Business entities that provide public accountancy services must register with ACRA under the Accountants Act. Public accountancy services means the audit and reporting of financial statements, and any acts required by law to be performed by a public accountant. There is no need to register a public accounting entity with ACRA if the purpose is to provide non-public accountancy services such as accounting or tax services.
There are 3 types of accounting business structures to choose from. They are:
A comparison table of the different types of public accounting entities in Singapore is available here.
A PAF is a sole-proprietorship or partnership which is registered under the Accountants Act.
Choosing a name for your PAF
Once you have decided on a suitable name for your PAF, conduct a search at BizFile+ to find out whether the name is available. Avoid selecting names which:
- are identical to an existing entity registered with ACRA;
- are undesirable i.e. names which are vulgar, obscene or offensive;
- ACRA has directed the Public Accountants Oversight Committee not to accept.
Please refer to the Practice Direction No. 7 of 2006: Identical Name Prohibition of for All Accounting Entities (PDF, 143KB) for information on the principles of whether a name is similar to another.
Requirements to set up a PAF
- If you are a sole proprietor in the PAF, you must be a public accountant and be appointed as a “Partner under section 18(3)(c)”.
- If the PAF has two partners, one of you must be a public accountant.
- If the PAF has more than two partners, at least two-thirds of the partners must be public accountants.
- At least one public accountant who is ordinarily resident in Singapore, is appointed as “Partner under section 18(3)(c)”. This partner will control and manage the PAF’s supply of public accountancy services in Singapore.
Submitting your application via BizFile+
||Log in to BizFile+ using your SingPass.
Alternatively, you may engage the services of a registered filing agent (e.g. law firm, accounting firm or corporate secretarial firm) to submit the online application on your behalf.
||Submit an application for “Name for Public Accounting Firm”.
Submit an application for “Approval of Public Accounting Firm”.
|Name Application for Public Accounting Firm
Application for Approval of Public Accounting Firm
Please note that you only can pay the application fees via the following options:
- Credit/debit card (MasterCard, VISA and American Express only)
- PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay
- ACRA Deposit Service (for registered filing agents)
Note: Payment by cash or cheque is not accepted in BizFile+ transactions.
Upon submission of your application, you will receive an update from ACRA within 3 working days.
If your application results in a name appeal, the processing time may take up to 23 working days.
If the application needs to be referred to another agency for approval or review, it may take between 14 days to 60 days. For more information on the different referral authorities, please refer to the list of Referral Authorities.
Endorsement of Application After Approval
The public accounting firm is officially registered only after all the partners have endorsed the (or consented) the application.
Other Important Information
Unique Entity Number (UEN)
Upon successful registration, each public accounting firm will be issued with a system generated Unique Entity Number (UEN). Businesses must use this UEN when transacting with government agencies.
Special UEN (SUN)
ACRA also offers a Special UEN (SUN) service which allows you to reserve a preferred UEN from a list of reserved UENs at the point of entity registration. The preferred UEN numbers costs either $1,000 or $3,000 each, depending on the selected tier.
Free Business Profile
All newly registered public accounting firm will receive a free Business Profile - an electronic report containing business registration information of that entity. Upon successful registration, an email with a URL to download the free Business Profile, will be sent to the person who filed the registration.