Charities Still Lining Up to Submit ACNC Statement
Thursday, 10th October 2013 at 9:11 am
So far only 3000 of the 58,000 registered charities have submitted the controversial 2013 Annual Information Statement to the charity regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).
However, ACNC Commissioner, Susan Pascoe AM, said she was pleased with the number of charities that have already submitted their Annual Information Statement. “This is an excellent start,” Pascoe said.
The 2013 Annual Information Statement (AIS) marks the first time all 58,000 Australian registered charities have been required to report to a single national regulator.
The AIS asks registered charities 20 questions about what they did and who they helped in the community over the past 12 months. The information charities provide is then uploaded on to the ACNC Register for the public to use.
Earlier this year UnitingCare National Director, Lin Hatfield Dodds, claimed the AIS added yet another level of red tape to the sector.
“It is our experience that the ACNC has created an initial additional layer of reporting which could have been avoided. Much of the information required in the AIS and future financial reports has already been provided to government, often several times in different formats, to evidence operational and financial compliance,” Hatfield Dodds said in August.
“Whilst the ACNC continues its work to develop the mechanism of the ‘Charity Passport’ to share the information it collects on registered charities it is simultaneously asking for duplicative reporting from the sector.
“We believe that rather than ask registered organisations to provide and reconfigure information again for the ACNC it would have been prudent for the ACNC to first identify if they might use information already collected by governments and other regulators,” Hatfield Dodds said.
“Based on the Commissioner’s 45-minute estimate it will take the 57,500 organisations registered with the ACNC a total of 43,125 hours to complete the AIS. That is the equivalent of a year’s work for nearly 25 full-time employees to meet this obligation.”
However, the ACNC has countered the claim saying the experience of those who had already submitted the AIS was that it only took 5-10 minutes to complete and also provided information on the amount of hours Not for Profits had already spent on it reporting obligations to governments.
“Of particular interest, 29 per cent of charities that have submitted an Annual Information Statement indicated how much time per annum they spent on reporting to Commonwealth, or state and territory departments and agencies,” Susan Pascoe said.
"Large charities indicated that paid staff spent an average of 288 hours and volunteers spent 20 hours reporting to government. For medium charities these figures were 135 hours by paid staff and 94 hours by volunteers.
“Small charities relied much more heavily on volunteers, with non-paid staff completing 70 hours of government reporting, compared to 16 hours by paid staff.
“Reducing red tape for charities is one of three Objects of the ACNC Act and is a primary focus for the ACNC going forward. We acknowledge the time charities are taking to report each year and we will continue to work across the Commonwealth and with states and territories to implement a report once, use often framework and to harmonise regulatory requirements.”
An analysis of the first 3000 charity submissions has also revealed:
74 per cent stated that they were small charities (annual revenue of less than $250 000),15 per cent were medium ($250,000 – $999,999) and 11 per cent were large (annual revenue of $1million and over);
The top three beneficiaries listed were children and young people, the general community in Australia and elderly people;
16 per cent of charities said they worked to help people internationally. Over 150 countries were listed, with New Zealand, the US,India, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea the most popular;
42 per cent of charities reported that they solely relied on volunteers. At the end of their 2013 reporting period, these 3000 charities reported a total of 225 000 volunteers, along with 13,000 full-time employees and 18,000 part-time employees. These figures will increase as more Annual Information Statements are submitted;
The majority of submissions so far have been from New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.
Those charities which operate on a July 1 to June 30 financial year need to complete an Annual Information Statement by December 31. For charities that use a calendar year for reporting purposes, the due date is June 30, 2014.
A new YouTube video is available as a visual step-by-step guide to completing the Annual Information Statement.
For guidance and support, charities can visit acnc.gov.au/2013AIS, or call 13 ACNC (13 22 62) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.