The launch of Accounting for Value is timely for discussions on Australian charities’ financial reporting

The SROI Network has just launched it’s site Accounting for Value where Jeremy Nicholls challenges us to take principles-based accounting back to basics and ask ourselves what we want to account for and how we might agree on the answer.

While the discussion may seem idealistic and somewhat hypothetical, it’s a great basis for charities in Australia to start from when thinking about the financial reports they’ll soon be submitting to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. What story do we want to tell, and well how do our current accounting principles and practices deliver it?

NPC looks at getting involved in social investment from a charity perspective

Funders might assume that charities will be excited about the recent growth in social investment markets. New Philanthropy Capital (they do the best work!) produced A guide to social investment for charities in November 2011.


Charities need to think carefully before taking on social investment: they need to understand the risks and take steps to mitigate them, and be clear how the investment will create social benefit and improve the lives of their beneficiaries. For charities that have considered the risks fully and are confident of a future income stream, social investment can be an effective way to enable them to do more for the people they help.

One week left to comment on draft ACNC Bill

One week left to comment on draft ACNC Bill

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, has invited written submissions on the Exposure Draft for the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Bill. Submissions close Friday 20 July 2012. The ACNC’s frequently asked questions contain most of the relevant information. The Committee webpage has information on making a submission. And the Commonwealth Treasury site lists the public consultations that have fed into this Bill.

This Bill will affect which information charities report, who they report it to and how it’s made available to the public. It’s been prepared by the Commonwealth Treasury, so feedback from the sector and stakeholders (including state governments) is essential. This isn’t an easy task, because Australia hasn’t had a national charity regulator before.

The consultations seem to have focused on setting out the purpose and function of the regulator and how much work charities will have to do to comply with the new systems. Less discussion has taken place on the long-term implications for charities and their funders – particularly regarding the use of data to rate or rank charities and the pressures this may place on charities or funders to behave differently. For example, classifying large reserves as low risk in constructing a risk measure encourages charities to stockpile reserves, which may reduce their cash flow for running the programs that benefit the community. Government funders may be required to compare the efficiency of the programs or organisations they fund with the wider sector as more information becomes available.