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. These benefits include:

  • the provision of a common approach to the way not-for-profits record and report accounting information.
    • 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.
  • making it easier for finance staff and volunteers to service multiple not-for-profits.
  • allowing 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.
  • the ability for NSCOA to be customised 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.