Information for the public about school financial information

For many non-government schools, financial information in the Annual Information Statement (AIS) is mapped from the financial questionnaire they provided to the Department of Education and Training (DET). Since the 2016 AIS, the ACNC has also published the financial reports of non-government schools collected by the DET on the ACNC Charity Register.

How the ACNC maps the financial information from the DET’s financial questionnaire to the ACNC’s AIS is detailed in the related resources available on this page.

However, the information in a school’s AIS 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 (ACARA). 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 DET to establish a single point of collection for financial information that satisfies the requirements of both the AIS and the DET’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 DET’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 DET in the financial questionnaire to complete the financial section of the AIS.

Follow the steps below to provide financial information to the ACNC via the DET’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 DET to complete the financial section of the ACNC’s AIS.

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 DET 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 DET 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 AISs 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 AIS 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 AIS, including the financial section.

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 2017 AIS. In the section that asks for financial information - Section D: Finance - the school must answer ‘no’ to the question ‘Does your charity want to provide financial information in the AIS?’

The ACNC will then use the financial report and the information in the financial questionnaire submitted to the DET to complete the financial section of the AIS.

alert icon Question 15(a)–(d) in the Financial Section of the 2017 AIS is required whether a non-government school participates in the reporting arrangement or not.

The DET’s 2018 financial questionnaire asks for additional financial information that, although recorded in a school’s financial report, was not within the scope of the DET’s financial questionnaire. The additional information is asked on behalf of the ACNC and covers non-school related items which will align with the total income and expense data in the school’s AIS.

alert icon It is optional for schools to provide the full-time equivalent (FTE) staff number in Section C of 2017 AIS. If a school does not provide the FTE staff number, the ACNC will get it from the financial questionnaire and include it in the AIS later.

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.

The ACNC expects to have the financial information available on the ACNC Charity Register for the participating schools from October 2018 with the financial reports available at a later date.

Mapping the financial information from the DET’s financial questionnaire to the ACNC’s AIS

In the DET’s 2018 (2017 data) financial questionnaire there is a preview of how the financial information will map to the financial section of the ACNC’s AIS. 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 are representative entities for multiple schools (where the schools are not individually registered with the ACNC), the ACNC will display the aggregated information in each representative entity’s AIS.

If there are issues with the information as published on the Charity Register, schools can contact the ACNC to discuss them or request amendments.

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.

Mapping documents that schools can refer to are available for download below.