Act and regulations set by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), as well as the listing rules and reporting requirements of the Singapore Stock Exchange. They are responsible for ensuring the timely submission of regulatory reports and providing astute advice to directors and senior managers on company compliance matters.

    As a result, your company’s risk of being penalised for non-compliance is drastically reduced.

    To remain informed about shifting regulations, company secretaries usually take the initiative to engage with regulatory authorities on a regular basis and/or participate in the consultation papers issued by authorities. In doing so, they gain a solid understanding of changes in advance and can assist your organisation in achieving compliance before the changes come into effect.

    3. Maintaining productive relationships with stakeholders

    Effective company secretaries maintain close relationships with the key stakeholders in an organisation (for example, directors, regulators and senior management). Depending on your company’s unique structure, operations and needs, these relationships will look different.

    Considering the high-level advisory role your company secretary will need to perform, appointing a provider with exceptional interpersonal communication and relationship management skills is essential.

    Maintaining productive relationships with stakeholders

    An overview of corporate tax in Singapore

    On the World Bank’s global Ease of Doing Business ranking, Singapore consistently comes in second. One reason for this is the nation’s investor-friendly tax system.

    Singapore also offers a variety of incentive schemes that cater to different types of businesses. Currently, and as long as you satisfy the necessary criteria, some notable schemes your business could take advantage of include:

    • Start-up tax exemption (SUTE) – a tax exemption for new start-up companies of a 75% exemption on your first $100,000 of normal chargeable income* and a further 50% exemption on the next $100,000 of normal chargeable income* for the first three consecutive tax years.
    • Partial tax exemption – a 75% tax exemption on your first $10,000 of normal chargeable income* and a further 50% exemption on the next $190,000 of normal chargeable income* [*Normal chargeable income refers to income that is subject to tax at the prevailing Corporate Income Tax rate of 17%.]
    • Global Trader Programme (GTP) – a concessionary tax rate of 10% or 5% for well-established companies that have set up their regional trading base in Singapore
    • Regional/International Headquarters Award – a concessionary tax rate of 10% or 15% apply to the qualifying income of companies that establish their headquarter activities in Singapore.

    The Singaporean government regularly introduces new tax incentives to spur economic growth and build corporate resilience, with many exciting initiatives recently announced in the Singapore Budget 2023.

    The benefits of appointing a company secretary with strong tax knowledge

    If you engage a company secretary whose expertise is limited to company incorporation, you may fail to capture all the valuable growth opportunities available. Company secretaries with robust tax knowledge, or work side by side with an in-house tax expert, can add more value to your new business venture by:

    • explaining the different legal vehicles you can incorporate as, including how they work and their suitability for your situation;
    • developing a tax-efficient corporate structure based on your wider operating model and supply chain arrangement, ensuring your business group pays the lowest fair share of tax while extracting maximum profit;
    • determining your eligibility for available tax incentives; and
    • liaising with executive staff and regulatory bodies to develop a group-wide governance framework that incorporates beneficial, fully compliant tax and transfer pricing strategies.

    If you are branching into Singapore and your existing company has a large, complicated structure, these value-add opportunities can help minimise confusion during the incorporation process while also ensuring a bright, prosperous future for your new entity and wider corporation.

    How to choose the right company secretary

    How to choose the right company secretary

    Your choice of company secretary can significantly impact the short- and long-term performance of your business in Singapore. To ensure the support and advice you receive is of the highest quality, ensure your company secretary has professional qualifications and a wealth of experience to their name.

    If you have plans to grow your business throughout the Asia-Pacific region, consider engaging a global company secretary services provider who:

    Has offices located throughout the region
    Has a long track record of helping businesses thrive
    Offers a full suite of complementary end-to-end corporate services, especially a tax advisor

    Providers who fit the above criteria can provide prompt, highly customised advice and support for all your business functions via one point of contact, resulting in a smooth, clear and productive service experience.

    For more than 50 years, BoardRoom has been helping businesses flourish in Singapore and beyond. Contact our specialists today to discuss how BoardRoom’s world-class corporate services can help you reach your growth goals.

    Contact BoardRoom for more information:


    Eunice Hooi

    Head of Corporate Secretarial

    E: [email protected]

    T: +65 6536 5355

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    The Accounting and Tax Trends that are strengthening Singapore’s Economic Growth Prospects

    The Accounting and Tax Trends that are strengthening Singapore’s Economic Growth Prospects Banner

    The Accounting and Tax Trends that are strengthening Singapore’s Economic Growth Prospects

    As a global hub for trade, finance and technology, Singapore presents a wealth of growth prospects for businesses looking to expand throughout Asia. Its high-income economy, low corporate tax rate and abundance of business incentive programs (such as the tax exemption scheme for new companies) further enhance its appeal in the eyes of foreign investors.

    The Monetary Authority of Singapore has predicted that Singapore’s economic growth will slow down in 2023, which means your organisation’s resilience is now vital. Building this required resilience necessitates a robust understanding of the latest trends in tax and accounting.

    Particularly in the face of increasing expectations for environmental, social and governance (ESG) action – bolstered by the government’s newly shortened timeline for achieving net zero emissions – prompting finance teams to elevate their sustainability reporting.

    BoardRoom Singapore’s Director of Accounting, Yang Shuzhen, discusses the most significant tax and accounting trends in 2023 and the strategies you can use to prepare for economic change.

    Singapore business tax trends

    Singapore business tax trends

    The 2023 Budget contained several significant tax updates that will impact the corporate sphere. Notably, the government announced its plans to implement the Global Anti-Base Erosion rules of the OECD/BEPS two-pillar plan.

    Developing tax trends in Singapore businesses therefore include:

    The introduction of a domestic top-up tax
    Preparation by businesses for Pillar Two
    Fresh tax incentives
    The Singapore GST increase, now already in effect

    1. The introduction of a domestic top-up tax

    Under Pillar Two, the new minimum Singapore corporate tax rate will be 15% for multinational companies with revenues of at least EUR 750 million. These group entities will need to redress their profits so they are paying a minimum effective tax rate of 15%.

    Countries involved in the OECD/BEPS collaboration are still deciding on their approach to implementing Pillar Two. Once the government of each country that your organisation has a presence in has announced how it will implement Pillar Two, you can decide in which country you will pay the top-up tax.

    2. Preparation for Pillar Two

    The best thing businesses in Singapore can do right now is to undertake an audit to identify where they are conducting their value-creation activities. It is a good time to tidy up your operations and ensure that both your value creation activities and your revenue and profits are recognised in the same country.

    In Singapore, the new top-up tax is scheduled for implementation from 2025. Preparing for this change may require major adjustments to business operations, so organisations should begin the process now to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

    3. Fresh tax incentives

    The 2023 budget announced the following tax incentives to encourage foreign investment and economic growth:

    • Corporate Income Tax rate remains the same, with the partial tax exemption on the first $200,000 of a company’s chargeable income;
    • a 200% tax deduction on qualifying market expansion and investment development expenses under the DTDi scheme;
    • an additional tax allowance for businesses that incur qualifying fixed capital expenditure on approved projects under the IA scheme;
    • 100% IA support on the amount of approved capital expenditure and net of grants for approved automation projects;
    • concessionary tax rates of 5%, 10%, 12%, and 13.5% on income from qualifying banking and financial activities, and corporate and advisory services under the FSI scheme;
    • the introduction of a new Enterprise Innovation Scheme to raise tax deductions to 400% on qualifying expenditure incurred from the YA 2024 to YA 2028 on various innovation boosting activities; and
    • enhancements to the double tax deduction for internationalisation DTDi Scheme.

    The budget also announced extensions for a range of incentive schemes across various industries.

    View our Singapore 2023 Budget Tax Highlights for a complete list of announced tax updates.

    4. The Singapore GST increase

    Singapore’s goods and services tax (GST) rate rose from 7% to 8% in 2023. This rise has impacted businesses in various ways, with many organisations facing increased costs across core expenses such as materials, labour, rent and utilities.

    Some businesses are choosing to register for GST to claim on the GST paid for purchases. However, there are a few factors to consider to determine whether this is worthwhile for your organisation. For example, you should decide whether the associated compliance costs outweigh the benefits of claiming on taxes paid. Additionally, you must be mindful when fulfilling your compliance requirements for quarterly GST returns to avoid making an error and being penalised for it.

    The GST rate is set to rise another percentage point from 2024, which means your decision to register for GST will only become more important.

    Singapore accounting trends

    Singapore accounting trends

    The accounting function is quickly evolving in response to changes in economic growth and environmental sustainability matters, as well as technological advancement.

    In Singapore, this transformation is largely characterised by the following three trends:

    • the digitisation and digitalisation of financial management;
    • the provision of meaningful corporate disclosures; and
    • the rise of sustainability reporting.

    1. The digitisation and digitalisation of financial management

    The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital transformation of many vital business functions, including accounting. Now, businesses have the opportunity to use innovative digital technologies to promote efficiency, productivity and stability in volatile times.

    For the best results, consider breaking the digital transformation of your accounting function down into three parts:

    • managing your human resources, including the training your people need to utilise new software and follow new processes;
    • selecting the right accounting software depending on your business needs and implementing it effectively; and
    • refining your processes post-implementation for improved results and reduced risk.

    2. The provision of meaningful corporate disclosures

    Singapore’s Financial Reporting Standards are updated every year, meaning businesses must constantly elevate the quality of their corporate disclosures to maintain compliance. Fortunately, digital advancement is creating opportunities for improved data collection and analysis.

    Beyond standard facts and figures, regulators are now demanding more qualitative information in business reports.

    “Businesses need to ask themselves, ‘Through our processes, how do we keep track of the narratives and qualitative information we need to satisfy compliance requirements?’” Shuzhen says.

    In addition to reducing your business’s compliance risk and improving its reputation, strengthening your disclosures with data-driven insights will also enhance your understanding of your business’s health and outlook.

    Business leaders who facilitate strong financial forecasting are empowered to:

    • make informed decisions about the strategic direction of the business; and
    • bolster the confidence of stakeholders by advising them of what is to come.

    3. The rise of sustainability reporting

    Businesses in Singapore are under pressure from regulators, consumers, shareholders and workers to produce insightful ESG reports. Most accounting teams are already publishing valuable ESG-related information in their financial reports, so they are well positioned to help demonstrate the ESG efforts of businesses through sustainability reporting.

    Business leaders can empower their accounting teams to deliver timely, high-quality sustainability reports by implementing procedures for collecting specific ESG data that aligns with stakeholder expectations.

    Remember that upgrading your data collection processes can be a complex, time-consuming endeavour, especially amid shifting regulatory demands. The earlier you establish procedures to capture the right data, the easier it will be to file your reports at the end of the financial year.

    Skills finance professionals need in 2023

    Skills finance professionals need in 2023

    This year, tax and accounting professionals can support businesses to prepare for uncertainties in Singapore’s economic growth by embracing innovation and expanding their skill set. The key competencies finance teams now require are twofold.

    1. An open and adaptive mindset

    “Accounting teams need to be open to exploring new software and using the built-in functionality to understand how it could help them generate financial statements,” Shuzhen says.

    “Gone are the days when accountants would merely key in numbers. Modern systems such as Xero can now take care of much of the groundwork traditionally done by accountants, such as capturing and generating data.”

    Numerous accounting software options are available to businesses today, so it is important to consider which programs will best serve your needs. Understanding the types of data you need to collect will help you determine which systems are strong enough to generate the information you need.

    Business leaders who are hesitant to explore new functionalities serve to limit the possibilities for what their teams can achieve and may struggle to navigate shifts in Singapore’s economic growth trajectory.

    2. Well-developed analytical skills

    Now that many transactional and data-collection tasks can be automated, modern finance professionals are able – and expected – to take a more strategic role within businesses. “They now have more time to spend on analytical work and quality reporting,” Shuzhen says.

    A recent global survey showed that, in 2023, just under half of C-suite and finance professionals in Singapore plan to invest in data analytics capabilities to make better decisions using data. Accounting teams with data analytics skills can make strategic recommendations for optimising operations to minimise the impact of external disruptions and promote business recovery.

    Finance professionals should also be able to present data in meaningful ways to specific stakeholder groups – thus maximising the value of the available data.

    “For example, if I report to a Finance Manager, they will want to go through all the details, line by line,” Shuzhen explains. “But if I present the information to a Chief Financial Officer, I will do this in the form of a flash report that shows EBITDA and provides some analysis on the ratios important to the business.”

    Drive business success in Singapore

    For over 50 years, BoardRoom has been helping businesses achieve their expansion goals with our holistic approach to corporate services. Our teams possess in-depth knowledge of local business environments throughout the Asia-Pacific region, which means we can help you consolidate multinational taxes and manage cross-border accounting to ensure strong local compliance, reduce risk and enhance efficiency.

    When you engage our expert tax advisory and filing and accounting services, you will also start saving time and money that can be redirected to progress core business objectives.

    To find out more, please contact us today.

    Contact BoardRoom for more information:


    Yang Shuzhen

    Director, Accounting & Tax

    E: [email protected]

    T: +65 6536 5355

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