Financial information of non-government schools

For many non-government schools, financial information in the Annual Information Statement is mapped from the Financial Questionnaire they provided to the Commonwealth Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE). Since the 2016 Annual Information Statement, the ACNC has also published the financial reports of non-government schools collected by DESE on the ACNC Charity Register.

How the ACNC maps the financial information from the DESE’s Financial Questionnaire to the ACNC’s Annual Information Statement is detailed in the related resources available on this page.

However, the information in a school’s Annual Information Statement does not provide a complete picture of a school and should not be used to compare school performance. Information about a school’s activities is available on My School, a website run by the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. My School contains a range of information on a school’s activities, including its student profile, NAPLAN performance, and finances.

The ACNC is working with the DESE to establish a single point of collection for financial information that satisfies the requirements of both the ACNC's Annual Information Statement and the DESE’s Financial Questionnaire.

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

Information for schools reporting to the ACNC

Reporting arrangement for non-government schools

For non-government schools, the ACNC Commissioner has agreed that the financial information - and - from the 2016 reporting period, the financial reports provided in the DESE's Financial Questionnaire can be used to meet the ACNC’s financial reporting requirements.

This means that non-government schools do not have to provide financial information to the ACNC directly – the ACNC will use the information and financial reports that non-government schools provide to the DESE in the financial questionnaire to complete the financial section of the Annual Information Statement.

Follow the steps below to provide financial information to the ACNC via the DESE’s Financial Questionnaire.

Which organisations can participate

Non-government schools (or representative entities) that are registered with the ACNC as charities can use the information in the financial questionnaire they submit to the DESE to complete the financial section of the ACNC’s Annual Information Statement.

A registered charity that acts as a representative entity solely for multiple primary or secondary schools not individually registered with the ACNC and submits the Financial Questionnaire to the DESE may be able to participate.

Which organisations or other entities cannot participate

Funds or organisations that are associated with a non-government school but are separately registered with the ACNC (with their own ABN) and do not submit a separate Financial Questionnaire to the DESE cannot use this reporting arrangement. Examples of these funds or organisations typically include school building funds, scholarship funds, early learning centres or Parents and Friends Associations.

These funds or organisations need to submit their own Annual Information Statements with the financial information section completed.

A registered charity that acts as a representative entity for organisations not solely related to primary or secondary education cannot use this reporting arrangement. Examples of these types of representative entities typically include day care centres, churches, community centres and welfare services. These representative entities need to submit their own Annual Information Statement with the financial information section completed.

alert icon If a non-government school chooses to report in the same way as all charities, it must complete all the required sections of the Annual Information Statement, including the finance section and provide an annual financial report that meets all ACNC reporting requirements.

Participating in the reporting arrangement for non-government schools

To participate in this reporting arrangement, a non-government school must log in to the Charity Portal and complete all non-financial questions in the Annual Information Statement. In the section that asks for financial information, the school must answer ‘no’ to the question ‘Does your charity want to provide financial information?’

The ACNC will then use the information in the Financial Questionnaire and the financial report submitted to the DESE to complete the Finance section of the Annual Information Statement.

alert icon All non-government schools (regardless of the reporting arrangement) must answer the questions in the Annual Information Statement about:

  • the reporting period
  • the type of financial statements
  • the financial report consolidating more than one entity
  • the financial report being submitted to a state or territory regulator.

It is optional for schools to provide the full-time equivalent (FTE) staff number in the Annual Information Statement. If a school does not provide the FTE staff number in the Annual Information Statement, the ACNC will get it from the Financial Questionnaire submitted to the DESE.

For schools that participate in this reporting arrangement, there will be a message on their ACNC Charity Register page stating that the financial information will be published at a later date.

Financial information and annual financial reports will generally be published on the ACNC Charity Register for the participating schools towards the end of the relevant reporting period.

Mapping the financial information from the financial questionnaire to the Annual Information Statement

The Financial Questionnaire contains a preview of how the financial information will map to the financial section of the Annual Information Statement. The information as displayed in this preview, as well as the school’s annual financial report, will be published on the ACNC Charity Register.

For registered charities that represent multiple schools (and the schools are not individually registered with the ACNC), we will display aggregated information from the DESE's financial questionnaire in each representative charity's Annual Information Statement.

If these schools submitted multiple financial reports to the DESE, the financial reports will be combined into a single document and published on their representative charity's record.

If there are issues with the information published on the Charity Register, you should contact the ACNC to discuss them.

Schools can refer to the mapping documents below: