National Standard Chart of Accounts

The National Standard Chart of Accounts (NSCOA) is a data entry tool and data dictionary for not-for-profits, including charities. All Australian governments (Commonwealth, state and territory) have agreed to accept NSCOA when requesting information from not-for-profits. While NSCOA is not compulsory, there are benefits in using it.

Important - Any organisation is able to adopt NSCOA. It is most commonly used in the ‘not-for-profit’ sector, including charities.

Have your say: National Standard Chart of Accounts

You’re invited to complete a quick survey on the use and value of the National Standard Chart of Accounts (NSCOA) – an agreed list of financial account categories and a data dictionary for use by NFPs. The survey only takes a few minutes to complete. Whether you have or haven’t implemented or used the NSCOA, your input will help guide the continual improvement of the NSCOA and increase its benefits for the not-for-profit (NFP) sector.

The intention of the surveys is to better understand the level of awareness, use and value of the NSCOA, as well as any challenges or benefits of adopting the NSCOA that users have identified.

The surveys are now open. We have separated the surveys into three categories : Professional adviser /accountant, Non-government grant maker/funder and grant funding government agencies.

You can make a submission using our online survey link below:


Survey link

If you are a professional adviser/accountant
If you are a non-government grant maker/funder
If you administer grants/funding programs in a government agency


Benefits of using NSCOA


  • provides a common approach to the way not-for-profits record and report accounting information (consistency in accounting categories and terms). This facilitates data comparison and benchmarking across the sector. A common approach means not-for-profits can learn and leverage off the work of each other.
  • makes it easier for finance staff and volunteers to service multiple not-for-profits.
  • allows not-for-profits reporting in multiple jurisdictions or to multiple departments to apply a consistent approach to preparing financial information,
  • reducing the time and cost in preparing financial statements.
  • can be changed to suit each not-for-profit’s unique situation. For example, a not-for-profit can add extra accounts, create sub accounts or use cost centre accounting.

The May 2011 and April 2010 versions of NSCOA

The May 2011 version is an updated version of the April 2010 version. The May 2011 update includes:

  • references to legislation from South Australia, Tasmania and Northern Territory
  • a number of minor changes to account descriptions, accounting standard references and other comments
  • a change in the suggested account name for account 4-4060 ‘Income from Raffles and Gaming’, changed to ‘Income from Gaming’.

The April 2010 version only includes references to legislation from the following jurisdictions:

  • New South Wales
  • Victoria
  • Queensland
  • Western Australia

Charities in these jurisdictions can choose either version of NSCOA.

Related resources

Matrix on Board, Accounting For Good website Standard Chart of Accounts videos.