Long cash flow cycle, spread transactions, and miscellaneous expenses – e-commerce expenses are an accounting nightmare for many entrepreneurs.

Maintaining a correct accounting method is important for any business, but it is especially important for e-commerce firms, which may have higher sales and transactions than traditional brick-and-mortar establishments.

In this article, we’ll discuss some key financial concepts that are important for e-commerce companies in Singapore.

Understanding Singapore e-commerce accounting

Accounting is the process of recording, classifying, and summarizing financial transactions in order to generate data that may be used to make your business decisions.

Accounting in e-commerce works in the same vein as any other business out there: recording financial transactions and analyzing them to reach accounting acumen – the ability for quick business decision-making based on financial data.

And, of course, to stay compliant with tax authorities.



Launching your booming e-commerce business in Singapore requires thorough preparations and strict obligations of the government. Here are several important tips to successfully start your Singapore e-commerce business you will need.

Although the process is relatively linear across types of businesses, e-commerce accounting is a special breed of a challenge for most. Business owners are simply bogged down by too many variables: Sales, returns, supplier payments, banking fees, etc.

Things can get even more hectic when your business starts to kick off. However, thanks to a proper grasp of financial nuances that underpin e-commerce natures, you can weather the storm with relative ease.

Below are some common questions to uncover your grasp of accounting for the e-commerce business.

  • What is the key feature of e-commerce accounting?

An e-commerce business sells products or services online on a 24-hour basis, seven days a week. Due to its operational nature, the volume of transactions can be tremendous.

This results in more complex accounting tasks to handle than traditional accounting, including intricacies specific to the online business world.

The most important part of accounting for an e-commerce company is to track your sales accurately. Sales can be recorded in two ways: cash and accrual. Cash accounting might work for small e-commerce businesses where transactions are easy to track.

For this method, you just need to register a business transaction as it happens on a ledger and report it in the year-end taxes. Plus, you also get to shave off some taxes on future account receivables and account payables from credit payments.

Regardless of whether money has changed hands, accrual accounting offers greater financial transparency into money movements.

  • How do e-commerce companies handle accounting?

Sales are often recorded as revenue for e-commerce firms, which comprises the price of the products or service, as well as any shipping or handling charges. You may be obligated to collect taxes on sales, which must also be accounted for.

Some common expenses for e-commerce businesses include the cost of the product or service, shipping and handling costs, and taxes. E-commerce companies may also incur advertising or marketing expenses, as well as credit card processing fees. It is important to track all of these expenses accurately to ensure that your company is profitable.

  • How can e-commerce companies save money on taxes?

Taking advantage of various tax deductions may also allow you to minimize taxes. For instance, the cost of shipping and packaging is considered ordinary and may be deductible. If you’re running your firm from home, you’re also qualified for a tax deduction.

Keep in mind that paying common e-commerce taxes applied to your enterprise in Singapore on time is extremely critical to avoid penalties.

In addition, the Singapore government offers a range of grants and incentives that online businesses can enjoy if qualified. It’s crucial to speak with a tax professional to figure out which benefits are accessible for your e-commerce business.

But why stop there? Understanding the overall taxation climate in Singapore will no doubt play a facilitating role in the event of business scale-up.

Accounting standards and requirements for Singapore e-commerce companies

It’s critical to understand the local accounting standards that will apply when launching and running an e-commerce business in Singapore. The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) of Singapore establish accounting laws and regulations, which corporations must follow when generating financial accounts.

E-commerce companies are referred to as “e-traders” by the Singaporean ACRA. Singaporean accounting standards for them are based on IFRS and follow the same concepts.

Singapore has developed an accounting system exclusively for eCommerce firms, ensuring all online transactions are properly recorded and taxes are paid on time.

Primary accounting criteria for an e-commerce company in Singapore:

  • All transactions must be recorded in Singapore dollars
  • Sales tax (VAT) must be collected and properly accounted for on all taxable sales
  • Inventory must be valued at a lesser cost or market value
  • Allowances, receivables, and payables must be documented

Whether your company is profitable or not, you need to file annual accounts and corporate tax returns on time. Non-compliance might result in significant fines and penalties. Another key part of e-commerce accounting is Goods and Service Tax payment (GST), which is currently at 7% but will increase to 8% starting January 1, 2023.

When your annual sales turnover surpasses S$1 million, you must register for GST. In some situations, you may be able to recover back some of the GST you’ve paid, although this depends on the sort of business and the products or services provided.

The Business Registration number is also important for an e-commerce company in Singapore. This is a unique number that is given to businesses when they register for GST. This number is used to track the business’s transactions and tax payments.

If you’re starting an e-commerce business in Singapore, make sure you familiarize yourself with the country’s accounting standards and get help from a qualified accountant if needed. It’s essential to keep your business books in order so you can make informed decisions about your company’s future.

Common accounting mistakes

Due to the complex accounting standard, e-commerce businesses in Singapore are frequently facing accounting errors. These errors may pose serious financial and legal implications, which can snowball over time if they are left unaddressed.

The following are some of the most typical e-commerce accounting mistakes to avoid:

  • Inventory not recorded properly

It’s critical to keep track of your inventory levels when running an online store. If you don’t precisely record inventory levels, you risk overstating or understating your profits.

  • Sales tax mishandled

It’s very easy to make a mistake with such a complex topic as collecting and handling your sales tax, especially when it has gotten more complicated in recent years.

Reporting incorrect numbers, failing to register and collect sales tax when necessary, or not filing sales tax returns within the prescribed time are costly mistakes to avoid for your e-commerce firm.

  • Small expenses not tracked properly

Many business owners often disregard small expenses and do not record them on accounting books. While these transactions may seem like a dash of pepper, they can quickly add up to an overspending issue.

If you don’t track your expenses accurately, they could end up putting a measurable impact on your profit margin.

  • Not accounting for purchase refunds

In the e-commerce industry, purchase refunds come a dime a dozen.

A purchase refund occurs when a buyer (whether a company or an individual) returns products to the seller for a refund or store credit, depending on the seller’s policy. A refund is a special type of expense transaction, which should not be recorded as revenue.

Above are just a few of the most common pitfalls in e-commerce accounting for Singapore businesses. By being aware of these errors, you can avoid them and keep your accounting tasks in order.

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Practical accounting management tips

There are a few things to remember when it comes to accounting for an eCommerce firm in Singapore.

  • Keep track of your sales and expenses

Keep track of all your sales and expenses, including the date, amount, and description of each transaction made on your website, as well as transactions made through other online platforms like Amazon or eBay.

This information will assist you in remaining compliant with Singapore’s accounting requirements and ensuring the smooth operation of your firm.

  • Make sure you use relevant accounting software

You should familiarize yourself with the accounting requirements for e-commerce enterprises and utilize accounting software that meets these criteria.

The right accounting software can make tracking your e-commerce finances much easier to accurately manage the financial health of your business.

  • Keep your financial records up to date

All needed documentation, such as invoices, receipts, and bank statements, should be in order so you to keep track of your company’s progress and verify that you comply with Singapore legislation.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your e-commerce business is running smoothly and in compliance with accounting regulations.

Helpful Tips

Helpful Tips

Outsourced accounting and secretarial service in Singapore is also a wise choice that would help e-commerce business owners save time and relieve the burdens of hassles when tax time comes around.


There are many aspects for an e-commerce business to take into consideration when handling accounting tasks. Potential errors may occur in areas such as inventory tracking, sales tax, small expense records, and purchase refunds.

As long as you understand the key principle and what accounting standards to follow, your venture will guarantee to become a great success.

In case there are questions relating to setting up an e-commerce company in particular or operating a business in Singapore in general, don’t forget to contact us via service@bbcincorp.com or contact us through the interactive chatbox. We are here to help!

Disclaimer: While BBCIncorp strives to make the information on this website as timely and accurate as possible, the information itself is for reference purposes only. You should not substitute the information provided in this article for competent legal advice. Feel free to contact BBCIncorp’s customer services for advice on your specific cases.

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