What are the financial reporting obligations of registered organisations?
The Fair Work (Registered Organsations) Act 2009 (the RO Act) requires organisations and their branches to prepare financial reports. The financial reports must be prepared in accordance with:
- Part 3 of Chapter 8 of the RO Act External link (opens in new window)
- the Regulations External link (opens in new window)
- the financial reporting guidelines, and
- the Australian Accounting Standards.
The RO Act sets out a particular chronological order in which the financial report must be prepared, audited, provided to members and presented to a meeting. The summary of financial reporting timelines (PDF 266KB) summarises these requirements.
What are the Commissioner's reporting guidelines?
The financial reporting guidelines made by the Commissioner set out specified disclosures that must be made in financial reports. They are also referred to as the s.253 guidelines.
The guidelines are additional to the financial reporting provisions of the RO Act, the Regulations and the Australian Accounting Standards.
The s.253 guidelines apply unless a s.270 certificate is in force for the financial year.
These reporting guidelines were gazetted in the Federal Register of Legislation External link (opens in new window) on 4 May 2018.
Section 270 reporting guidelines
The s.270 reporting guidelines (PDF 283KB) only apply where a s.270 certificate has been issued for that financial year (a certificate can only be issued to an organisations which is a single reporting unit, and where income was less than $100,000 for that financial year). These reporting guidelines were gazetted in the Federal Register of Legislation External link (opens in new window) on 4 May 2018.
For information on how to report under s.270 please contact us at email@example.com.
A federally registered organisation is registered under the 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.
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.
There are six steps within the financial reporting process which can be summarised as follows:
- Prepare the financial report
- Finalise the committee of management statement
- Submit the financial report to audit
- Distribute the full report to members
- Present the full report to a meeting
- Lodge the full report with the Commission
Each of these steps is explained in further detail in the Fact Sheet – Financial Reporting Processes (PDF 251KB). You can find a summary of the timelines on the Fact Sheet – Summary of Financial Reporting Timelines (PDF 266KB).
What is the full report?
The full report consists of the:
- operating report – as per s.254 of the RO Act
- general purpose financial report which includes the:
- committee of management statement
- the subsection s255(2A) report
- officer's declaration statement (if applicable)
- auditor's report
Before providing a copy of the full report to members, presenting to a meeting and lodging it with the Commissioner, all documents within the full report must be signed and dated.
Model financial statements
To assist registered organisations, the ROC has developed a set of model financial statements for the 2020–21 financial year. These are based on a financial year ending on 30 June 2021.
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.
The ROC has also released a fact sheet to assist with the preparation of the report required under subsection 255(2A) of the RO Act.
How does the ROC assess financial reports?
The ROC uses a risk-based approach when reviewing financial reports lodged by a reporting unit. It does so in order to effectively manage the risks arising from the regulatory framework applicable to the financial reporting obligations of registered organisations.
Financial reports are assessed via either an advanced review or a primary review. The ROC allocates 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 inquiry or 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 based on the level of associated risk.
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.
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.
Loans, grants and 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 $1,000 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. Click here to download a sample statement of loans, grants and donations (DOCX 18.8KB)