Hello, everyone. Welcome to the ACNC’s webinar for today on Reporting to the ACNC. I must first up apologise for the slight delay in getting things going. We are a few minutes late, and as can, well almost often be predicted with things involving technology, there were a few issues at the beginning (chuckles), but I have a feeling we’re all good to go now. So thank you for joining us. I can see there are plenty of people here looking to find out some info about reporting to the ACNC, and I hope that today’s session will provide you with all you need. Let’s get going.
Well first my name is Matt Crichton. I’m an Education and Communications Officer here with the ACNC.
And with me is April, April Kitchenham, and Eric, who will be answering your questions throughout the webinar, if you have any questions that is (chuckles), which for those that have participated in something like this before you’ll know, but these questions are done via text. So if you’ve got any questions that pop up as we go through, send them through using the navigation panel with the GoToWebinar system and my friendly colleagues, April and Eric, will be able to answer the questions that pop up.
OK, so let’s get started today, Reporting to the ACNC. Today’s agenda, as you can see here on the slide, we’re going to go through quite a range of things, starting at the very basic, the very beginning, and working through to some of the more difficult or I guess more technical stuff that involve financial reporting and the like.
So we do have a range of people joining us today, from a whole bunch of different experiences with reporting to the ACNC, so the first bit may seem a little bit simple, for others it’s definitely something needed for many other people, and the last half may get a little bit more technical around the financial information, but I hope what we’ve got will cover the needs for most people.
OK, we’ll look at when to report, one of the most important things you’ve got to know. How you report, we still get a lot of questions mostly from new people, or people that have just recently joined charities, and on how to provide statements to the ACNC. We’ll look at the ways you should prepare to report to the ACNC. Then we’ll get into the stuff about, well the stuff that involves, amongst other things, the financial information, so what information do you need to report. And finally a really important thing which has popped up for us, it’s getting the financial information that you do report correct.
OK, let’s start at the start, when do I report? Oh, just before I do get into this, if you are having any trouble with the audio of the webinar today we recommend try calling the phone number listed in the GoToWebinar panel, sometimes that works better for people. You will have been given an access code in the email that you were sent by GoToWebinar when you registered, so if you’re having some trouble with your computer’s audio it’s usually the best place, to try the phone number there.
And also with your questions, don’t be too alarmed if your question hasn’t been taken care of as soon as you would like, sometimes we do get a lot of questions and if we don’t get around to some of the questions that you’ve sent through we do send out a follow-up email that covers all the questions, or at least the common questions that were asked, and we’re prepared to respond to specific questions via email later on as well.
OK, back to the content. So when do we report? The due date for Annual Information Statements will differ according to your charity’s particular reporting period, as you can see on the screen here. A reporting period, well for most charities a reporting period is the regular financial year of July 1 to June 30, but there are quite a significant number of charities that have a different reporting period. The most common one I guess of the ones that are not tied to a financial year is a calendar year reporting period. So depending on when you report, your due date for submitting an Annual Information Statement will differ.
The constant rule for everyone is that an Annual Information Statement is required within six months of the end of your charity’s reporting period, as you can see on the screen here. So if your reporting period goes for a 12 month period, after the end of that you’ve got six months within which you need to submit your charity’s Annual Information Statement.
The Annual Information Statement submitted within those six months will cover your charity’s previous year of activity. So on the screen here we’ve got the names of the months replaced by just zero and 12, if you replace those with the appropriate months for your particular charity you’ll get a clear idea of when you need to lock in and submit an Annual Information Statement.
I guess being early June, many people watching the webinar now may be involved with charities that do have a calendar reporting period, so that is that the charity keeps all their information and their records to a January to December period, and then has six months to the end of June to submit an Annual Information Statement, and we’re getting close to that deadline now.
It’s a good idea to use the regular activities your charity may have after a reporting period as a way to remind yourselves of the Annual Information Statement that you have to submit. So many charities after their reporting period, whether that be financial year or calendar year, many charities will have something like an annual general meeting, it’s a good idea to make the Annual Information Statement and the reporting to the ACNC part of the agenda for such meetings so that when you get around to it everyone involved in the charity is aware and knows of the due dates, the upcoming due dates, and when they need to report.
There is one thing for new charities that may be a bit I guess not so common, because depending on when a charity is registered with the ACNC they may need to, well they may have a choice whether to report for a little bit longer period or for a shorter period to get back into the cycle of a regular 12 months. So for example, if your charity was registered recently let’s say, and registered within three months of the end of its reporting period, you’ve got a choice whether or not you could report for that short period, that short one, two, two and a half months, or hold off and report for… report on the next period once you’ve gone through a full year cycle.
So for example, if your charity was registered say in April, you’ve just set up and you finally got registered with the ACNC in mid-April, and the end of your reporting period is the 30th of June, there’s only a couple of months there on which to report. You could either go ahead and do that, report on a couple of months, and which will put you straight back into your regular 12 month cycle following, or you could hold off for those couple of months and then on the next reporting period report on what would be a little bit longer than 12 months, probably in the example I’ve given of being registered in mid-April something like 14 months or so.
One last thing before we do move on about when to report, we do send out reminders to all charities, so even if it’s something you’re not quite used to and it didn’t quite make it on the agenda of the AGM, or your entire committee and board has changed and no one knows what’s going on, at least you know that you will get a reminder either in the post or via email from us once you’re getting closer to your reporting due date. But as I said, we do encourage it, to make it part of your regular processes, your AGM or whatever similar type meetings you have, so that you get used to the cycle of reporting.
OK, for those that do miss the due date we generally send a reminder just to let charities know that they’ve missed their due date, but once the failure to report has slipped over past six months we put a little red mark on the Charity Register entry for that particular charity. At the moment there are a few thousand that have this mark on their Charity Register entry, and it’s an indication that the charity has failed to report on time, and it acts as a notification to inform the public that the charity’s not quite meeting its reporting obligations. Significantly for charities such notifications may influence whether members of the public choose to donate or volunteer for that particular charity. Increasingly people are using the ACNC Charity Register to look up the details of registered charities, and it would be important to try and avoid having such a red mark placed upon your charity’s entry.
Charities that do get this red mark can have it removed by simply logging on and completing the overdue Annual Information Statement. So if for whatever reason your charity happens to have fallen into this category, it’s probably a good idea to jump online and complete the outstanding statements as soon as you can.
Which brings me to the process of how we report.
The Annual Information Statement is an online form. We do get many questions about having… whether or not we’ve sent out the form and that sort of thing, because I think a lot of people imagine that there may be a paper form that’s been sent out in order for them to fill out and return, but that’s not the case, it is an online form which is accessed through our Charity Portal, which is accessed through the ACNC website. So the website homepage, as you can see on the screen here, has a few access points to the Charity Portal. You can see on the top right hand corner there, there’s a purple tab for the portal. Across to the right hand side there’s the purple link which says ‘Submit the AIS’. And then even below there’s a big purple banner headline ‘Submit your charity’s 2015 Annual Information Statement’. That big one at the bottom will take you through to some guidance before getting to the portal, but it’s still another access point.
Every charity was, or has been, issued a password. If your management committee or whoever’s involved in doing this sort of thing for your charity has misplaced it, that’s all right, there is a reset password function on this screen, so if you do… if you can’t remember your password, or whoever the last treasurer or secretary was didn’t leave a note, that’s all right, you can have it reset and there’s a simple process whereby you can have a new one sent to your charity’s listed address for service, which for most charities these days is an email address. Once you do manage to log in you will have a page that looks a bit like this, and from there, the top left hand corner, there’s the link to take you to the Annual Information Statement, which is the main piece of reporting, annual piece of reporting that charities are required to do each year.
Also, just while we’re here on the Charity Portal home, for those of you that aren’t familiar with this, and there may be a lot of people that are new to a charity board or a committee and they’re just getting their heads around what sort of reporting they have to do, the Charity Portal home, the Charity Portal, sorry, is the place where you manage all your charity’s administrative details with the ACNC and, as you can see on the screen here, aside from just submitting an Annual Information Statement there are a few other things you can do, such as changing details, such as your address and the like; changing responsible persons, that is the board members or committee members of the charity; and even making some applications to withhold information or printing a copy of your charity’s certificate.
Importantly also there are a few alerts there within that homepage, so if you’re missing something, if you’re missing details of your charity’s governing documents for example, such as its constitution, it will let you know there and it will prompt you to submit it.
Similarly, if you’re late with an Annual Information Statement an alert will pop up there. So it’s good to be familiar with the Charity Portal and use that as your base for managing all the things you need to manage for a charity registered with the ACNC. Once you’ve clicked on this ‘Submit Annual Information Statement’ link it will take you through to the form proper, and that’s where you begin the statement and you just complete the questions online and submit it online.
Having shown you how you log in, it’s probably worth pointing out some of the important documents that you may want to have a look at, read, or print out and keep handy before you do start and complete your Annual Information Statement. We do have a range of pages to help charities of all sizes and types to be able to complete their Annual Information Statement, and I recommend becoming familiar with this tab here on the homepage called ‘Manage my charity’. If you hover over that with your mouse it will bring up a few options, and as you can see here on the screen the one I’ve highlighted in red called ‘Report annually’ brings up another bunch of options which provides you with all the guidance you need to be able to complete accurately, correctly, an Annual Information Statement.
There’s lots of guidance according to size. There is some information that will help you understand particular arrangements of certain charities, and even the more technical accounting stuff regarding financial statements and financial reporting. If you want to bookmark the URL that will take you straight to all of this guidance, as you can see in the bottom right hand corner of your screen now there is a direct link which will take you is acnc.gov.au/reporting.
In preparing to report it’s important to know that there are three I guess main things that would really help you out if you’re unfamiliar with it, or if you’re doing it for the first time, or you struggled last year, or whatever it may be. I recommend having a look at these pieces of guidance to help you out. Firstly at the bottom you can see the URLs there, acnc.gov.au/, and we’ve got a couple of examples there, there’s 2014AIS, which is obviously long gone now, but then there’s also 2015AIS, which takes you directly to a page that looks like the page I’ve got there on the screen and provides you with three key pieces of guidance and worksheets that will help you through your AIS.
We’ve got a checklist which is, as the name suggest (chuckles), a checklist of all the things that you should have ready and you’ll need to think about before completing your Annual Information Statement. The guide there is a full comprehensive guide to every single question in the Annual Information Statement, so if you wanted a thorough look at it before logging in and trying to figure it out, that’s the one I think you should be downloading. It covers each of the questions of the Annual Information Statement and gives explanations, so for some of the, maybe the financial questions where some people may struggle, that’s a really good one to keep handy. And also we’ve got this worksheet, this is for many people that want to maybe prepare their answers first, share that with other committee members or board members, or have it approved by the board before logging in and completing the Annual Information Statement proper online.
So if you wanted to do that, that’s a handy Word document that you can download and print out, provide some of the answers, make sure you’ve got it all correct and checked by the people you need it to be checked by before you log in and start the Annual Information Statement.
Of course keeping records is important for preparation. It will make things much, much easier if you have records at hand to be able to complete your Annual Information Statement, but beyond that it’s also it’s an obligation for registered charities to keep records, and to keep two kinds of records.
As you can see on the screen we separate them into two types, the operational records and the financial records.
The operational records will cover details about your charity’s activities and its, as the name suggests, its operations. A charity needs to keep operational records that show how it’s entitled to be registered, how it’s meeting its obligations under the ACNC Act, and possibly under tax law.
The ACNC does not define precisely what an operational record is, there is guidance on the website, but as an example this would include things such as annual reports, meeting agendas, minutes, operational plans, reports from events you hold, including fundraising events and that sort of thing, even client records.
And then of course there are the financial records. Again the name is pretty self-explanatory (chuckles), but these ones cover the financial details of your organisation and its transactions.
So it should show and explain how your charity spends or receives its money or other assets, and it should correctly record and explain the charity’s financial position and its performance. And these would include for example financial statements, cash flow statements, bank statements, details of any other types of transactions such as contracts, leases, etcetera.
If this is something that you would like a little bit more information on, the URL listed there at the bottom, acnc.gov.au/recordkeeping covers these two types of records in a little bit deeper, or a little bit more detail, and provides a few examples of what they may cover. But of course if you’d like to have… if there’s a burning question you’ve got right now, we do have April and Eric on the line answering questions in text form of course, so if you want to shoot something through, feel free to do so.
When reporting charity size does affect the type of reporting obligations that your charity has, so it is important to know what size your charity is. We have three categories at the ACNC, so registered charities are categorised into three different types, and as you can see on the screen we’ve got small, which is a charity that has annual revenue of less than $250,000; medium charities, which would cover those that have $250,000 or more, but less than a million; and then the large charities, which are those that have a million dollars or more.
The charity size is, as you can see from the table there, is determined by a charity’s annual revenue. We’ll get to that in a moment, we’re not going to skip right over revenue, so I know a few people have had questions in the past about determining precisely what is revenue, we’ll come to that in a moment, but just as a broader overview they’re the three types of… three sizes that we have, and charity reporting obligations is dictated by which size you fall into.
As you can see at the bottom there’s also a small, a category of a smaller group of charities which is called a basic religious charity. There’s some more information on the website at that address there, acnc.gov.au/basicreligiouscharity, but in short these are a special type of charity that is an unincorporated organisation that is advancing religion only, and these particular types of organisations have slightly separate reporting obligations as well. If you think your organisation may fit into this category I recommend having a look at that information on the website and seeing if you meet the criteria.
As size dictates your reporting obligations of course part of our guidance is to have size specific information, so if you are looking for some more in depth guidance related to your particular charity size you can find that on the website, and there is guidance for each of the three categories which will cover more of the specifics for your charity’s particular reporting obligations as that particular size. You can head straight to those pages with any of the three web addresses down the bottom there, acnc.gov.au/smallreporting, medium reporting, or large reporting.
There’s one important thing I think we can mention with size, and it’s occasionally a charity may come across an unusual event whereby it receives a lot of money in a single hit, let’s say, and pushes it into a new category, for example, a charity may receive a large bequest that moves it from being a small charity into a medium charity just for a single year, and of course this would, in theory, affect its reporting obligations. Having suddenly jumped to a new category it would have a few extra things that it may have to think about. If you think your charity may fit into this situation, and it’s likely to return to its original sort of standard operating size the following year, you can apply to the ACNC for your charity to continue to report as its former size, or as its regular size.
Whilst not hugely common, there are some charities that may come across such situations, and for that one year, instead of suddenly reporting as a medium charity where they once were small, or as a large charity where they once were medium, the charities can apply to the ACNC and have that particular year reported as its regular size. You can do this with a particular form for this purpose on our website. I don’t have the URL on this slide, but it’ll come up later on, but if you wanted to jot it down while we’re speaking about it, it’s acnc.gov.au/forms, and within that page there’s a whole list of different forms for the ACNC, and this particular form that you’re after, if this is pertinent for your charity, is form 4D, Apply to Keep Charity Size. This may be of importance for particularly some professional advisors or accountants who are acting on behalf of a number of charities and see this come about more regularly than say people that are involved in only just one small charity.
In order to calculate your size, whilst for many charities it’s pretty easy, they’re either well into the large category, or really tiny and in the small category and not going anywhere near the borders, that’s fine, but for other organisations it gets a bit tricky and are not sure what they need to include to determine their size. There is a really handy resource at Accounting for Good, as you can see the website down there at the bottom, accountingforgood.com.au/acnc-calculator, which sort of does the job for you, and you put some whole dollar figures into the fields here and click submit and it will give you an idea of your charity size for ACNC purposes, and this may be of use if your charity is, or if you’re struggling to understand what your revenue is, or whether or not you’re sitting on the borderline, it might be worth having a look at that resource to be able to determine whether or not, or which of the three categories you fit into.
Put briefly – we’ll go through revenue briefly now – if you think about revenue as the income that arises in the ordinary course of activities of your charity, so for example government or other grants, donations, bequests or legacies, sales of goods or inflow of capital from other fundraising activities would come up in the ordinary course of activities for your charity. It may also be fees and charges for certain services that your charity has, interest earned, and even dividends or similar distributions.
Revenue is not, for example a few things that may not be considered revenue, gains on the sale of assets, for example motor vehicles or equipment or real estate; gains on foreign currency transactions, or forgiveness of a liability or a debt. These types of things are generally not recognised as revenue because they don’t happen in the ordinary operations of a charity, but they may influence the total income of a charity. As I said, if you’re struggling with your charity size it’s worth having a look at this tool and seeing if it provides any clarification for you to determine whether or not you fit into one of the three categories.
And it may be a good time to point out once again that we do have April and Eric helping out with questions, so if there’s something that you need to ask regarding revenue in particular it might be a good time to just shoot through a question the panel on the right hand side of your screen, and we hope April and Eric will be able to answer it of course. If they can’t for whatever reason, maybe there’s a flood of questions coming through, or if the question is particularly tricky and requires further thought, we will certainly get back to you after the webinar.
We often – just one more point on revenue – we often get questions about raffle tickets, if a charity sells raffle tickets one year to raise some money, would this be considered revenue? Selling raffle tickets is likely to be fundraising, and fundraising is income that does arise in the ordinary course of activities for your charity. And as fundraising is accepted as part of many charities activities, it doesn’t matter if it’s an ongoing thing that you do all the time, or if it’s just a one-off fundraising effort, it would be considered revenue. But remember, too, that fundraising is something that is governed by state legislation, so depending on the state that you’re in, you may need to check that you meet the particular state requirements and legislation for fundraising purposes.
OK, so once we get into the Annual Information Statement what sort of information do we need to report? All charities need to submit an Annual Information Statement, that’s the sort of base annual thing that charities are required to log on and complete. In addition to this medium and large charities must also submit an Annual Financial Report. So the Annual Information Statement, if you think about it broadly as two main things, there’s the non-financial questions which relate to your charity’s operations, and then the financial questions.
The first part, the non-financial questions, will cover activities, beneficiaries, operating locations, some really high-level financial information, and also ask you about whether or not your governing documents are up to date, whether or not you’ve listed all the correct responsible persons for your charity, and if your charity’s subtype is current and accurate. Again I might just point out a governing document is the formal document that governs a charity’s operation, so it’s something such as a constitution or a trust deed. A responsible person is those on a board or a committee of management. And then the AIS does contain some financial questions. For small charities this covers nine questions, for medium charities 12, and for large charities 15.
So by size, if we have a look at the table here we can see that the type of statement, this is a financial statement, will differ according to the size of your charity. As we mentioned before, size does affect the number of financial information questions we ask in the AIS, the Annual Information Statement that is, but it does also affect a few other things, such as whether you need to use accrual accounting, whether you need to submit an Annual Financial Report at all, and whether or not you have to have your financial report audited or just reviewed. So for small charities, they can choose if they want to submit a financial report, it’s optional, and charities can use either cash or accrual accounting. Both medium and large charities must submit a financial report, and must use accrual accounting. The type of statement in the financial report depends on whether your charity is considered a reporting entity or not. Medium charities must have their financial reports either reviewed or audited, but large charities must have an audited financial report. A charity’s constitution or, as I mentioned before, its governing document, or even its grant funding or agreements may state the type of financial statement that it must prepare, and whether or not that financial report needs to be reviewed or audited.
To help out with the financial aspect of reporting in the Annual Information Statement there are some… there is a lot more detailed guidance on the website, and here are three pages that I recommend having a look at if you’re struggling with any of these. The difference between cash and accrual accounting is covered there at acnc.gov.au/cashaccrual. The type of financial statement that you may need to submit is covered there with /financial statements, and reviewed or audited financial reports at /reviewaudit. Now we do get into some of the more tricky stuff here, so if you’ve got some questions about this I recommend getting them in to April and Eric. But again if we don’t get around to it, or if your question is particularly difficult or tricky, or requires further consideration, we will get back to you in email. So don’t panic if you don’t get an answer, you will eventually get an answer (chuckles).
So we’re just going to have a quick look at the type of financial statement that you may be required to report. Financial reports can be the general or special purpose. The ACNC will accept either, as long as your charity has met the requirements of the ACNC regulations. Now the regulations state that your charity’s financial reports must (1) meet applicable Australian Accounting Standards, and provide a true and fair view of your charity’s financial position and performance. Now to decide which type of financial statement your charity needs to prepare under the Australian Accounting Standards it must work out whether it is a reporting entity or not, as you can see here with the question on the screen, is my charity a reporting entity? The Australian Accounting Standard AASB 1053 defines a reporting entity as, and I’m going to read this here, so I’ll be as clear as I can, and if you have any questions we can come around to that later, but it defines a reporting entity as “An entity in respect of which it is reasonable to expect the existence of users who rely on the entity’s general purpose financial statements for information that will be useful to them for making and evaluating decisions about the allocation of resources. A reporting entity can be a single entity or a group comprising a parent and all of its subsidiaries.”
Now I understand that probably wasn’t the easiest sentence to understand and pass, but it covers that information where people may rely on to make decisions about their engagement with your charity for example, whether they donate, or whether they volunteer with your charity. Basically if people use and rely on the charity’s financial statements to help them make decisions, then your charity’s most likely a reporting entity. If your charity is not a reporting entity it can submit a special purpose financial statement to the ACNC. This means you must apply as a minimum six Accounting Standards, to the extent that they are relevant. I’ll run through these Accounting Standards in a moment. If your charity is a reporting entity it must submit to the ACNC a general purpose financial statement, and this must comply with all applicable Australian Accounting Standards.
We’ll have a quick look here at whether or not your charity is a reporting entity. If you’re unsure, to help you decide I’ve put in bold here as an overview which may help out, if people use and rely on your charity’s financial statements to help them make decisions then your charity is most likely a reporting entity. If you are struggling and you’re not sure about this, ultimately it will depend on a number of factors, and here are three questions that may help you decide. Think about the following, and again this is only if you’re really unsure about this point, but think about is there a spread of membership in the charity, or is there a level of separation between management and members and other important stakeholders? If you’re still not sure, think about whether your charity has significant economic or political importance or influence. And also, well if you’re still not sure after that, think about whether your charity, if it’s large in size, or has a high level of sales, assets, debt, or funding from governments or other parties. If it’s likely yes to these questions, then it’s most likely your charity is a reporting entity.
We’ll have a quick look at the Accounting Standards. There are six mandatory Accounting Standards required under the ACNC Act, and if you’re preparing a special purpose financial statement you must comply with these six Accounting Standards. You don’t need to remember all the Accounting Standards word for word obviously, and you can just refer to them at the Australian Accounting Standards Board’s website which I’ve got listed there as aasb.gov.au. They’re the six main Accounting Standards if you want to have a look through that.
So having a look at the information you need to report to the ACNC as part of the Annual Information Statement, charities that aren’t subject to any particular special consideration, such as the one I mentioned before with basic religious charities, and there are a few other minor groups that have particular reporting arrangements in place, but for the majority of charities, for most of them, charities need to submit, which is optional for small charities actually, but for medium and large charities you’re required to prepare a financial report, small charities can if they like, it’s optional, and the financial report must include a statement of profit or loss and other comprehensive income; a statement of the financial position; statement of changes in equity; statement of cash flows; notes to the financial statements; it needs a responsible persons’ declaration that must be signed and dated by a responsible person of the charity, and as I mentioned before a responsible person is generally a board member or committee member or something like that, and this would commonly be done by say the treasurer.
For medium sized charities the report needs to be reviewed or audited, and that report needs to be signed and dated. And for large charities it must include an audited report that is signed and dated.
To make sure you’re on top of all of this it’s worthwhile having a look through the checklist there at acnc.gov.au/2015AISchecklist. That does contain all the things that you really need to consider and the mandatory things that you need for your Annual Information Statement, and it’s worth keeping that handy as you go through it, just checking off the things to make sure that you’ve covered everything that you need to.
We’re getting towards the end now. We’re just going to have a look at the financial information. It’s important that we do get the financial information correct. We had a look, an assessment through some of the information provided in the 2014 Annual Information Statement and found that some charities were making some errors with their reporting, so it’s important to think about some of these points to make sure that you’re not falling into the category of the charities that are making a few errors. (1) Know your charity size. As we went through it before, make sure you’re clear on what size your charity is. For many of you it will be really easy, you’ll be really small, or you’ll be really large, or you’ll be right in the middle there, you don’t need to think about it too much, but for some charities that are pushing the border there it’s worth knowing precisely what size you’ll be and reporting accordingly.
Know the financial report type that you have to do. So this, as we mentioned briefly before, is about whether or not, for medium and large charities that is, whether or not it needs to be prepared on a general or special purpose basis. This information is generally found in Note 1 of the report, but if you’re unsure it might be worth asking your reviewer or auditor for assistance if you’re really unsure on that part. (3) Is that basic religious charity category. Once again for many charities this isn’t even a consideration, but for some it’s something that they do consider and need to know the requirements. Have a look at the website, that it’s listed there again, /basicreligiouscharity, to have a look at the criterion for being considered one of these charities, and whether or not you meet all the requirements. We found that some organisations were incorrectly self-assessing as basic religious charities, and were made to then correct the errors that they’d made in their previous Annual Information Statement.
This is a pretty obvious one, but surprisingly it still comes up, check that the financial information you enter is correct (chuckles). And this goes right down to simple things such as making sure you’ve entered the digits correctly, or you haven’t left off a zero, or you haven’t added an extra zero, those sort of things. We found that there were a number of organisations that were supplying financial information that was obviously correct, not by any huge mistake, just by simple typos or errors that all of us make most of the time when we’re typing on a keyboard (chuckles), so just double check, maybe triple check, get someone else to have a look at it and make sure that the financial information that you’ve entered in the form is correct.
And the last one, just remember to provide financial information. Surprisingly a lot of organisations, oh I say a lot, it’s not a lot, a certain percentage of organisations did fail to provide any financial information and we had to get back to them to ask them to complete their reporting, because if you’re required to provide it, and you don’t, it means that your Annual Information Statement isn’t correct and it can’t be considered as complete.
Specifically on the financial stuff, remember to submit the financial reports including the statements. If you’re submitting a special purpose financial statement, remember the Accounting Standards. Check that you have an accounting policy note and it is correct. If you’re preparing a general purpose financial statement, check the completeness and quality of the related party disclosures.
An example of a related party is a responsible person and their close family members, so key management personnel are the people that have the authority and responsibility for planning, directing and controlling the activities of the charity, directly or indirectly, and this includes any responsible person.
Finally, make sure you attach all the required documents. And again it’s worth grabbing that checklist from the website, having that handy when you go through the annual information statement to make sure that you’re not forgetting anything mandatory or anything that you need to cover.
Some charities do have reporting obligations to other organisations, other government organisations, such as the ones listed here, I’ve got ASIC, the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, otherwise known as ORIC, various state and territory regulators of incorporated associations, so for example it may be Business and Consumer Affairs or the Office of Consumer Affairs in some states. We are working hard at implementing arrangements that reduce red tape for charities, and we have some transitional arrangements to reduce this burden, so for some particular charities it may be that they fall into a category that has some arrangements in place which makes the reporting… which streamlines the reporting and makes it easier if you have other organisations to which you need to report.
There’s a page on our website which covers all the transitional reporting arrangements. It won’t cover all charities, in fact there’s probably a large number that it doesn’t cover, but it’s worth having a look if you think that your charity, particularly one of the four we’ve got mentioned there, may have to report to those organisations or those agencies, it may be worth having a look to see if any transitional reporting arrangements applies to your charity, which may affect what you need to proved to the ACNC or how you need to provide it. The website there is acnc.gov.au/transitionalreporting.
I have gone through a lot today and given a lot of websites for you to check (chuckles). Here is a list of the main ones that I think are relevant for reporting as part of the ACNC’s Annual Information Statement. The main one there at the top, 2015AIS, will cover your size based guidance and provide you with the opportunity to download the worksheet or the checklist. It’s worth having a look at. And then there’s some of the more specific information regarding charity size, and that goes into details regarding the revenue of a charity and how it’s calculated. Transitional reporting, the one I’ve just mentioned, whether or not your organisation has to report to other agencies, and there may be arrangements in place to help out or streamline that reporting.
The next three will get into the more technical accounting side of things, so if you’re unsure about general purpose reports or special purpose reports it’s worth having a look through the information at the website there, acnc.gov.au/financialstatements. Also cash accrual for the information regarding the two types of accounting. And then review audit for information regarding reviewed annual information, sorry, a reviewed Annual Financial Report or an audited Annual Financial Report. Right down the bottom there is that external resource that I recommended before for those unsure about their charity size and wanting to use, or wanting a little bit of help to determine whether or not they fit into the category that they think they do, and it’s worth putting in some of the information, the financial information of your charity into the ACNC calculator and seeing what it pops out. It’s likely that it’s probably going to be exactly as you thought it was, but it’s if you’re unsure it’s worth having a look.
As always you can contact us any time between nine and six, Eastern that is, so if you’re in S.A., Northern Territory or W.A. the times change slightly, but any time between there on the phone at 1-3-A-C-N-C, which is 1-3-2-2-6-2, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, we will get back to you as soon as we can. Particularly for example today, if something popped up that you thought you wanted to know about, but wanted to put it in a more detailed email, or provide some more details about your specific charity that you want covered, then by all means do so at that address there. And again if you feel like you didn’t… you come up with a question later on, you’re walking around this afternoon and you think, “Oh, I should have asked that,” well then that’s the place you want to direct that question to.
And of course we’re pretty active on social media, so if you want to have a look at the Facebook page, the Twitter account, or even YouTube.com/ACNCvideos, for some more information. And that last one is a good point to finish on because the webinars that we do are always recorded and then always uploaded to the YouTube account once we’re done, and if you miss anything, or if you’d like to check something again, you can go back and watch the video again.
Thank you very much for your attendance and attention today. I’m sure it’s been one of the most riveting hours of your life, and if you want to participate in the next exciting instalment of our webinar series we’ve got a webinar on the 12th of July and you can register on the website at acnc.gov.au/webinars.
For any webinar specific feedback, which we welcome by the way, and good or bad, we want to know how we’re doing, please send us an email to email@example.com. So rather than the specific questions about your charity’s financial reporting requirements and how to report on an AIS, that stuff can go to firstname.lastname@example.org, but if you’ve got suggestions for the webinars and anything that you think worked well or should be done better and that sort of thing, and as I said we welcome both positive and negative feedback to help us improve these sessions, then send us an email at email@example.com.
If there’s anyone that wants to hang around for a few minutes to ask a few questions, we will be still online answering a few questions. You won’t be able to hear my voice anymore, but we’ll be typing away and answering the questions that are hanging around.
So feel free to hang around for ten or 15 minutes or so and if as I said, and as I have said a few times (chuckles), if you didn’t get your question answered or if you feel like there’s something that you want to have covered later on then we’ll get in touch via email.
Once again thanks for your attendance, and we look forward to presenting to you again in the next webinar.
Thanks very much.