National Standard Chart of Accounts

The National Standard Chart of Accounts (NSCOA) is a free data entry tool and data dictionary for charities and other not-for-profit organisations. 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

The ACNC currently conducting research regarding the level of awareness, use and value of the NSCOA by not-for-profit organisations, as well as any challenges or benefits of adopting the NSCOA that users have identified. Your organisation is invited to complete a short survey on the use and value of the NSCOA and your responses will help guide ongoing development of the NSCOA and other resources for the sector by the ACNC.
If your organisation is a charity or other not-for-profit organisation you can participate in the survey by clicking the link below, the survey ends 28 February 2017:

Government agencies, non-government grant makers and professional advisers are also invited to participate in ACNC surveys regarding their experiences with the NSCOA using the links below, surveys end 28 February 2017.


Survey link

If you are a professional adviser/accountant

If you are a non-government grant maker/funder

If you are a government agency


The NSCOA and support materials are available for download free of charge using the links below.

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.