Non-government schools

Information for the public about school financial information

Please note that there are limitations to the financial information presented in a school’s 2014 to 2016 Annual Information Statement (AIS) as it may not reflect the complete financial position of the school.

Under the transitional reporting arrangement, the financial information in the 2014 to 2016 AIS for a participating non-government school has been taken from the information in the Financial Questionnaire (FQ) it provided to the Department of Education (DET). How the ACNC mapped the financial information to the 2014 to 2016 AIS is explained in the mapping document  available as a PDF download [PDF file 366KB].

DET’s FQ asks for the financial information that relates to operating the school and providing activities for students (from Prep/Kinder to Year 12). Some school related activities are excluded (examples include building funds, parent & friends associations and canteens). As such, the financial information as presented in a school’s 2014 to 2016 AIS may not be a complete representation of its total financial position.

Additionally, DET allows for either cash or accrual accounting. When assessing income, it is important to realise that this includes sources of recurrent as well as capital income. Capital income, when expended, is capitalised as an asset. However, for schools that report on a cash basis and systemic schools, this means that the information may not be available under Balance Sheet items as it is not required as part of the FQ.

Read more about cash and accrual accounting.

It is important to consider these factors when reading and interpreting the financial information in the 2014 to 2016 AISs of non-government schools. School-by-school comparisons should not be made using ACNC data.

Information about school activity is available on the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority’s (ACARA) My School website, myschool.edu.au. My School contains data on a range of aspects of a school, including its student profile, NAPLAN performance, and financial information.

The ACNC is working with the DET and the school sector to design a single collection point of financial information for both DET and ACNC purposes. In future, this will include collection and publication of financial statements.

For more information about interpreting financial information generally, please visit acnc.gov.au/understandingfinancialinfo

Information for school reporting to the ACNC

Attention:You need to know! Non-government schools do not have to provide financial information to us directly. Follow the steps below to participate in the transitional reporting arrangement for non-government schools.

Non-government schools submit Financial Questionnaires (FQ) to the Department of Education and Training (DET) as a requirement under the Australian Education Act 2013 (Cth). The ACNC Commissioner has agreed to accept these FQ’s in meeting the financial reporting requirements under the ACNC Act for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 reporting periods (see below for more on the transitional reporting arrangement for non-government schools).

Non-government schools have different governance models. Sometimes individual schools register directly with the ACNC with their own ABN, while in other situations an entity which represents a number of schools may register with the ACNC (one ABN that covers a number of schools).

Non-government schools submit Financial Questionnaires (FQ) to the Department of Education and Training (DET) as a requirement under the Australian Education Act 2013 (Cth). The ACNC Commissioner has agreed to accept these FQ’s in meeting the financial reporting requirements under the ACNC Act for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 reporting periods (see below for more on the transitional reporting arrangement for non-government schools).

Non-government schools have different governance models. Sometimes individual schools register directly with the ACNC with their own ABN, while in other situations an entity which represents a number of schools may register with the ACNC (one ABN that covers a number of schools).

Transitional reporting arrangement for non-government schools

Who can participate

The ACNC only requires registered charities (individual schools or representative entities registered as a charity with a unique ABN) to report.

Where a registered charity lodges a financial questionnaire with DET (be it as an individual school or a representative entity) they can take advantage of the transitional reporting arrangement for non-government schools. Read below about other reporting options that may available for your non-government school

Who cannot participate

Associated funds or organisations registered separately with the ACNC

Funds or organisations associated with a non-government school that are registered separately with the ACNC have their own ABN and do not lodge separate financial questionnaires with DET, for example, school building funds, scholarship funds, early learning centres or parents and friends associations.

These funds or organisations need to submit an Annual Information Statement and complete the financial information section like all charities. The transitional reporting arrangement for non-government schools does not apply.

Representative entity with organisations not related to primary or secondary education

A representative entity ABN sometimes covers multiple schools and includes other organisations not related to primary or secondary education, for example day care centres, churches, community centres and welfare services.

These representative entities need to submit an Annual Information Statement and complete the financial information section like all charities. The transitional reporting arrangement for non-government schools does not apply.

Other reporting options for non-government schools

Bulk lodgement

Bulk lodgement is the process that allows you to submit more than one Annual Information Statement on behalf of multiple registered charities on a single form. Where an office or system authority administers the submission of Annual Information Statements on behalf of a number of schools, we suggest bulk-lodgement to streamline the submission process. In Section E: financial information, you can leave every line of the income statement and balance sheet blank. You do not need to submit the transitional financial report: non-government school in this process. Read more about bulk lodgement

2016 Annual Information Statement

In 2016 non-government schools have two options 

  1. Report in the same way as all charities, or
  2. Participate in the non-government schools transitional reporting arrangement - 2 step process.

Follow the steps below to participate:

 

Attention:You need to know! If your school chooses to report in the same way as all charities (option 1) it is opting out of the transitional reporting arrangement and will need to meet all of the reporting requirements. Your school’s financial information in the Annual Information Statement will not immediately display on the ACNC Register until we have processed it. Read more information about how to report annually
If your school choses to participate in the transitional reporting arrangement, your school will not be required to provide financial information in the Annual Information Statement.

Two-step process to participate: transitional reporting arrangement for non-government schools

Step 1:

Log into the Charity Portal and complete all non-financial questions in the 2016 Annual Information Statement (Sections A – C and Section E)

For Section D: Finance

Answer the question: Does your charity want to provide financial information in the Annual Information Statement?

  • Answer 'No' to participate in the transitional reporting arrangement and move to Section E - Other obligations
  • Answer 'Yes' if you want to opt out and continue to report the same way as all charities and provide financial information in Question 15.

Complete the 2016 Annual Information Statement and submit. If you are participating in the transitional reporting arrangement, you will receive a confirmation document in PDF format, which will show that you have not voluntarily provided financial information.

This will also display on the ACNC Register. If you have opted out of the transitional reporting arrangement, you will receive a confirmation PDF, which will show the financial information in Question 15. Both the financial questions and the annual financial report (if you attached one) will be displayed on the ACNC Register.

Step 2:

Mapping methodology from your DET financial questionnaire to the ACNC Annual Information Statement

In the new FQ17 (2016 data) submission process, non-government schools will see an ‘ACNC Preview page’. It shows how the FQ items map to the 2016 AIS Finance section using the same mapping methodology in the 2014 and 2015 reporting period. The ACNC Preview page covers individual non-government schools or systemic entities which are registered directly with the ACNC with their own ABNs.

Some charities which are the approved authorities (for multiple schools but only the approved authority is registered with the ACNC) will be contacted by the Reporting team with the aggregated financial information.

The mapped FQ as displayed in the ACNC preview screen has been uploaded to the ACNC Register. You will be able to request amendments to the information after publication by contacting us.

In addition, from 2017 DET will collect audited financial reports as part of the FQ17 (2016 data) submission and provide them to the ACNC. The audited financial reports will be published on the ACNC Register.

Where multiple schools’ that submit individual financial reports to DET that represents one single registered charity under one single ABN, the financial reports will be combined into one single document and published against that registered charity.

We have created a PDF document to explain the mapping methodology for non-government schools. The chart shows how the FQ data from DET is mapped to the ACNC Annual Information Statement.

2017 reporting period

The FQ18 (2017 data) has introduced additional FQ items for the 2017 AIS. The new FQ items capture and improve both the income and expense side, to include non-school related items which are not within the scope of the FQ but included in the audited financial report for the registered charity (whole entity reporting).

The FQ18 (2017 data) aims to capture financial information relating to the whole registered charity to align to the 2017 AIS and the audited financial report.

We have created a document to explain the mapping methodology for non-government schools. The chart shows how the FQ18 data from DET is mapped to the ACNC Annual Information Statement.

You can download the Mapping document, below. For more information, contact us.

2014 and 2015 reporting period

We have completed the transitional reporting arrangement process for the 2014 and 2015 Annual Information Statement. If the ACNC register does not show the correct financial information for your school, please contact us.

More information

External resources

Department of Education and Training instructions for Financial Questionnaire