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What is ACRA and Bizfile+?


What is ACRA and Bizfile+?

July 2022

The Lanturn Team

If you've been researching how to register a business in Singapore, you've most likely encountered terms like ACRA registration and Bizfile. What are they and why are they always coming out in searches regarding incorporating in Singapore?

This article is here to give you a quick rundown on it and help you understand why you should be familiar with them if you want to do business in Singapore.

What is ACRA?

ACRA stands for Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority. It is Singapore's regulatory body that monitors companies and public accountants. Business owners have to go through ACRA to put up and register a business in the country. Regardless of whether they are foreign-owned or local Singaporean companies, all businesses that want to register in Singapore would need ACRA's approval. You can check out our guide on how to register a company in Singapore here if you want to learn more about the processes and requirements.

This regulatory body is also one of the few government bodies that can issue a Unique Entity Number (UEN). This UEN is a 9-10 digit standard ID number used by entities to transact and interact with different government agencies. Before using UENs, businesses had different numbers for various governmental agencies they had to work with. But with UENs, companies now have one unique ID that works across all agencies – streamlining the numbers they need to use per transaction.

Suppose you would have any changes with your company address, reworking in the company's hierarchy, swapping of company directors, or plans on changing the company name in Singapore. In that case, you are required to report to ACRA about these changes as required by law. Failure to comply could result in the company getting stricken off ACRA's register. Getting stricken off the register affects not only the company but also its directors, as it could potentially disqualify them from acting as directors for future companies or taking part in its management.

The regulatory body is also responsible for helping businesses close properly. Suppose a corporation would seize to do their operations in the country or would have to shut down due to various issues. In that case, ACRA will ensure that the company in question would properly file the necessary paperwork to close the business to get it stricken from its register.

The requirements ACRA needs from businesses wanting to incorporate can seem daunting at first and could make you question if it is worth it. But there are three signals that you should incorporate your business which you can quickly read to see for yourself if you should pursue it.

What is Bizfile?

Bizfile is an online portal made by ACRA in 2004 for businesses to upload, store, and download business data for companies in Singapore. Before Bizfile, corporate secretaries and business owners would have to personally go to the ACRA office to submit various forms like company registration and approvals on corporate actions. With Bizfile, companies can process the documents online without leaving the office, making things a whole lot easier.

It not only made things easy for companies but also on ACRA as they are using the system to expedite its application processing. The portal allows ACRA to view applications easily and even automate internal operations to speed up application processing.

Because of the increased use of Bizfile, ACRA revamped the portal in 2016 and released Bizfile+. The revamp made application processing faster, smoother, and more reliable than ever before.

Another thing BizFile and BizFile+ does is allow different individuals and businesses to retrieve and purchase information about registered companies with ACRA.

BizFile+ Functions

Once you can access BizFile+, you’d be able to do the following essential activities through the portal:

-          Register your business with ACRA

-          Closing or dissolution of company

-          Filling your business’ annual returns

-          Filing financial statements

-          Informing ACRA on company address change.

-          Informing ACRA on the change of company hierarchy.

-          Change in personal details of officers and members of the company

-          Use the ACRA central directory to look up Unique Entity Numbers (UEN)

-          Access to other key systems like the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore

-          Getting industry data and reports.

-          Purchasing ACRA business profiles.

-          Performing online investigations about Medisave partners and Central Provident Fund owner status.

-          Do online investigations for approval, along with referral professionals.     

How is Bizfile+ Better?

ACRA’s main objective is to make business registrations easier for all. Whether you are an individual wanting to create a startup or a corporation wanting to expand, ACRA makes sure that both would have an easy time processing all the necessary documentation to operate quickly. Bizfile+ did this as it streamlined the processing of all documents. The improved user experience is also a plus as it makes navigating the portal easier for corporations and business owners since it also includes a customised dashboard that shows only relevant information and services to that specific user.

Bizfile+ also makes compliance filings easier because they can all be done online. Singapore companies usually hire a corporate secretary to process all the documents and file them physically at the ACRA office. But with the Bizfile+ portal being online, corporate secretaries can upload all the required documentation right there and then.

Another significant upgrade with the portal is that it allowed Bizfile+ to be mobile-friendly. Individuals can view vital information and upload essential documents through their smartphones – which is perfect for business owners who are always on the go.

Business owners may also allow email or SMS notifications to be turned on so that they would receive regular notifications whenever a transaction is accomplished. This notification feature is a great addition, especially to businesses with a corporate secretary doing the paperwork on behalf of the business owners. It lets them know that all uploaded documents have successfully been transmitted, giving owners peace of mind.

You can access Bizfile+ here.

We hope that this article has helped you with your questions about ACRA and Bizfile. If you need help with ACRA registration for your business or need a corporate secretary, our team is more than willing to be of service. Don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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