5 Business Tasks to Catch Up Over the Long Weekend in Singapore
By Alex, Last updated: 2021-05-31 (originally published on 2017-04-30)
Anyone running a business knows it’s hard to put some time aside to catch up and consolidate on the items on your never-ending list of to-dos’. Bank holiday long weekends provide an important time to sit back, relax and enjoy some time off with your friends, family or maybe even just to catch on the book you’ve been trying to finish since the Christmas holidays. They also give you an opportunity to take stock of your business activities as we approach the end of the first quarter. Below, we offer some simple tasks that you can tackle in your own time, whether between sips of your cocktail, laps in the pool, or chapters of your book.
1. Check that your employment agreements are up to date
Employment agreements are strongly recommended for every employee in your organization. These agreements create accountability and set expectations in the day to day working environment, as well as, defining the legal relationship between you and your employee.
It is crucial that every employee has signed a contract before commencing their working period. This should be part of your employee onboarding process, as it will help you to avoid any legal issues in the future.
In addition, if any of your employees have changed departments or positions within your business, it is your responsibility to update their employee agreement, reflecting the changes in order to avoid any confusion and account for any new KPIs or legal obligations.
Recently, there have been changes made to employment laws in Singapore. It is now an obligation for every employer to issue itemised payslips to their employees covered by the employment act.
When drafting an Itemised Pay Slip, it is important for you to focus on the following:
- Start and end date of the salary period covered by the pay slip:
- Date of payment;
- Amount of payments e.g. basic salary, allowances (including all fixed allowances such as transport, and ad-hoc allowances such as a one-off uniform allowance), overtime pay (set out details including the number of overtime hours worked), and other additional payments (e.g. bonuses, rest day pay, public holiday pay)
2. Shareholders Agreement
Shareholder Agreements are fundamental in establishing the relationships between the shareholders of the company, as well as stating how the business and activities of your company are run. The agreement should mention the shareholders rights and obligations and define the decision making process.
In most cases, businesses create shareholder agreements when they first incorporate their organization and then never go through it again. However, there are many scenarios where the agreement has to be changed or updated:
- In case the organization found new investors, it is your responsibility to update the old shareholders agreement
- If you as a shareholder have issued shares to any of your employees (through an ESOP), the shareholder agreement should be updated.
In some cases, businesses will have never create a shareholder agreement in the first place. In this case, it is strongly recommended that companies with more than one shareholder put an agreement in place as soon as possible to avoid any legal issues in the future.
Recently, there have been several changes made to the Singapore Companies Act aiming to improve the transparency of ownership and control of the companies. You should be aware of the following changes:
- Every local and foreign company has to be registered in order to maintain control;
- Foreign companies are obliged to maintain public registers of their members;
- Singapore incorporated companies are required to maintain a register of nominee directors;
- Requirement for records of wound up companies to be retained for five years instead of two years;
For more more information on the changes to the Company Act, you can read a helpful summary provided by our friends at Stephenson Harwood.
3. Consolidate your business relationships
Commercial relationships with other organizations are crucial for the day to day activities of any company. This is the reason why agreements have to be established in order to avoid any unfair treatment from any of the parties.
An example of one such agreement is the Supply of Services Agreement. This is a contract between the supplier and customer with the aim of providing a specific service. This agreement is necessary for establishing the processes and standards that should be met when receiving the service. It is your responsibility to update the service agreement because in many cases the commercial relationship will morph and change over the course of the business relationship.
4. Tax time for your employees
Individuals or organizations that are eligible for tax payments are required to complete and send the tax return back to the Inland Revenue Department within one month from the issue date. Tax payments vary depending on the structure of the company, as well as, the income level of the organizations.
If your employees receive any return from the IRD, they are required to complete and send it back on time. Don’t get caught out – there are many cases where individuals or organisations do not pay taxes on time – this can lead to extra penalty payments or even prosecution.
5. End of the month accounting reporting
It is highly recommended for every organization to carry on an end of month accounting procedure. This is crucial in ensuring that all of the financial records are balanced before commencing the new month. These duties are mainly taken care by the bookkeeper or CFO of the organization. There are three major steps that have to be followed in order to successfully develop an end of month book: