Non-government schools

Information for the public about school financial information

Attention:You need to know! Please note that there are limitations to the financial information presented in a school’s AISs between 2014 and 2018. School-by-school comparisons should not be made using the ACNC data."

Under streamlined reporting arrangements, financial information included by most participating non-government schools (NGSs) in AISs between 2014 and 2018 were mapped from information in the Financial Questionnaire (FQ) they provided to the Department of Education and Training (DET).

More detail on how the ACNC mapped FQ information to the Annual Information Statement (AIS) between 2014 and 2018 is available below.

DET’s FQ asks for financial information that relates to operating the school and providing activities for students (from Prep/Kinder to Year 12). From the 2017 AIS, two new items capture more detailed information aimed at improving the income and expense data. This includes data on non-school related items not within the scope of the FQ, but which is included in the audited financial report for the registered charity (whole entity reporting).

Additionally, DET allows for either cash or accrual accounting. When assessing income, it is important to realise that this includes sources of recurrent as well as capital income.

Capital income, when expended, is capitalised as an asset. However, for schools that report on a cash basis and systemic schools, this means the information may not be available under Balance Sheet items as it is not required as part of the FQ. (Read more about cash and accrual accounting).

It is important to consider these factors when reading and interpreting the financial information in NGSs’ AISs between 2014 and 2018. School-by-school comparisons should not be made using ACNC data.

Information about school activity is available on the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority’s (ACARA) My School website, myschool.edu.au.

My School contains data on a range of aspects of a school, including its student profile, NAPLAN performance, and financial information.

The ACNC is working with DET and the NGS sector to design a single collection point of financial information for both DET and ACNC purposes. Since the 2016 reporting period, this has included the collection and publication of financial statements.

For additional general guidance on interpreting financial information, please visit acnc.gov.au/understandingfinancialinfo

Information for schools reporting to the ACNC

Attention:You need to know! Please note Non-government schools (NGSs) do not have to provide financial information to us directly. Follow the steps below to participate in the transitional reporting arrangement for NGSs.

NGSs submit FQ to DET as a requirement under the Australian Education Act 2013 (Cth).

The ACNC Commissioner has agreed to accept these FQ as meeting the financial reporting requirements under the ACNC Act for reporting periods between 2014 and 2018. (see below for more on the transitional reporting arrangement for NGSs).

NGSs have different governance models. Sometimes individual schools register directly with the ACNC with their own Australian Business Number (ABN), while in other situations an entity which represents a number of schools may register with the ACNC (with one ABN that covers a number of schools).

Transitional reporting arrangement for Non-government schools

Who can participate

The ACNC only requires registered charities (individual schools or representative entities registered as a charity with a unique ABN) to report.

Where a registered charity submits a FQ with DET – be it as an individual school or a representative entity – they can take advantage of the transitional reporting arrangement for NGSs. Read below about other reporting options that may be available for your NGS.

Who cannot participate

Associated funds or organisations registered separately with the ACNC

Funds or organisations associated with a NGS that are registered separately with the ACNC have their own ABN and do not submit a separate FQ with DET. Examples include school building funds, scholarship funds, early learning centres or Parents and Friends Associations.

These funds or organisations need to submit their own AIS with the financial information section completed. The transitional reporting arrangement for NGSs does not apply.

A representative entity with an ABN which covers organisations not related to primary or secondary education

A representative entity ABN sometimes covers multiple schools, but can also include other organisations not related to primary or secondary education. These might include day care centres, churches, community centres and welfare services.

These representative entities need to submit an AIS with the financial information statement completed. The transitional reporting arrangement for NGSs does not apply.

Other reporting options for NGSs

Bulk submission

Bulk submission is the process that allows you to submit more than one AIS on behalf of multiple registered charities on a single form.

Where an office or system authority administers the submission of AISs on behalf of a number of schools, we suggest they use bulk submission to streamline the process.

In the financial information section of the AIS, you can leave every line of the income statement and balance sheet blank.

During this process you do not need to submit the transitional financial report: non-government school. Financial reports are required, however they can be provided as separate documents in the same email or in a separate email. Read more about bulk submission

2017 reporting period

In 2017 NGSs have two options: 

  • Report in the same way as all charities, or
  • Participate in the two-step NGS transitional reporting arrangement.

The two-step process is outlined below. 

Attention:You need to know! Please note If your school chooses to report in the same way as all charities, it opts out of the transitional reporting arrangement and will need to meet all relevant reporting requirements.
If your school choses to participate in the transitional reporting arrangement, it will not be required to provide financial information in the AIS.

Two-step process to participate: transitional reporting arrangement for NGSs

Step 1:

Log into the Charity Portal and complete all non-financial questions in the 2017 AIS

For Section D: Finance

For the question: Does your charity want to provide financial information in the AIS?

  • Answer “No” if you want to participate in the transitional reporting arrangement and use the mapped FQ data for the AIS
  • Answer “Yes” if you want to opt out and continue to report the same way as all charities. This means you will be required to provide financial information in Question 15 of the AIS.

Attention:You need to know! Please note Irrespective of the option chosen, Question 15 (a) – (d) in the 2017 AIS are required to be completed. Complete the 2017 AIS and submit.

If you choose to participate in the NGS transitional reporting arrangement, the ACNC Register will display a message showing that you have done so. The ACNC will notify your school or your represented office before the mapped FQ data is uploaded to the ACNC Register. It is expected that the ACNC will have the mapped FQ available in October 2018.  

If you have opted out of the transitional reporting arrangement, the ACNC will show your voluntary financial information in Section D. Both the financial information and the annual financial report (if required) will display on the ACNC Register.

Step 2:

Mapping methodology from your DET FQ to the ACNC AIS

In the new FQ 2018 (2017 data) submission process, NGSs will see an “ACNC Preview page”. This page shows how the FQ items map to the 2017 AIS Finance section using the agreed mapping methodology. The ACNC Preview page covers individual NGSs or systemic entities which are registered directly with the ACNC with their own ABNs.

Some registered charities are approved authorities for multiple schools (where the schools are not individually registered with the ACNC). The ACNC will have the corresponding schools’ aggregated FQ data mapped to those approved authorities’ AISs.  

The mapped FQ displayed in the ACNC preview screen will be uploaded to the ACNC Register.

You will be notified of the timeframe for publication of the mapped FQ on the ACNC Register. After publication you will be able to request amendment by contacting us.

In addition, audited financial reports collected by DET as part of the FQ 2018 (2017 data) submission will also be published on the ACNC Register.

Where multiple schools that submit individual financial reports to DET do so on behalf of a single registered charity under a single ABN, the financial reports will be combined into a single document and published against that registered charity.

The FQ 2018 (2017 data) has introduced additional items for the 2017 AIS.

For example, two new items capture more detailed information aimed at improving the income and expense data. This includes data on non-school related items not within the scope of the FQ, but which is included in the audited financial report for the registered charity (whole entity reporting).

The FQ 2018 (2017 data) aims to capture financial information relating to the whole registered charity to align the 2017 AIS with the audited financial report.

We have created a document to explain the mapping methodology for NGSs. The chart shows how the FQ 2018 (2017 data) from DET is mapped to the ACNC AIS.

You can download the Mapping document, below. For more information, contact us.

Download 2017 AIS FQ mapping document [PDF 6MB]
(Adobe PDF File)

Attention:You need to know! It is optional for schools to provide the full-time equivalent (FTE) staff number in the question under Section C of 2017 AIS. Where a school does not provide the FTE information, the ACNC will source this from the FQ data and upload to the ACNC Register at a later point in time.

2014–2016 reporting periods

We have completed the transitional reporting arrangement process for AISs covering the 2014-2016 periods.
If the ACNC Register does not show the correct financial information for your school, please contact us.

We have created a PDF document to explain the mapping methodology for NGSs. The chart shows how the FQ data from DET is mapped to the ACNC AIS. The mapping methodology is the same for 2014-2016 reporting periods.

Download 2016 AIS FQ mapping document [PDF 366KB]

More information

External resources

Department of Education and Training instructions for Financial Questionnaire

2017 reporting period

The FQ18 (2017 data) has introduced additional FQ items for the 2017 AIS. The new FQ items capture and improve both the income and expense side, to include non-school related items which are not within the scope of the FQ but included in the audited financial report for the registered charity (whole entity reporting).

The FQ18 (2017 data) aims to capture financial information relating to the whole registered charity to align to the 2017 AIS and the audited financial report.

We have created a document to explain the mapping methodology for non-government schools. The chart shows how the FQ18 data from DET is mapped to the ACNC Annual Information Statement.

You can download the Mapping document, below. For more information, contact us.

2014 and 2015 reporting period

We have completed the transitional reporting arrangement process for the 2014 and 2015 Annual Information Statement. If the ACNC register does not show the correct financial information for your school, please contact us.

More information

External resources

Department of Education and Training instructions for Financial Questionnaire