In the same way that employers conduct background checks on potential employees before recruitment, business owners should verify companies in Singapore that they wish to partner with as well.
While hiring an investigator or a third-party source for this purpose can be an option, there are multiple resources online that can help you check a registered company in Singapore.
While this is not a compulsory step in the incorporation process, it will definitely be helpful for businesses. Verifying a company will be especially useful for business structures like partnerships, limited partnerships and limited liability partnerships, but not so much for sole proprietorship. This allows business owners to check the authenticity of their potential partners and prevent any fraud or dire economic consequences that may arise in the future.
Just like ordinary individuals, a business or company would have its own legal background and credit history as well, and it is only normal to check one’s worthiness before forming any business relationship. This is also a way to protect your business from unreliable partners.
ACRA’s filing portal, BizFile, allows anyone to access basic company data directly on their website, which delivers basic information on companies. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to verify a company on BizFile:
Step 1: Go to ACRA’s free online directory search platform at https://www.bizfile.gov.sg.
Step 2: Key in the name of the company that you would like to verify under the ‘Business Entity’ search bar.
Step 3: A CAPTCHA form verification will be prompted just to ensure that you are not a spam-sending computer.
Step 4: Afterwards, you will then be presented with the company’s information. The information shown will include:
When checking a Singaporean registered company online, here are some of the things you should be taking note of.
Company status: This is an indication that will tell you whether a company is fully operational, or if they have ceased their operations. The “live” status shown will indicate whether the company currently exists or not. It is mandatory for all registered companies in Singapore to regularly update their company status and failure to do so may be a sign to look out for.
Address details: A valid registered business address is particularly useful when verifying a company in Singapore as an incorrect or suspicious address will definitely raise a red flag. Furthermore, be sure to check if their address is legal or simply a nominal mailbox. In the event that it’s a nominal mailbox, you can request the mailbox provider's contact information to verify that this business partner is legitimate.
Annual returns: Under the Singapore Companies’ Act, all companies are required to submit an annual report to ACRA within 30 days of the annual general meeting of shareholders. This report should also indicate the date of the last filing and for which financial year end, which is only applicable for limited partnerships and limited liability partnerships
Financial statements: This basically tells you if the company has complied with all the requirements and submitted their financial statements to ACRA. However, certain business entities are exempt from providing this information such as Public Accounting Firms, Businesses, Limited Liability Partnerships, and Limited Partnerships.
Once you’ve conducted a thorough background check on potential partners, ensure that you have the rest of the necessary requirements laid out such as your registration documents and business bank account opening.
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