Demystifying not-for-profit financial reports

Users of financial reports for not-for-profits get some free help.

Free guide available.

Users of financial reports of Not-for-profits (NFPs) in Australia get some much-needed help in the form of a new guide to better understanding NFP financial reporting.

The CPA Australia publication, A guide to understanding the financial report of not-for-profit entities, is available free online.
This guide is an important milestone in financial literacy initiatives, says former CPA Australia chief executive Alex Malley.

“A common feature to all NFPs is that they are not set up to generate a return for their members,” notes Malley.

“Yet beyond this common feature, there are enormous differences in how NFPs are set up and operate and also what their objectives may be.

“This guide is all about providing different users who are not experts in accounting with some useful tools and pointers to unlock and make sense of the information that is contained within NFP financial reports.”

Some of the key features of the guide include:

  • An outline of the important elements of NFP financial statements
  • The use of a fictitious example to illustrate some important aspects of NFP financial statements.
  • An overview of audits and reviews of NFP financial statements
  • A simple glossary of terminology used in NFP financial reports

“Australia’s not-for-profit sector is large and diverse and has the power to touch almost all Australians in some way – either directly or indirectly through family, friends and colleagues,” says Malley.

“The sector is also important to our economy – employing nearly 890,000 people with an additional 4.6 million Australians volunteering their time and expertise to make a positive difference to our world.

“The guide is very much about enhancing the understanding of not-for-profits and the financial metrics they prepare and present. It can be used by members, donors, funding providers, as well as management and staff of not-for-profits.

“Armed with a better understanding of not-for-profits, users will be able to ask the right questions.”

Download the publication: A guide to understanding the financial reports of not-for-profit entities (PDF)