News update – Focus on timelines & loans, grants & donations
Over the past year the Registered Organisations Commission (the ROC) and the Fair Work Commission have noted issues in reporting units’ financial reports relating to timelines and how loans, grants and donations are reported. The ROC will be focusing closely on these areas this year.
The Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (the RO Act) sets out a particular chronological order in which financial documents and statements must be prepared, audited, provided to members and presented to a meeting. The summary of financial reporting timeline (PDF 159.7KB) summarises these requirements.
Loans, grants & donations
It is an obligation to prepare and lodge a statement showing the relevant particulars in relation to each loan, grant or donation of an amount exceeding $1000 for a reporting unit during its financial year. Section 237 of the RO Act requires this statement to be lodged with the ROC within 90 days of the end of the reporting unit’s financial year. A sample statement of loans, grants or donations (Word) is available on the Fact sheets, templates & webinars page.
Fact sheets, guidance notes & model statements
Fact sheets, guidance notes and model financial statements relating to financial reporting under the RO Act are available on this website. The website includes a model set of financial statements which have been developed by the ROC. It is not obligatory to use this model but it is a useful resource to ensure compliance with the RO Act, the financial reporting guidelines and the Australian Accounting Standards.
The RO Act requires organisations and their branches to prepare financial reports.
The following presentation slides provide an overview of financial reporting obligations under the RO Act. The presentation was delivered at a ROC information workshop for registered unions and employer associations on 6 March 2018:
Frequently asked questions about financial reporting
How can keep I informed of important information about registered organisations and financial reporting?
The ROC has an email subscription service that we use to inform the public and our clients about significant changes. We also use it to solicit feedback and consult on changes to documents such as the reporting guidelines.
Will there be any changes to the Commissioner's reporting guidelines s.253 (4th) edition for the 2016-17 financial year?
The Commissioner's reporting guidelines are currently under review and new guidelines will be released for the 2017-2018 financial year. Information on the reporting guidelines will be shared through our email subscription service.
If the ROC has already conducted an advanced review of a reporting unit, could it conduct another advanced review in the following year?
Yes. The ROC will ensure that each reporting unit has at least one advanced review over each 5 year period. Sometimes a reporting unit may have 2 or more advance reviews during that same time.
As part of the risk-based framework, the ROC will allocate a reporting unit for advanced review based upon a number of factors. While there are many reasons for this, it may be because the reporting unit has repeated mistakes that have already been raised or is under investigation.
For financial reporting purposes, why does the ROC model financial template want to include pages of mandatory information if it is NIL?
The ROC model financial template includes asterisked line items that should not be removed even if they are NIL. This reflects the requirements in the Commissioner's Reporting Guidelines that certain pieces of information must be present in the statements or the notes even if they are NIL.
This allows members and the ROC to ascertain that the reporting unit has considered a particular subject and actively determined that the figure is NIL, rather than merely being silent on the amount. It also ensures that certain types of transaction distinctly appear within the report rather than being subsumed into a more generic line item such as 'other'.
If a federally registered organisation is controlled by some of the same key individuals that control a state registered organisation, can the reports for those 2 organisations be consolidated?
A federally registered organisation is registered under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (RO Act). Upon registration under the RO Act, the organisation obtained legal status as a body corporate (see s.27 of the RO Act).
A state entity, even if it has substantially the same officers, is registered under state legislation and has its own body corporate.
They are two separate legal entities, even though they may replicate each other in structure, policies and actions. They must report separately to the state and federal regulators and the two entities must make sure that each asset and liability is attributed to only one of the entities: they cannot belong to both.
Can I assume that all the Law Reform recommendations will not be implemented for the 2016-17 financial year?
At this point, these remain recommendations to Government that have not been incorporated into legislation. The Government is able to do so at any time. If significant requirements change, the ROC will do its best to inform clients and regular users through our email subscription service and other services.
Does the ROC have templates that take into account any reduced disclosure so that numerous notes to the financials can be removed where they are not applicable?
No reporting unit should be using reduced disclosure requirements. The Commissioner's reporting guidelines mandate that all reporting units must use Tier 1 reporting.
Additionally, the guidelines require that certain specific line items appear in the financial report even if the figure is NIL. This ensures that the reporting unit actively considers each line item and approves the report with that information.
Model financial statements
The ROC has developed a set of model financial statements for registered organisations for the 2016–17 financial year.
There is no requirement for reporting units to use this model, but it may be a useful resource to ensure compliance with the RO Act, the s.253 reporting guidelines and the Australian Accounting Standards.
2016-17 model financial statements (DOCX 406.3KB)
Financial reporting guidelines
The financial reporting guidelines made by the Commissioner set out specified disclosures that must be made in financial reports.
The guidelines supplement and are additional to the financial reporting provisions of the RO Act, the Regulations and the Australian Accounting Standards.
The s.253 reporting guidelines are the relevant guidelines for most organisations and their branches.
Section 253 reporting guidelines
The Commissioner is currently in the process of updating the Reporting Guidelines to incorporate the new legislative requirements. Information on the reporting guidelines will be made available through our email subscription service.
The s.253 guidelines apply unless a s.270 certificate is in force for the financial year.
Financial reporting guidelines s.253 (4th edition) (PDF 191.2KB)
Section 270 reporting guidelines
The s.270 guidelines only apply where a s.270 certificate has been issued for that financial year (a certificate can only be issued to an organisation which is a single reporting unit, and where income was less than $100,000 for that financial year). For information on how to report under s.270 please contact the ROC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our risk-based approach
The Registered Organisations Commission uses a risk-based approach when reviewing financial reports lodged by reporting units. It does so in order to effectively manage the risks arising from the regulatory framework applicable to the financial reporting obligations of registered organisations.
Our risk strategy is to ensure that every reporting unit is subject to an advanced review at least every five years. A reporting unit may have two or more advanced reviews during a five year period. The ROC will allocate a reporting unit for advanced review based on a number of factors including but not limited to circumstances where the reporting unit has not addressed previously raised non-compliance issues or is under investigation.
Our risk-based approach means that we focus our regulatory activity and public resources more efficiently and effectively by ensuring each reporting unit is subject to an advanced review at least once over a five year cycle.
The advanced review involves confirming that financial reports satisfy all requirements set out in the Australian Accounting Standards, the financial reporting guidelines, the RO Act and its regulations. Based on the advanced review, a reporting unit may be required to amend their financial report and provide members and the ROC with a copy of the amended financial report before this can be filed and published on this website.
Financial report checklist - Advanced assessment (DOCX 140.2KB)
If a reporting unit is not subject to an advanced review, it will be subject to a primary review. The primary review involves confirming that the financial reporting timelines required under s.253, s.265, s.266 and s.268 of the RO Act have been satisfied, all documents required under s.268 of the RO Act were lodged and that selected disclosure requirements under the Australian Accounting Standards, RO Act and financial reporting guidelines have been complied with. A primary review does not examine all disclosure requirements.
Financial report checklist - Primary assessment (DOCX 56.8KB)
Summary of membership, assets and revenue as reported by registered organisations for the past three years.
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