4 Common Misconceptions About Company Secretaries Debunked
Singapore is undoubtedly one of the best countries to establish one’s headquarters when it comes to doing business in South East Asia. Its stable pro-business economy, ease of company incorporation, and highly attractive corporate tax laws are highly appealing to entrepreneurs and established corporations alike.
Registering a company can be accomplished in a single day as long as all the requirements are available, saving business owners plenty of time. However, that doesn’t mean there are no other requirements to take care of after becoming official. One such requirement is the appointment of the company secretary, as mandated by the ACRA.
Read on to learn more about what these secretaries do and the truth around the misconceptions surrounding their role.
What is a company secretary?
A corporate secretary is, in essence, a compliance officer of a company. All businesses wanting to start operations in Singapore must appoint one such individual within six months after their official incorporation.
These secretaries must perform a myriad of administrative and statutory duties, and they typically advise a company’s board of directors and its chairman about their responsibilities under the law.
Misconceptions about Company Secretaries
1. It’s just an administrative position
Administrative tasks do take up much of a company secretary’s duties. Sending notices and agenda of meetings to participating parties, overseeing the company’s observation of its established Constitution, and preparing the minutes of meetings are only a few of these tasks.
However, as mentioned earlier, they must also fulfil an equal number of statutory responsibilities on behalf of the company. These duties require extensive knowledge of Singapore’s business laws and the essential obligations that the company must comply with and carry out, which can often vary depending on its business structure.
Thus, it’s a position that requires extensive experience, academic expertise, and professional qualifications.
2. They’re only necessary to form a company
Despite their appointment being indispensable to the continuation of the company, their purpose goes beyond the initial corporation. Corporate secretaries possess many responsibilities that ensure their assigned company’s compliance with relevant laws and, ultimately, its continued survival.
Some of these responsibilities include annual reporting with the ACRA, supervising the company’s tax compliance, and informing them of any notable changes of applicable laws.
3. Any high-ranking officer in the company can be appointed as the company secretary
It’s only when the company has more than one director that a company’s local director can be appointed as the company secretary.
Also, given the complexity of this critical role, one must be certain that the company secretary they appoint for this role in-house must be qualified to handle the position. Otherwise, it’s better to hire someone with a proven track record and experience in the role among audit firms in Singapore.
4. Companies need an in-house and full-time company secretary, which can be costly
Having a full-time company secretary in-house can be a dead investment for most small businesses, given the increased overhead costs from having them permanently on board.
Thankfully, outsourcing them via corporate secretarial services (which professional accounting firms in Singapore almost always offer) is a more cost-effective alternative to hiring a permanent secretary.
Corporate secretaries are vital to any company wanting to do business in Singapore, and their importance can’t be understated. It’s natural to have a few misconceptions about their duties in a company, given how complex their role is. Nonetheless, they’re an indispensable requirement when doing business in Singapore, and it’s best to outsource them initially.
If you’re looking to outsource an experienced company secretary to support your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch with OneStop Professional Services today. In addition, we also offer services tailored to other corporate needs, such as auditing services, taxation services, company incorporation services, and accounting services.