5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Accounting Services

5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Accounting Services

Accounting is one of the essential functions your business requires for robust financial management. However, many business owners still opt to handle their accounts in-house. This not only takes up their valuable time but also heightens the risk of compliance issues that could cost their business in the long run. 30% of Singapore start-ups fail within the first three years, and poor financial management is one of the principal causes.

A professional accountant goes beyond just bookkeeping. They help facilitate the financial operations and planning of your company, allowing for better management and cash flow.

While looking to outsource your accounting in Singapore, ensure that your accounting company has a team of Certified Chartered Accountants, experienced in serving businesses of your niche and size, and can provide a dedicated account manager to service your account.

In this article, we will take you through the top 5 reasons why you require accounting services (and why it is best to outsource it!).

Reason 1 – Enjoy Cost & Time Savings

Hiring an experienced full-time accountant could set you back not only thousands of dollars a month but also substantial training time and costs to get them up to speed.

You can eliminate these concerns by engaging a professional accounting firm. By paying a monthly service fee, you gain access to the expertise of a team of accountants proficient in various areas of accounting, be it tax management or bookkeeping. This allows you to save hiring costs as well as recruitment training time. Moreover, you will be able to avoid costly errors or employee turnover.

Reason 2 - Fosters Better Business Growth

When your accounting is done right, you will have a clearer picture of your company’s financial health. This allows you to make informed decisions to support your business growth. You will also gain greater insight into the feasibility of critical decisions. These include deciding if the time could be ripe for the opening of another local or overseas branch or maybe to hire a new employee.

A credible accounting firm helps you understand your receivables and collections and paints a clear picture of your company’s cash flow and business seasonality. When you engage a regional accounting firm, you gain access to their advisory services and market analysts.

Through sound accounting practices, you can begin to understand your company’s performance and start to make strategically sound decisions, setting your business up for success.

Reason 3 – Staying Compliant with Statutory Requirements & Regulations

Running a business itself is time-consuming and costly. The last thing you want to happen is to run afoul with the Singapore tax authority (IRAS) and be hit by a potential audit or even worse, suffer financial penalties.

As your company grows, organising the paperwork for tax reporting becomes increasingly complex and tedious as it encompasses many things including payroll and Profit & Loss Statement.

A professional accounting firm is well-versed in tax laws and procedures, helping you avoid potential pitfalls. They can quickly spot any irregularities and ensure your accounting records are faultless, allowing you to stay compliant and enjoy peace of mind.

Reason 4 - Maximise Your Savings & Deductions

While staying compliant is of critical importance, outsourcing to a professional accounting service in Singapore allows you to enjoy tax breaks and exemptions that you might have been unaware of.

To claim these tax rebates and business expense deductions, you must meet a set of qualifying conditions. Many nuances are involved in obtaining these deductions successfully and legally.

Moreover, if you conduct business overseas, there are numerous tax treaties that you may be unfamiliar with. This could lead to double taxation, causing you to pay more taxes than you need to.

A professional accounting firm can advise you on all the tax benefits you are entitled to along with helping you obtain them so that you minimise costs and keep profits high.

Reason 5 - Establish an Organised & Automated Accounting Flow

As we move towards a technological age, it is important that your accounting records are stored in a digital format so that they are well organised and easily retrieved for reference or financial analysis.

A professional accounting service can set up a secure platform with advanced software for your company. Other aspects such as payroll and claims submission can also be integrated into the platform so that the company’s confidential information and records are kept electronically in a secure location.

They can also create digital analytical reports which help you identify the most profitable areas of your business to drive growth.

Looking For A Trusted Accounting Firm In Singapore?

At BoardRoom, we are a regional accounting firm in Singapore and are experts in helping companies, from corporations to fast-growing SMEs, allowing them to focus on what matters – growing their business.

From handling tax accounting to managing statutory compliance reporting for companies across Asia-Pacific, we help companies with our full suite of accounting services, allowing them to stay compliant, maximise their tax benefits and stay organised for better decision making.

Contact us today and empower your organisation with greater freedom through our accounting solutions.

Or you can also learn more about our accounting solutions here.

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5 Accounting Services Your Business Needs In Singapore (And Why)

5 Accounting Services Your Business Needs In Singapore (And Why)

The accounting/finance function forms the backbone of any firm, SME or MNC. However, there are so many types of accounting services to be aware of that it is worthwhile engaging an accounting professional. They are trained, organised, accurate and competent, giving you more time to focus on your business and reach greater heights.

If you are looking to outsource your accounting, there are 5 essential services the firm will need to deliver. To make life easy we have detailed the description of each and why they are important below.

1. Bookkeeping

Bookkeepers in an accounting firm can help you to keep a record of general ledger reports, trial balances, profit and loss statements, balance sheets and schedules.

Bookkeeping also involves bank reconciliations, which compares your accounting data to what the bank has recorded, helping to identify any discrepancies in your records or possible transaction errors.

An accounting firm doing your bookkeeping also ensures that all relevant documents and information (financial statements, tax computation and supporting schedules, comprehensive profit and loss statements) are kept for easy reference. This helps to speed up the retrieval of documents for statutory reporting and filing of taxes.

With thorough and updated bookkeeping, you can swiftly identify problems related to revenue and cash flow early, helping to avoid any adverse impacts on your business if otherwise left unchecked.

2. Statutory & Governmental Compliance Reporting

As your business grows, there will be a myriad of legal obligations your company has to comply with. These obligations include the notification of changes of share capital if new shareholders or directors are added or removed, as well as the meeting of tax and accounting requirements that could change depending on your business model and activities.

Another key obligation is the filing of year-end financial statements and board resolutions that are needed by Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

A credible accounting firm assists you in the understanding of convoluted statutory requirements and ensures that you comply with the laws.

The last thing you want is an audit by IRAS digging through your past records, wasting even more of your resources and time or worse – issuing a hefty fine to your company for non-compliance and/or errors!

3. Tax Accounting & Planning

While paying taxes is part and parcel of running a business, it is unnecessary to pay beyond what is needed. In fact, you might be able to save on quite a bit of taxes, if you only know what look out for!

A good accounting firm not only provides tax accounting services but also helps you develop a long-term strategy to achieve significant tax savings over time.

Effective tax planning strategies help to lower the amount of taxable income, allowing for greater control over when taxes are paid while maximising tax relief.

An accounting firm can also evaluate the tax consequences of cross-border transactions to improve your firm’s tax position. For example, if your business is spread across different countries, taxes on business operations and/or transactions could be difficult depending on the jurisdictions and availability of tax treaties.

4. Payroll Processing & Cash Management

With a multitude of regulations to be met coupled with a growing number of employees, payroll becomes increasingly complex as your company grows.

Ensuring your employees get paid is one aspect that cannot be overlooked.

In addition to computing gross to net salary and CPF as well as the management of your payroll, accountants can help to prepare your year-end IR8A (employee earnings reporting) forms for filing with IRAS.

Vendor payment taking up a significant portion of your time?

Many accounting firms today also help you with the payment of vendor invoices and employee expense claims via cheques, online banking, electronic transfers, telegraphic transfers or other forms of payment.

5. Management Accounting

Accounting doesn’t just keep you compliant with regulations, it is also a component of good business management that can help your company to grow.

A regional accounting firm has management accountants that can conduct a business analysis of past and present accounting data, as well as help analyse different sales channels, products, services, marketing activities and business models.

Management accountants will analyse the basic data and make forecasts, budgets, performance measurements and plans, then present them to senior management to assist in its operational decision making. A management accountant may also identify trends and opportunities for improvement, improvement, analyse and manage risk, arrange the funding and financing of operations and monitor and enforce compliance.

By staying up to date with industry trends, management accounting can provide and advise on long-term strategies that enable you to surpass your competitors and achieve your business objectives.

Looking For A Trusted Accounting Firm In Singapore?

At Boardroom, we are experts in accounting, helping companies from corporations to fast-growing SMEs, with their accounting outsourcing, allowing them to focus on what matters – growing their business and getting more clients.

From handling tax accounting to managing statutory compliance reporting for companies across Asia-Pacific, we help companies with our full suite of accounting services, allowing them to remain compliant, maximise their tax benefits and stay organised in their bookkeeping.

Contact us today and empower your organisation with greater freedom through our accounting solutions.

Or you can also learn more about our accounting solutions here.

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How To Choose The Right Payroll Provider For Your Business

How To Choose The Right Payroll Provider For Your Business

When it comes to ensuring that every employee gets paid on time, many companies choose to outsource this payroll responsibility to professional firms.

It is rather easy to understand why – handling your payroll effectively will either require you to spend a substantial amount of time figuring out the proper procedures to pay your employees (time that could be used to focus and grow your core business) or committing to hiring a payroll specialist that could be rather expensive together with a backup resource for contingency.

By choosing to outsource your payroll to a credible firm, you will not only have service assurance by having agreed Service Levels thereby reducing errors, saving time and money. In addition to this you will have access to a knowledgeable and dedicated team but also gain access to a myriad of additional benefits that include:

  • Agreed Service Levels and reporting
  • Technology refresh and ability to add new functions
  • An assurance of compliance with government regulations and reporting standards
  • Information security and confidentiality of your sensitive payroll data
  • A team of professionals with expertise extending to accountancy, tax advisory and beyond.

In this article, we will go through 5 questions to ask yourself before deciding on the right payroll service provider for your business.

1. How Big Is My Organisation?

Am I a growing SME under ten employees? Or maybe I have a bigger regional business with branches spread across Asia-Pacific.

While every company requires mandatory payroll management services that include the computation of gross to net salary, statutory deductions as well as the preparation of year-end forms, a regional company will require these across multiple countries as well as additional services to stay organised and compliant.

A suitable payroll firm for bigger companies will have the ability to provide centralised payroll coordination through their network of local offices, allowing your organisation to stay compliant under the local jurisdiction you are in as well as in your local Country.

2. How Up To Date Is My Payroll Provider’s Technology or Platform?

Technology is ever changing and you will need a firm that keeps up with the trends.

From the issuing of confidential payslips through electronic means to the easy access of payslips and data, a good payroll provider will provide a flexible and central platform for the administration of payroll.

Many payroll services today will allow employees to access a secure site to view their individual payroll history as well as providing an avenue for the submissions of claims and leave applications.

Most employers are becoming more and more aware of providing the same customer experience to their employees regardless of which Country they are based in or managed from. Having access to a solution that has the ability to provide this across multiple Countries is a key consideration.

Ensuring your payroll provider is tech savvy is vital not only for the convenience of your employees but also if you decide to scale your company to the next level without payroll becoming an issue.

3. How Secure Will My Employees Information And Payroll Data Be?

Outsourcing to a payroll provider can be scary but it doesn’t have to be so. Conducting adequate research on your payroll service is a good way to gauge the level of security they will provide.

Look for a company that has a strong IT team coupled with secure hardware and redundant backups together with a disaster recovery system in place, should the unforeseen happen.

4. How Is The Level of Customer Service?

No matter how smooth sailing your business might seem, unforeseen issues could arise at any time.

What you would need is a partner that offers superior support during such moments of crisis.

This can come in the form of an account manager or a single-point-of-contact executive that will grow with your company as the years go by, intimately understanding your organisation and how it functions.

This will allow a smooth resolution of any potential issues that might spring up without the need for you to re-educate a new representative every time you decide to reach out.

Ask your payroll service provider if there will be a dedicated manager tasked to service your account. If they say yes, you will be in good hands.

Your service provider should also be able to offer you guaranteed levels of service through a Service Level Agreement with Key Performance Indicators that are reportable on a monthly basis.

5. Do They Provide Other Complementary Services?

When it comes to running a business, payroll is just a facet of many services that can be outsourced.

While there are merits to choosing a specialist company that only handles payroll, a more sensible choice would be selecting a payroll provider that offers a spectrum of services that can handle your non-core business functions. These can include corporate secretarial services, bookkeeping services as well as tax advisory.

Selecting a single provider that can handle a whole suite of related services will not only help you save time but also synergise the various aspects of your business that can lead to additional benefits such as tax savings.

Looking For An Established Payroll Partner In Singapore & Beyond?

At Boardroom, we are experts in helping companies, from corporations to fast-growing SMEs, with their payroll needs, allowing them to focus on what matters – growth and profitability.

From local payroll services handling to managing substantial payroll obligations for bigger companies spread across the Asia-Pacific region, we help companies take care of their people while increasing productivity.

Contact us today and empower your organisation with greater freedom through our payroll solutions.

Or you can also learn more about our payroll solutions here.

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6 Key Reasons To Outsource Your Company Payroll

6 Key Reasons To Outsource Your Company Payroll

When it comes to running your business, time and resources are best dedicated to core functions that help generate profit and meet the expectations of your customers. The last thing you want to worry about is your payroll!

Administrative tasks such as payroll are non-core activities that are time-consuming and can get more complicated as your organisation grows. Due to this, approximately 47% of companies choose to outsource their payroll and it is no wonder why!

Especially if you are operating across multiple Countries in the Asia Pacific region, it is key to understand the region’s legislative complexity while recognising people today are internationally mobile and expect the same level of customer experience regardless of which Country you work from or which Countries you manage people from.

But what exactly are the benefits of outsourcing your payroll?

In this article, we will take you through 6 reasons why you should consider a payroll outsourcing company.

1. Your Company Saves Valuable Time

Whether your firm has five employees or fifty, processing payroll will demand a substantial amount of time and keen attention to detail.

When you outsource your payroll processing, you not only save money that might have been spent hiring a payroll administrator, you will be saving time by hiring an expert.

Professional payroll firms also have the experience of handling a myriad of situations from their years helping a variety of companies with their payroll. By outsourcing your payroll needs, you will save valuable time that might have been used to train up your in-house hire to get up to speed.

2. Professional Service With Better Reporting

Depending on your business needs, a professional payroll service can provide basic payroll administration or customise a more complex solution that involves regional and online pay advices to employees across the entire organisation spread over different countries.

In addition, a good payroll company will also have its own platform that will allow for better reporting and generating more comprehensive reports to cater to any analysis required.

The key “mantra” with payroll is accuracy and timeliness. In some cases, this is the only contact your employees have with the Corporate Organisation and so their customer experience is paramount to their view of you as an employer. Your employees expect and deserve nothing less.

3. Information Security & Confidentiality

The data held for payroll is sensitive and the investments required to protect that data are a must.

The security of payroll data is also an essential factor to be considered. With the introduction of EU’s GDPR laws, an increasing number of organisations are assessing the impact of them becoming the new global standard, subsequently two questions must be asked:

How safe and secure are your company servers?

How do I protect my employee’s data?

Using a credible Payroll Outsourcing Company is key to you and your employee’s peace of mind that their data is not at risk and is dealt with by a professionally qualified organisation.

4. Be Compliant With Government Regulations & Standards

When handling payroll, there are many statutory regulations and standards that have to be met.

From the accurate computation of gross to net salary and statutory deductions, there is also a need for the preparation of the year-end reporting.

The intricacies of these reporting standards will have to be timely and mistake-free to avoid potential time-consuming audits and penalties – definitely situations that every business wants to avoid!

A professional Payroll Outsourcing Company will ensure you always remain a compliant employer.

5. Enjoy Cost Savings

While your first reaction might be to either task your finance team with payroll or hire a payroll specialist, both these options can actually cost more money for your company in the long run.

Routine tasks such as calculating payroll, the distribution of paychecks (both physically or electronically) as well as the preparation of payroll taxes to the government can take a toll on an in-house team that isn’t trained to do it accurately and swiftly.

Hiring a specialist might be a solution, but you would be better off spending your revenue on hiring more profit-generating roles for your business.

6. Gain Access To Experts Beyond Just Payroll

When you outsource to a professional payroll processing company, you will also gain access to a team of experts that can help answer your immediate questions and handle any situations that might arise with pin-point solutions.

Payroll processing companies such as Boardroom have a wealth of complementary services such as corporate secretarial and accounting services that are just a phone call or email away.

At Boardroom we also offer consulting and advisory services to solve any challenge your company might face when it comes to running the non-core business functions – these include employee plan services to expatriation services.

Looking For A Trusted Payroll Partner?

At Boardroom, we are experts in helping companies, from corporations to fast-growing SMEs, with their payroll, allowing them to focus on what matters – growth and profitability.

From local payroll services handling to managing substantial payroll obligations for bigger companies spread across Asia-Pacific, we help companies comply with local statutory regulations while ensuring their most valuable asset, the employees, are paid on time.

Contact us today and empower your organisation with greater freedom through our payroll solutions.

Or you can also learn more about our payroll solutions here.

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Singapore Budget 2019 – 4 Key Benefits for Enterprises

Singapore Budget 2019 – 4 Key Benefits for Enterprises

In his Singapore Budget 2019 speech on 18 Feb 2019, Finance Minister, Mr Heng Swee Keat, spoke about building a “strong, united Singapore”. To advance economically, technological development and demographic shifts are key to drive enterprises forward. Find out more insights below on the 4 key benefits for enterprises announced in Singapore Budget 2019.

1. Funding and Financial Schemes

To support enterprises for cash flow and growth financing, the Government has enhanced the SME Working Capital Loan scheme (subsumed under the Enterprise Financing Scheme) to take in up to 70% of the credit risks on bank loans to companies less than five years old.

This will provide them with more time to develop innovative ideas. An additional $100 million has been set aside for the SME Co-Investment Fund III to help local SMEs gain access to private capital to grow and expand overseas.

2. Upgrading Operations & Training of Local Workers

With the reduction of foreign worker quota over the next 2 years, enterprises are encouraged to improve their business by upgrading their operations and train local workers while reducing their reliance on lower skilled foreign workers.

In order to help workers upgrade their capabilities, the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) has been enhanced to include out-of-pocket training expenses capped at $10,000 per firm.

3. Support for Enterprises

Under the SMEs Go Digital programme, industry digital plans will be catered across more sectors. Funding support will also include advanced Artificial Intelligence and cybersecurity solutions.

Under the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG), local SMEs can adopt digital solutions, automation and capability development to improve their financial and operational efficiencies (e.g. engaging BoardRoom for advice on tax planning, corporate governance etc.)

4. Helping Enterprises Grow

The new Scale-up SG programme and Innovation Agents programme aims to support SMEs in creating customised solutions for product development or digitalising their processes.

Through these programmes, SMEs can work and be guided by experienced industry professionals with technology expertise to explore innovation opportunities to expand market growth.

Download the Singapore Budget 2019 Digital Publication

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Shareholder Meetings in Singapore ~ Emerging Trends and the Rise of Activism

Shareholder Meetings in Singapore ~ Emerging Trends and the Rise of Activism

April 2018 was an exciting month for BoardRoom Corporate & Advisory Services (“BoardRoom”) which was appointed as the Polling Agent for more than 230 Shareholder Meetings. Whilst the BoardRoom team has a strong legacy of successfully delivering Shareholder Meeting services (which includes Registration, electronic and paper Polling, as well as logistics arrangements) every April peak season is an exciting period for our teams who are committed to the successful delivery of every meeting.

Key Highlights of Our April 2018 Season
  • 232 Annual General Meetings and Extraordinary General Meetings conducted
  • More than 18,000 shareholders were registered by our teams
  • 150 permanent and contract staff were deployed to execute the Meetings
Emerging Trends from Shareholders’ Q&A

Facts & Figures ~ Shareholders continue to be keenly interested on how their investment in the Listed Company has performed over time. More detailed questions are being asked relating to key performance metrics, comparing results against the budget, and whether the performance is in line with the long-term strategy already set out.

Telling the Corporate Story ~ The Board of Directors and Senior Management have become more adept in sharing the vision of the business and now are more understanding of the perspective of investors. Savvy retail investors are increasingly concerned over detailed developments of the Company which includes acquisitions and divestment, as well as the causes of significant impairment. The Boards and Management respond by sharing more of the observable trends relating to their specific industry.

Return on Investment ~ One of the often recurring discussions pertain to dividend policy as Investors continue to pursue dividend yield and acutely question Management on their rationale for cash preservation. Businesses now have to be clear about how they align their corporate story to the long-term strategy, in the attempt to convince investors to wait longer for larger pay day.

Board Governance ~ The topic of Board diversity has become increasingly rife. As at 31 December 2017, women directors increased to 13.1% of directorships on boards of the Top 100 primary-listed companies on the Singapore Exchange (SGX). The 20% increase from 2016 is the highest increase over the past three years, after 10.9% in 2016, 9.5% in 2015 and 8.6% women on board in 2014. Another key area pertains to the potential changes in the Code of Corporate Governance relating to the “Nine-year-Rule” for Director Independence. The proposed revision provides a “hard-line” criteria that Independent Directors cannot serve for more than 9-years on the same company. While waiting for the final outcome, Companies and Shareholders already see this development as an opportunity for Companies to commence the search for new qualified Independent Directors.

The Rise of Activism

Shortly after the conclusion of the April 2018 season, there were some developments in Shareholder Activism during meetings, one of which was widely-publicized. In an unprecedented move, the Singapore Exchange called for one listed-company to hold a new EGM due to inaccuracies in the submission of information for the meeting and shareholder disputes relating to the conduct of the original EGM.

NUS Business School Associate Professor Lawrence Loh, who is also a director at the Centre for Governance, Institutions and Organisations, made the following comments on SGX RegCo’s unprecedented move –

“It reflects the increasing trend by the regulator to be more interventionist when something is amiss, and willing to take on company-specific action. This more direct approach in regulating companies is much preferred than spraying across the horizon, without actually targeting or hitting anyone specific.”

For more information on BoardRoom’s Shareholder Meeting Services, please contact us at info@boardroomlimited.com or drop me a text via LinkedIn!

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Ang Lea Lea

Senior Tax Advisor


Chester Leong

Regional Managing Director, BoardRoom Business Solutions

Singapore Budget 2018: 5 Key Tax Changes You Need To Know

Singapore Budget 2018: 5 Key Tax Changes You Need To Know

With the copious tax amendments introduced by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in Budget 2018, here are the five most crucial ones that will affect the future of your company.

1. Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rebates

Poised to lower business costs and aid company reorganisations, the CIT rebate for YA 2018 has been revised to 40 percent of tax payable, capped at S$15,000.

This corporate tax rebate will be extended for another year to YA 2019 at a rate of 20 percent of tax payable, capped at S$10,000.

2. Tax transparency for Singapore-listed Real Estate Investment Trusts Exchange-Traded Funds (S-Reit ETFs)

The Reits sector was given a significant facelift with the extension of tax transparency for S-Reits to Reits ETFs. This will allow for equal tax treatment for both individual S-Reit investments and Reits ETF investments, and should reinforce the Reits sector, making Singapore a more attractive Reits listing hub.

Reit ETFs distributions obtained by individuals will also benefit from tax concessions, as long as those distributions did not derive from a Singapore partnership or the carrying on of any trade, business or profession. A 10% concessionary tax rate on such Reits ETFs distribution received by qualifying non-resident non-individuals.

Currently, a 17 percent corporate tax rate is applicable to distributions from S-Reits out of specified income to Reit ETFs. All investors of Reits ETFs will not be taxed on the distributions made out of such income from Reits ETFs.

Subject to conditions, the tax concessions for Reits ETFs will take effect on or after 1 July 2018, with a review date of 31 March 2020. Application for tax transparency treatment can be submitted on or after 1 April 2018.

3. The Double Tax Deduction for Internationalisation (DTDi)

Targeted at supporting internationalisation for businesses, the DTDi will be enhanced by raising the expenditure cap from S$100,000 to S$150,000 per YA. Qualifying expenses include expenditure incurred on activities such as overseas business development trips and participation in overseas trade fairs.

Administered by IE Singapore and the Singapore Tourism Board, this enhancement will apply to qualifying expenses incurred on or after YA 2019.

4. The Start-up Tax Exemption (SUTE) and the Partial Tax Exemption (PTE)

Lending a hand to smaller enterprises and start-ups are the SUTE and PTE, which are tax exemptions that ease the cost of running a business. Beginning on or after YA 2020, both exemptions will only apply to the first S$200,000 of chargeable income.

The revised SUTE, which is for new start-ups, will reduce tax exemptions to 75 percent for the first S$100,000 of chargeable income, and decrease the next chargeable income to S$100,000.

As for the PTE, the only adjustment is on the second chargeable income, which has been reduced to S$190,000.

5. Intellectual property (IP) tax deductions

The tax deductions for costs on protecting IP, and IP in-licensing will be improved in the coming years, from YA 2019 to YA 2025.

Catered in particular to smaller firms, the IP protection scheme will raise tax deductions to 200 per cent for the first S$100,000 of eligible IP registration fees incurred for each YA every year.

Tax deductions for IP in-licensing costs will also be bumped up to 200 per cent for the first S$100,000 of qualified fees incurred for each YA every year.

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Ang Lea Lea

Senior Tax Advisor


Chester Leong

Regional Managing Director, BoardRoom Business Solutions

5 things to consider when expanding your business into Asia

5 things to consider when expanding your business into Asia

Overseas expansion can give your business a boost by giving you access to untapped markets. That said, venturing into a new market isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. Here are five important things to think about before expanding your business overseas.

1. What government support schemes are your company eligible for?

There’s a good chance you’ll find a government scheme to support your foray overseas, whether from your country of origin or target market. Singapore’s new Enterprise Development Grant, for example, will allow qualifying businesses to upgrade their capabilities, innovate and expand their operations overseas. Businesses considering moving into Hong Kong, for example, can tap one of several support schemes, such as government-led incubator programmes and financing schemes. A competent corporate services provider like BoardRoom can help assess your market readiness and help you get up to speed on the government schemes you can benefit from.

2. How different are industry standards in your home country and target market?

Your company might be a leader in your domestic market, but such success isn’t guaranteed in a new market. For starters, be sure to do comprehensive checks on manufacturing and production standards in your target market to ensure your products make the grade. For businesses looking to move into Singapore, in particular, a good place to start would be getting up to speed with prevailing business and industry standards.

3. Will cultural and language barriers pose a challenge?

While cultural norms in Asian markets like Singapore and Hong Kong are widely influenced by both the East and West, it’s worth getting acquainted with the nuances of local business culture before venturing overseas. For example, business people in these markets are shrewd negotiators, though communication at meetings can often be subtle. “Face” is very important to business people in these markets, so it’s important to be able to read between the lines in every situation. In a nutshell, good manners, respect for others and professionalism go a long way when doing business in the region.

4. What are the compliance requirements I need to take note of?

Expanding overseas is an adventure in itself, but there’s always the nitty gritty to take care of. Markets like Hong Kong and Singapore each have their own unique statutory requirements for businesses, which require a considerable eye for detail to get sorted. While it’s good to get familiar with the compliance requirements in each market, it’s probably worth hiring a professional to do the heavy lifting. Corporate services providers such as BoardRoom have a wealth of experience in this area, enabling businesses to focus on what they do best. Click here for a helpful guide on the useful services you can benefit from.

5. How will I manage my finances?

Having ready access to adequate funding is essential when considering overseas expansion – whether through loans, grants or other sources. If you are opting for a loan, a good credit rating is essential for your business to get the funding support it needs. For greater convenience, consider using a bank which is present in all the markets you intend to operate in. For hassle-free day-to-day operations, consider outsourcing your accounting and payroll functions to a competent corporate services provider such as BoardRoom.

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Ang Lea Lea

Senior Tax Advisor


Chester Leong

Regional Managing Director, BoardRoom Business Solutions

Singapore Budget 2018: 4 Major Grants And Schemes To Help Your Business

Singapore Budget 2018: 4 Major Grants And Schemes To Help Your Business

In his Singapore Budget 2018 speech on Feb 19, the Minister of Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat, announced a multitude of measures to take local businesses to the next level.

With a massive budget of S$800 million set aside for the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG), the PACT scheme, and the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG), these tools will help companies defray costs, facilitate innovation, and foster adoption of technologies and productivity boosters.

Here are four major business grants and schemes that will benefit your company.

1. The Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)

A combination of SPRING Singapore’s Capability Development Grant, and IE Singapore’s Global Company Partnership grant, this new streamlined effort is aimed at helping local businesses become more competitive both within and beyond national borders.

Companies that are looking to upgrade and expand internationally can use the EDG to cover up to 70 percent of qualifying costs and activities from FY2018 to FY2019.

Administered by Enterprise Singapore (ESG), a new statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the EDG will be available for application through the Business Grants Portal (BGP) from the fourth quarter of 2018.

2. The PACT scheme

Managed by ESG and the Economic Development Board, the PACT scheme (also known as Partnerships for Capability Transformation) focuses on promoting collaboration between various businesses, from SMEs to larger corporations. It is a merged scheme that consolidates a number of existing grant schemes, served to support partnerships, into a single plan.

The result is a “more holistic” measure that will offer a maximum of 70 percent of qualifying costs, used for collaborative projects between companies in areas such as capability upgrading, business development, and internationalisation.

3. The Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)

To encourage innovation, providing easier access to relevant, quality tools is imperative. The PSG was introduced to do just that.

Targeted at SMEs, it will fund up to 70 percent of eligible fees directed at the purchase of off-the-shelf productivity tools, including technology solutions and business equipment.

Not only does it integrate several existing grant schemes into a more focused effort, it also replaces the expired Production and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme that supported smaller enterprises in adopting technology and equipment through tax deductions.

Applications through the BGP for the PSG will open at the start of April this year.

4. The Wage Credit Scheme (WCS)

An existing scheme that works to co-fund wage increases for employees, the WCS has been around since 2013, and will see another three-year extension, from 2018 to 2020. As before, it will support gross monthly wage increases of at least $50 for Singaporean workers up to a gross monthly wage of $4,000.

However, the percentage of government co-funding will decrease with each year – from 20 percent of qualifying wage increases in 2018, to 15 percent in 2019, to 10 percent in 2020.

According to Mr. Heng, the WCS is expected to cost about S$1.8 billion over the next three years, which will help businesses save a great deal of money. Not to mention, the scheme will alleviate unemployment concerns among local citizens with its pro-Singaporean hiring stance.

Related Business Insights


Ang Lea Lea

Senior Tax Advisor


Chester Leong

Regional Managing Director, BoardRoom Business Solutions

Fine-tuning the Quarterly Reporting regime to save on compliance cost? But who’s counting? (5 February 2018)

Fine-tuning the Quarterly Reporting regime to save on compliance cost? But who’s counting? (5 February 2018)

quarterly-report-imageIn the long-awaited outcome for SGX to reveal its plans for the Quarterly Reporting (QR) framework in Singapore, a Consultation Paper has been issued by the Exchange – worded in a way that seems to leave the decision-making in the hands of the investing public and corporate stakeholders. Some sectors may be comforted that the Consultation has taken into consideration certain options and alternatives which indicate a fine-tuning of the current QR framework, rather than an outright razing of the practice. Perhaps this is in response to the loud detractors of the QR since its inception.


quarterly-report-imageUnless you’re an ice-cream seller, it is near-impossible to please everyone. And I don’t think that SGX is going to find much luck in respect of this Consultation Paper. Some listed companies which hoped to be spared from what they claim to be a burdensome QR regime, citing unnecessary costs of compliance and reporting, will probably continue to gripe about retaining this practice. SGX has also been under pressure with the opinion that the QR regime makes Singapore unattractive to new IPOs. But is this true? Some Singapore companies which have attempted a dual-listing in an Exchange not-far-north have gone through much tighter listing-regulatory regimes and there doesn’t seem to be a lack of other companies trying the same.

One of the suggestions by SGX is to raise the market-cap criterion of listed companies that have to issue Quarterly Financial Statements from S$75 million to S$150 million. This criterion has been perceived as arbitrary and led to the view that this shifts the game towards institutional investors, where the reduction of transparency will further negate interest from retail shareholders and investors.

Although the raised-threshold addresses the reporting burden on smaller companies which may not have the resources for it, these same companies are also more likely to be family-run and do not fare as strongly for investor relations. Some analysts have noted that the Annual Reports of the smaller companies generally lack meaningful disclosure and therefore removing QR for such companies would further negate interest from investors.

Moreover, a “bright-line” criterion based on a market-cap quantum will bring further complications to companies with volatile share prices swinging between a bull and bear market. What if a company’s market-cap were to cross over and under S$150 million between quarters? And what of comparative-period financial information if a company was suddenly hurled above the threshold? Conversely, some minority investors hold the view that more regular information-flow is much needed during a bear-market and the market-cap is shrinking!


Some capital market stakeholders have argued against a blanket-exemption, and for a risked-based approach. It has been suggested that listed companies with poor compliance records, qualified audit opinions, included on the SGX Watchlist etc, should not be exempted. Another suggestion in the SGX Consultation Paper allows minority shareholders to vote every 3 years on whether a Company can opt out of QR. This acknowledges that minority shareholders know best on whether frequent disclosure is important to their investment decisions.

Another critical question to be addressed – is this really about compliance cost? Quarterly financial reports are not required to be audited nor reviewed, and these are often already regularly provided by the Company’s in-house finance team. Most companies will probably have financial systems set up to monitor sales, expenses and receivables on a monthly-basis!

There are also other ongoing Consultation Papers issued by the SGX which indicate a more rigorous compliance regime – especially pertinent is the proposed Listing Rule changes consequential to Code of Corporate Governance review.

Here is my Personal Wish List resulting from this review –


  • The frequency of reporting should not reduce from a quarterly-basis. But the extent of the disclosure should be amended to encourage more transparent information in a simple format.
  • GX RegCo should consider calibrating its approach to queries raised towards the listed companies on their disclosures. Very often, management of listed companies cite SGX-queries as a significant load on their reporting burden.
  • Should the frequency of reporting be reduced (say to half-yearly), the Board and Audit/Risk Committees of listed companies must continue to meet on at least a quarterly basis so as to ensure that business and risk developments are escalated and discussed. Critical developments could then be identified for Continuous Disclosure.

What I really hope to see – is for the QR framework to be enhanced in alignment with Corporate Governance and Continuous Disclosure, so that we address the most critical issues of information asymmetry and market efficiency.

Related Business Insights


Ang Lea Lea

Senior Tax Advisor


Chester Leong

Regional Managing Director, BoardRoom Business Solutions