How to Choose the Correct Accounting Period Singapore: A Quick Guide

accounting period singapore

The accounting period of Singapore companies is a critical aspect of every business as it refers to the duration of time a company uses to complete its accounting cycle. In Singapore, businesses must adhere to guidelines when choosing the right accounting period because it can significantly impact financial reporting, tax obligations, and other financial matters. This quick guide provides an overview of accounting periods in Singapore and the factors businesses should consider when choosing the correct accounting period.

How to choose a company’s financial year-end (FYE)

Singapore-based companies have some latitude in deciding the closing day of their accounting period, known as their financial year-end (FYE). The Companies Act does not impose a set start or end date for the financial year, instead granting companies the autonomy to decide and modify it as they see fit.

Businesses have two options for their accounting period: a standard 12-month cycle or a period spanning over 52 weeks. To illustrate, if a company selects a 12-month accounting period commencing on 1 January 2020, its FYE will fall on 31 December 2020. On the other hand, if the same business chooses a 52-week accounting cycle starting on Wednesday, January 1, 2020, its FYE will fall on Wednesday, December 30, 2020.

In Singapore, any business may select any day as the FYE. 31 March, 30 June, 30 September, and 31 December are frequently employed dates.

Determining the FYE is an essential deliberation for companies in Singapore since it establishes the cut-off date for corporate filings and tax submissions. Private businesses are required to hold their annual general meetings (AGM) within six months of their FYE and file their annual returns within seven months of FYE.

Factors to consider when selecting the financial year-end (FYE)

When choosing an accounting period, Singapore businesses should consider factors such as tax exemptions, subsidiary company requirements, and business seasonality. It is crucial to select the correct accounting period as it can greatly affect a company’s financial reporting, tax obligations, and other financial matters.

Tax exemption eligibility

Since the decided financial period aligns with the taxation period of the company, firms should take into account if and how choosing the FYE may affect their tax liabilities or eligibility for incentives.

As stated in the Tax Exemption Scheme for New Start-Up Companies, it is advised for newly incorporated companies in Singapore to have their first financial year end as close to 12 months as possible.

Qualifying businesses can choose to end their fiscal years on the final day of the eleventh month following the incorporation date to take advantage of tax breaks for the first three consecutive YAs. 

This is because IRAS will count financial periods longer than 12 months as two YAs for tax exemption reasons. Therefore, it is recommended for newly-incorporated companies to have their first financial year end as close to 12 months as possible to maximize coverage of the tax exemption.

Seasonal business activities

For businesses that undergo substantial seasonal variations, aligning their financial year-end with the conclusion of their business cycles can be a strategic move. This is because companies must perform annual stock-taking at the end of their financial year to prepare their financial statements.

A company’s financial year-end does not have to coincide with its incorporation date or the calendar year’s conclusion. Instead, the most appropriate financial year-end should be determined by the company’s unique business cycles, which can vary across industries.

When choosing an accounting period, Singapore companies must choose one that coincides with the end of a business’s peak season because it can benefit firms that handle significant inventories. This can minimize the amount of inventory that needs to be counted, resulting in lower expenses and higher accuracy. Moreover, a slower season makes it easier to finalize the books, with fewer transactions to process and more support staff on hand to assist.

Subsidiary company

When a Singapore company is a subsidiary of another firm, it might be necessary for its financial year to match that of the parent company for group reporting objectives. This is a crucial aspect to consider when determining an appropriate accounting period for Singapore businesses.

To avoid confusion and accounting discrepancies between the two entities, businesses are advised to align the FYE of their subsidiary company in Singapore with that of the holding company. This will simplify the filing of consolidated financial statements and allow for the simultaneous processing of documentation, such as tax filing, for both companies.

Changing a company’s financial year-end (FYE)

After incorporation, the FYE may be modified, but the firm must notify ACRA of the change using the “Change of Financial Year End” transaction on the BizFile website.

In general, the company can only change its FYE for the current or immediately preceding financial year. Moreover, the company cannot modify its FYE if the statutory deadlines for having the AGM, submitting Annual Returns, or forwarding financial statements have passed.

The adjustment must also have ACRA approval if it results in a financial year that is greater than 18 months or if the business has already changed its FYE in the previous five years.

How We Can Help?

Choosing the appropriate accounting period in Singapore is critical for the effective financial management of businesses. By selecting an accounting period that aligns with their unique business cycles, businesses can maximize their financial benefits while staying compliant with legal requirements.

To ensure that a business is making the right decisions regarding accounting periods in Singapore, it is recommended to consider partnering with a reputable bookkeeping and accounting services provider. Premia TNC is a leading provider of such services in Singapore. Their team of experienced professionals can help businesses choose the correct accounting period in Singapore and manage their financial reporting, tax obligations, and other financial matters. Businesses can contact Premia TNC today to learn more about their services, which include bookkeeping, accounting, taxation, and financial statement audit. They can help businesses stay on top of their finances and take their business to the next level.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is FYE?

To put it plainly, the FYE (financial year end) denotes the conclusion of a company's accounting period. It transpires annually and may not necessarily align with the end of the calendar year. In Singapore, the Companies Act does not prescribe a specific FYE date for companies. Instead, businesses may choose their own FYE date at their discretion.

Q2. How to determine a company’s FYE?

A company can determine its financial year end (FYE) at its discretion, as the Companies Act does not prescribe a specific FYE date for companies. Businesses can choose any date as their Financial Year End, commonly 31 March, 30 June, 30 September, or 31 December.

Q3. What are the responsibilities of businesses when choosing their accounting period?

Businesses should consider factors such as tax exemptions, seasonal business activities, and subsidiary company requirements when choosing an accounting period, as it can greatly impact financial reporting, tax obligations, and other financial matters.

Q4. How do I change my company's FYE?

To change the financial year end (FYE), businesses can sign in to BizFile using their CorpPass account. They must then select Local Company > Annual Filing > Change of Financial Year End from the "File eServices" option. Companies may modify their FYE for either the current or preceding fiscal year. Additionally, the corporation is unable to change its FYE if the deadlines for conducting the Annual General Meeting (AGM), submitting Annual Returns, or sending financial statements have passed.

Get started today! Please fill up the form below and we will revert shortly