Charities Warned Over Fudging Financial Figures
25 August 2015 at 12:19 pm
Thousands of charities will be contacted by the national charity regulator after they made “significant” errors in their latest financial reports.
The errors were picked up by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), in the charities’ 2014 Annual Information Statements or annual financial reports, following a systematic review of the data.
ACNC Commissioner, Susan Pascoe, urged the charities to rectify the mistakes, saying it was important that they take action immediately.
“Charities will not be penalised for making errors at this point in time,” Pascoe said.
“However, it is important that any mistakes are corrected as quickly as possible. Charities have an ongoing obligation under the ACNC Act to correctly report each year to remain registered with the ACNC.”
The ACNC has called in the Centre for Social Impact at the University University of New South Wales, who will also produce the 2014 Charities Report, to help identify errors in the data.
As part of their annual financial reports, all charities were required to provide financial information for the first time, with medium and large charities also providing separate annual financial reports.
According to the ACNC, common mistakes included miscalculating totals and errors stemming from charities rounding financial figures to the nearest thousand.
Charities identified as having made significant errors will receive an email from CSI and the ACNC asking them to review and correct the financial information they have reported.
It comes as the ACNC announced that 4,000 charities had received a “red mark” against their name on the national charity register for failing to even submit their financial reports.
The ACNC said 100 charities had their red mark removed by submitting their overdue reports.
When it comes to financial reporting, Pascoe encouraged charities to visit the ACNC website or contact the ACNC’s Advice Services team if they needed any assistance.
“The ACNC provides a range of education and guidance to support charities in their reporting obligations,” she said.
“Earlier this year, the ACNC published a list of common reporting errors. Charities are being encouraged to read these tips before reporting to ensure they get their financial reporting correct.
Pascoe said charities’ financial information is published on the publically available ACNC Charity Register.
“The Charity Register receives thousands of visits every week by members of the public who want to donate or volunteer, so it is important that the information charities provide is correct,” she said.
“Submitting a complete and correct Annual Information Statement ensures that the Charity Register contains reliable information about your charity.
“This helps to create a Charity Register that is up-to-date, transparent and works to support both the sector and the community.”
For more information visit acnc.gov.au