Non-government schools

Information for the public about school financial information

Please note that there are limitations to the financial information presented in a school’s 2014and 2015 Annual Information Statement (AIS) as it may not reflect the complete financial position of the school.

Under the transitional reporting arrangement, the financial information in the 2014 and 2015 AIS for a participating non-government school has been taken from the information in the Financial Questionnaire it provided to the Department of Education (DET). How the ACNC mapped the financial information to the 2014 and 2015 AIS is explained in the mapping document  available as a PDF download [PDF file 366KB].

DET’s Financial Questionnaire asks for the financial information that relates to operating the school and providing activities for students. Some school related activities are excluded (examples include building funds, parent & friends associations and canteens). As such, the financial information as presented in a school’s 2014 and 2015 AIS may not be a complete representation of its total financial position. 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 that the information may not be available under Balance Sheet items as it is not required as part of the Financial Questionnaire. Read more about cash and accrual accounting.

It is important to consider these factors when reading and interpreting the financial information in the 2014 and 2015 AISs of non-government schools. 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 the DET and the school sector to design a single collection point of financial information for both DET and ACNC purposes. In future, this will include collection and publication of financial statements. For more about interpreting financial information generally, please visit acnc.gov.au/understandingfinancialinfo

Information for school reporting to the ACNC

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

Non-government schools submit financial questionnaires to the Department of Education and Training (DET) as a requirement under the Australian Education Act 2013 (Cth). The ACNC Commissioner has agreed to accept these financial questionnaires as meeting the financial reporting requirements under the ACNC Act for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 reporting periods (transitional reporting arrangement for non-government schools).

Non-government schools have different governance models. Sometimes individual schools register directly with the ACNC with their own ABN and in other situations an entity which represents a number of schools may register with the ACNC (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 lodges a financial questionnaire with DET (be it as an individual school or a representative entity) they can take advantage of the transitional reporting arrangement for non-government schools. Read below about other reporting options that may available for your non-government school

Who cannot participate

Associated funds or organisations registered separately with the ACNC

Funds or organisations associated with a non-government school that are registered separately with the ACNC have their own ABN and do not lodge separate financial questionnaires with DET, for example, school building funds, scholarship funds, early learning centres or parents and friends associations. These funds or organisations need to submit an Annual Information Statement and complete the financial information section like all charities. The transitional reporting arrangement for non-government schools does not apply.

Representative entity with organisations not related to primary or secondary education

A representative entity ABN sometimes covers multiple schools and includes other organisations not related to primary or secondary education, for example day care centres, churches, community centres and welfare services. These representative entities need to submit an Annual Information Statement and complete the financial information section like all charities. The transitional reporting arrangement for non-government schools does not apply.

Other reporting options for non-government schools

Bulk lodgement

Bulk lodgement is the process that allows you to submit more than one Annual Information Statement on behalf of multiple registered charities on a single form. Where an office or system authority administers the submission of Annual Information Statements on behalf of a number of schools, we suggest bulk-lodgement to streamline the submission process. In Section E: financial information, you can leave every line of the income statement and balance sheet blank. You do not need to submit the transitional financial report: non-government school in this process. Read more about bulk lodgement

Group reporting: non-government schools who prepare consolidated financial reports

Where a school is required under accounting standards to prepare a consolidated financial report for organisations they manage/control (controlled entities), they may be able to participate in the transitional reporting arrangement for non-government schools if those controlled entities were also included in the information provided in the school’s financial questionnaire to DET. Schools in this situation may like to apply to the ACNC for group reporting, provided the organisations being consolidated are also registered with the ACNC. Read more about group reporting

2014 and 2015 reporting period

In 2014 and 2015 non-government schools have two options:

  1. Report in the same way as all charities, or
  2. Participate in the non-government schools transitional reporting arrangement - 2 step process.

    Follow the steps below to participate

Attention:You need to know! If your school chooses to report in the same way as all charities (option 1) it is opting out of the transitional reporting arrangement and will need to meet all of the reporting requirements. Your school’s financial information in the Annual Information Statement will not immediately display on the ACNC Register until we have processed it. Read more information about how to report annually

2 Steps process to participate: transitional reporting arrangement for non-government schools

Attention:You need to know! The 2014 and 2015 online process to participate in the non-government transitional arrangement is temporary. We are working to streamline the online process for future reporting periods to make it easier.

Step 1:

Log into the Charity Portal and complete all non-financial questions in the 2014 and 2015 Annual Information Statement (Sections A – D and Section F)

2014 Annual Information Statement

Find out more about the 2014 Annual Information Statement

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

2015 Annual Information Statement

For Section E: financial information
all sized charities
Question 18

  • Answer the question: Does your charity want to provide financial information in the Annual Information Statement?
  • Answer 'No' to participate in the transitional reporting arrangement and move to Section F - Other obligations
  • Answer 'Yes' if you want to opt out and continue to report the same way as all charities and provide financial information in Question 18.

Complete the 2015 Annual Information Statement and submit. If you are participating in the transitional reporting arrangement, you will receive a confirmation document in PDF format, which will show that you have not voluntarily provided financial information. This will also display on the ACNC Register. If you have opted out of the transitional reporting arrangement, you will receive a confirmation PDF, which will show the financial information in

Question 18. Both the financial questions and the annual financial report (if you attached one) will be displayed on the ACNC Register.

Step 2:

Mapping methodology from your DET financial questionnaire to the ACNC Annual Information Statement

Lodge your financial questionnaire with the DET by the 30 June deadline for the 2014 and 2015 reporting period. 

After 30 June, DET will notify us of the schools that have lodged their financial questionnaires and transfer the data.

On each Charity Register entry page there will be a hyperlink to the 2014 and 2015 Annual Information Statement. While we process your school’s financial information data transferred from the DET, we will have a notice alerting the public of the transitional reporting arrangement.

We will extract data from financial questionnaires to populate the financial elements of the Annual Information Statement (including Group Annual Information Statement). Prior to publishing the financial elements on the ACNC Charity Register, we will notify you to give you the opportunity to review the financial information we have received from DET.

Your financial information will populate in the 2014 and 2015 Annual Information Statement.

We have created a PDF document to explain the mapping methodology for non-government schools. The chart shows how the Financial Questionnaire data (from Department of Education and Training) is mapped to the ACNC Annual Information Statement.

2016 reporting period

We are in the process of consulting with DET and peak bodies to further streamline reporting arrangements for non-government schools. We will advise once arrangements are confirmed, so you can find out how to participate in the transitional reporting arrangements in 2016.

More information

External resources