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Standardised accounting guidelines developed for not-for-profit sector

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The Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Australia Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS) and the QUT School of Accountancy developed standardised accounting guidelines for each individual state and territory, which were then rolled into a National Standard Chart of Accounts (NSCOA).

The NSCOA provides a common approach to the capture of accounting information by not-for-profit (NFP) organisations for use by NFPs, government agencies and other interested parties.

The tool was designed primarily for small and medium NFPs, which typically do not have an accounting department or a sophisticated accounting system. Larger NFPs can adopt the data dictionary component of the NSCOA, and align their systems to comply with a consistency across the sector.

Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Head Commissioner Susan Pascoe says the use of the NSCOA across jurisdictions will be discussed at the next Council of Australian Governments Not-for-profit Reform Working Group meeting, which is scheduled for 25 June 2013.

“Although use of the NSCOA is optional, adopting it would help relieve charities of a real burden in relation to accountancy and red tape,” says Pascoe.

“It means all organisations will have access to an agreed set of accounting guidelines and this will save them time and money, particularly in relation to reporting to government.”

According to Pascoe, a recent study conducted in Victoria, where a state version of the guidelines was used, revealed that NFPs saved more than $3 million over one year.

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