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Reporting Obligations of Your Charity Part A: Overview and Basic Financial Skills

Gain an overview of the reporting obligations of Australian charities & develop the basic financial skills all board members need.

1,717 enrolled on this course

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  • Duration

    2 weeks
  • Weekly study

    1 hour
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Digital upgrade


Discover charity reporting obligations and develop basic financial skills.

Keeping up-to-date with your charity’s reporting obligations is vital to operating as a registered charity. But how do you know who to report to, when, and what information is required? And do you have the financial skills needed to read and interpret key financial documents and ask informed questions?

This short course from the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) provides answers.

Through this course, you will:

  • Learn what you need to report to the ACNC and when.
  • Find out about other regulators who you may need to report to.
  • Discover what the ACNC is doing to reduce red tape in the sector so instead of duplicating reports, you can get on with activities that advance your charity’s charitable purpose.
  • Practice reading and interpreting balance sheets and profit and loss statements.
  • Understand solvency and recognise warning signs that a charity could be in financial difficulty.


  • Week 1

    Reporting and Notifying Obligations

    • Charity reporting obligations to the ACNC

      Your charity must meet its annual reporting obligations to the ACNC. These include submitting an Annual Information Statement (AIS) and an annual financial report (optional for small charities).

    • Charity reporting requirements to others

      Your charity may have reporting obligations to other Commonwealth, or state or territory regulators. This is normal if your charity engages in fundraising activities, because these are regulated by state and territory agencies.

    • Notifying the ACNC of certain changes

      Charities have a duty to notify the ACNC of certain changes within specific timeframes. This is a requirement of maintaining your charity’s registration. 

  • Week 2

    Basic Financial Skills and Understanding Insolvency

    • Record keeping for charities

      Record keeping is a foundational skill needed to complete your charity's reporting obligations and to demonstrate ongoing eligibility for ACNC registration. Your charity needs to keep both operational and financial records.

    • How to read key financial documents: Balance sheets

      A balance sheet is a report that describes the financial position of a charity at a moment in time. Learn how to read and interpret a balance sheet to support your financial decision-making as a board member.

    • How to read key financial documents: Profit and loss statements

      A profit and loss statement summarises a charity’s income and expenses over a set time period, producing the final result of either a surplus or deficit. Learn how to read and interpret profit and loss statements.

    • Solvency

      Financially healthy charities flourish and can continue doing the good they were set up to do. Learn how to instil financial health in your charity, to recognise warning signs of financial difficultly and what actions to take.

    • Next steps

      Want to continue learning but not sure where to turn? Want to get a Certificate for completing this course? This section shows you how.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe your charity’s reporting obligations to the ACNC.
  • Explain your charity’s reporting requirements to other regulators that the ACNC works with.
  • Summarise the Duty to Notify and list the changes to your charity that are covered by it.
  • Reflect on the ACNC’s red tape reduction initiative and how this informs the questions your charity is asked to answer in the AIS and the overall reporting obligations of your charity.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for charity leaders responsible for meeting reporting obligations: reporting to the ACNC, notifying of certain changes, and meeting any reporting requirements to other regulators. It is also for board members seeking to develop the required basic financial skills to perform their obligations. It will be especially useful for board members and sector advisors.

Who will you learn with?

Rachel Gear is the ACNC's Instructional Designer and Lead Educator for the eLearning Program. She's committed to designing and teaching accessible and relevant professional development for adults.

Rachel Smith is the Director of Advice Services, Education and Public Affairs, and is the Director behind the ACNC’s eLearning program. She’s been with the ACNC since it started.

Who developed the course?

Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) is the national regulator of charities. We register and regulate Australia’s many charities. We help charities understand and meet their obligations through information, advice and guidance. We help the public understand the work of the charity sector and provide a free searchable register of Australian registered charities.

  • Established

  • Location

    Melbourne, Victoria

What's included?

Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission are offering everyone who joins this course a free digital upgrade, so that you can experience the full benefits of studying online for free. This means that you get:

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Tests to validate your learning
  • A PDF Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you’re eligible
  • Learning on FutureLearn

    Your learning, your rules

    • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
    • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
    • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

    Join a global classroom

    • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
    • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
    • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

    Map your progress

    • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
    • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
    • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

    Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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