ACNC Redesigns 2017 Annual Information Statement
24 July 2017 at 4:33 pm
The national charity regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has revamped the 2017 Annual Information Statement (AIS) following feedback from the sector.
On Monday, the ACNC launched a new hub, re-designed guidance material and an enhanced online form as part of what it described as “key improvements” to the 2017 AIS.
The regulator said the launch of the 2017 Annual Information Statement was significantly earlier than that of the 2016 version of the online form, with the improvements coming after extensive feedback from charities and those that work with the sector, to create a one-stop shop for charities wishing to complete their reporting.
Improvements to guidance materials include:
- A complete re-design of the Annual Information Statement guide, with the 2017 document broken up into shorter sections corresponding with the AIS form itself;
- New menus help charities navigate more easily around the online document;
- Expanded help text throughout the Annual Information Statement, with nearly 50 direct links from the help text to relevant sections of the Guide. This enhances charities’ ability to cross-reference relevant guidance material – and minimise errors – as they complete their 2017 Annual Information Statement;
- Updates to the Annual Information Statement Checklist, providing a reference point for the information and documents charities need to have handy before they start their Annual Information Statement; and
- A tip sheet outlining some of the common mistakes charities make when filling in their Annual Information Statement, and how to avoid them.
The ACNC said further additions to the hub were planned in the near future, including links to a fully updated suite of reporting guidance, as well as instructive how-to videos aimed at helping charities complete or learn more about specific sections of the 2017 Annual Information Statement.
Key improvements to the Annual Information Statement include:
- Easier-to-understand questions, especially those related to charity finances, activities and beneficiaries;
- Improved auto-filling and auto-calculation of responses to certain questions, allowing charities to quickly progress through sections of the Annual Information Statement;
- The ability for charities to view and update their Responsible Persons as they complete their Annual Information Statement, ensuring their organisations’ details are up to date;
- A new preview function, so charities can check over their responses to the Annual Information Statement before submission; and
- An improved layout, including a more prominent ‘Submit’ button to ensure charities don’t forget to submit their Annual Information Statement after completion.
ACNC Commissioner Susan Pascoe AM said: “Completing and submitting an Annual Information Statement is a major part of registered charities’ ongoing obligation to report annually.
“In addition, the information gathered through the Annual Information Statement process helps us cut red tape and helps contribute to a greater understanding of the sector,” Pascoe said.
“We are pleased that we’ve been able to act on feedback from the sector, and from those who work with charities, to improve the 2017 process. We hope that all charities completing their Annual Information Statement find it quicker and easier to do so, and are able to easily find support resources.
“We see the hub as a landing place for those charities completing their 2017 Annual Information Statement – a place where they can easily access the information and guidance they need.
“Ninety-two percent of charities have submitted their 2016 Annual Information Statement on time, a significant increase on the 2015 figure. We hope that the improvements to the 2017 process will see that figure again rise.”
The first charities able to complete their 2017 Annual Information Statements are those that report on a standard financial year – 1 July to 30 June.
Charities can visit the hub or start work on their 2017 Annual Information Statement at www.acnc.gov.au/2017AIS.