Which is an ideal jurisdiction for company incorporation in Asia? Singapore and Hong Kong have been dominant players in the Asian region, vying for the position of “the best place to do business.” But the crucial questions are, which of these jurisdictions have an edge over the other? Is incorporating a business easier in Singapore or in Hong Kong?
Strategic location and attractive tax benefits make Singapore the most preferred location for the overseas companies to set up their business. Various options are – opening up a Branch Office, a Representative Office or a Subsidiary in Cheng San . The country also has liberal immigration policies. If the company wants to set up their regional head quarters in Singapore they are also provided with Financial Assistance.
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A key determinant for setting up a business in Cheng San is the tax regime in force. In this regard Singapore boast of being one of the lowest tax jurisdictions in the world. Detailed below is an overview of the tax system and Payroll Services in Singapore.
Tax jurisdiction Singapore: Taxes are levied on a territorial principle i.e. companies and individuals are taxed on Singapore sourced income. In addition, the Foreign sourced income (branch profits, dividends, service income, etc.) are taxed when it is remitted or deemed remitted into Singapore unless the income was already subjected to taxes in a jurisdiction with headline tax rates of at least 15%.
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In 2010, Singapore was ranked as the most competitive country in the world. Doing business in Singapore, therefore, means a more fulfilling business atmosphere and better chances of higher profits. However, anyone can say the same about any other country or city in the world. So, what sets Singapore aside from the others? What makes it unique and more business friendly? Why is it that many multinationals are moving their headquarters in to this 710 square kilometers span of an island?
What Makes Doing Business in Singapore Attractive?
1. Singapore is a modern city
Singapore is placed among the most dynamic cities to live in and work in the world today. It has global connections, is cosmopolitan and is also multi-cultural, accommodating a population of about 5 million inhabitants. It is also regarded as one of the most conducive cities for the knowledge-driven industries, globally.
2. It is pro business
Within the last 4 decades, this city has transformed itself from being a small business trade center to one of the world's top financial hubs. It has international air, sea hubs, and one of the most open economies for investment and trade.
3. Consistency in governance
This city is governed by consistent guidelines on business and investment where any business is guaranteed access to an impartial and competent judicial system. There is also clarity and commitment with regards to corporate governance and anti-corruption policy enhancement.
4. Ease of set up
The excellent infrastructure, a cosmopolitan labor force that is highly skilled, attractive tax laws that allow avoidance to double taxation, and low startup costs make starting a business in Singapore very attractive and easy to set up. Entrepreneurs are known to come in to Singapore and set up big businesses within a week!
5. Knowledge based industry
The economy of Singapore is skewed towards high knowledge based industries. There is a lot of emphasis towards innovation and this is what keeps this city very competitive business-wise. The government of this city-state is also relentless in its efforts to protect intellectual property to ensure that ideas and innovations nurtured here are well protected. This further enhances competitiveness.
6. Free trade
Being an active member of the World Trade Organization, Singapore businesses enjoy the luxury of investment guarantee agreements and the many free trade agreements with most other countries in Asia and around the world. International businesses here also get to enjoy 50 of the state's comprehensive double taxation avoidance agreements.
It is these powerful factors that have made Singapore to stand as one of the strongest financial hubs in the Asian region regardless of its small size and small, almost insignificant, population. It has grown in to an Asian region power house for international banking, maritime finance, asset and wealth management, trade finance, treasury operations and insurance.
Companies and businesses that seek to establish themselves in this city-state can easily tap in to the diverse and deep capital markets, while at the same time getting access to the many local and international professional service and financial institutions that are based here.
Simply put, doing business in Singapore is affordable, easy to set up, and fun for any serious business person.
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A lot of people who do not understand business will tend to ignore accounting of the business. So why use accounting or accountancy for business?
I have a close friend (with an accounting background) who is married to a man who sells computer components and DIY desktops. She was working in an events management company at first, but because their marriage was on the rocks, she decided to resign from her job to help out with her husband's business.
At first, the computer business was getting less than 20,000 dollars profit per month, but since her entry into the business, the profit began to grow monthly. It eventually exceeded 300,000 dollars profit within her first year of taking over the business. When I asked her how she did it, she answered that all she did was to make sure the accounts was recorded daily. She also ensured that costs were kept under tight control.
Most important of all was that the husband / wife relationship grew as well.
My friend's story taught me a lesson. In running the day-to-day operations of a business, it is necessary to keep track and document all your income and expenses. If marketing and sales activities are always the top priority in any business, then accounting and bookkeeping statements will come as the second most important element.
I have been reading books about entrepreneurs outsourcing accountants and bookkeepers for their business transactions, and this decision has given them a great amount of extra time to focus on the marketing and sales aspects of the business.
Do not even try to Do-It-Yourself by getting accounting software especially so if you do not understand accounting. Even if you do understand accounting, you will not be able to focus on growing you business.
By engaging an outsourced accounting or bookkeeping firm, you will be able to cut down a lot of your costs. At the same time, a third party outsourced firm will be able to verify your business transactions for the whole work year, thus further decreasing the cost in auditing services.
Always have the attitude of outsourcing and not the DIY mentality. While we must try to be an all-rounder in our business, we must also acknowledge the fact that we are not always able to do everything. Instead, delegate tasks that are not directly generating in income to the business.
This is the new generation of doing business - knowing where exactly costs can be easily reduced.
In summary, if you do not take the time to properly analyse your accounts, you will be unable to assess how your business is doing.
With proper bookkeeping to ensure that every transaction is properly filed, you can be assured that generating a quarterly profit/ loss statement and monthly cash-flow statement will be easy and most important of all, accurate and up-to-date.