Financial management

As an officer, you are responsible for the financial sustainability of your organisation and ensuring funds and assets are used to advance your organisation’s charitable purposes. It's critical that financial accounting and reporting systems in your organisation are accurate and transparent.

Your organisation must keep written records of your accounts and prepare financial statements.  Check your rules to find out if they require your accounts to be audited or reviewed.

Officers also need to be aware of the new assurance requirements for charitable organisations which will come into force on 1 April 2015. These require registered charities with a total operating expenditure over $550,000 to have their accounts reviewed, and those registered charities with a total operating expenditure over $1,100,000 to have their accounts  audited by a licensed auditor.

Annual returns

All registered charities must file an annual return. The annual return includes a completed annual return form, a copy of your financial statements, and the appropriate fee, if applicable.

The annual return form asks for information about:

  • the sectors your charity operates in
  • activities it is involved in
  • who benefits from those activities
  • your geographical area of operation
  • the people in your charity
  • your balance sheet position, and
  • your income and expenditure.

Charities Services publishes this information on the Charities Register as part of our commitment to promoting public trust and confidence, and in accordance with the requirements of the Charities Act 2005. Annual returns must be filed within six months of your balance date. Failure to file annual returns is one of the main reasons for deregistration of charities.

Reporting standards

Standards were introduced to improve the quality of financial reporting. These came into effect on 1 April 2015 and are tiered in complexity according to the size of the charity. This allows smaller charities to prepare financial statements on a simplified basis, while larger charities are required to use full accounting standards.


Tier 1

Over $30 million annual operating expenditure

Tier 2

Under $30 million annual operating expenditure

Tier 3

Under $2 million annual operating expenditure

Tier 4

Under $140,000 annual operating expenditure