Advocacy

Improving the regulatory landscape for NFPs

Directors of not-for-profit (NFP) organisations and charities face too many governance complications from an overly complex regulatory system.

One of these is fundraising rules. Australia has seven different sets of fundraising laws. They’re inconsistent across the country and waste as much as $15m dollars a year in compliance costs for charities.

To address this problem, the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) in September released a joint statement on fundraising reform, which was developed as part of a coalition of eight leading sector bodies.

We have called on governments to work together to provide a nationally-consistent and fit-for-purpose regulatory regime. We propose a simple way to provide a better framework for NFP fundraising: clarifying the application of the Australian Consumer Law and repealing existing inconsistent and out-of-date state and territory regimes. This work supports an earlier submission made by the AICD on the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and a recent submission to the Productivity Commission.

The statement is jointly signed by the chief executive officers (CEOs) of the AICD, Justice Connect, Governance Institute of Australia, the Australian Council of Social Service, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, Community Council for Australia, CPA Australia and Philanthropy Australia.

To read the full statement visit:

aicd.companydirectors.com.au/fundraisingreform.


AICD on national reform

The AICD’s Chief Economist, Stephen Walters, has been speaking in the media about the case for national economic reform. In recent appearances on ABC and Sky News, Walters discussed the condition of the Australian economy and policy outlook. He also recently published pieces on the case for the Federal Government to increase borrowing to fund nation-building infrastructure. Walters will be leading the AICD’s work on national economic reform priorities, outlined in the AICD’s 2016 Governance of the Nation: A Blueprint for Growth.

Along with his regular column in Company Director on page 8, AICD members can stay up to date on the economy by subscribing to Walters’ economic update email alerts. Alerts are sent once or twice a week and include commentary on economic events as they happen, including Reserve Bank of Australia interest rate decisions, employment data, budget announcements and important overseas developments.


AICD launches BoardLinks

Senator the Honourable Michaelia Cash, Minister for Women, recently hosted an event with the AICD at Kirribilli House to launch the Federal Government’s new BoardLinks website and the Office for Women’s Gender Balance Report 2015-16. The BoardLinks program collects details of skilled and experienced women who can be considered for government board appointments as vacancies arise. It assists the Australian Government to achieve its aim of 50 per cent representation of women across all government boards. The launch is a further initiative in the partnership between the AICD and the Federal Government’s Office for Women. More than 330 scholarships for AICD governance education have been awarded to emerging and board-ready female directors through the partnership.


Financial reporting standards under review

The Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) recently held roundtables on NFP financial reporting. Given the important role of the board in corporate reporting, the AICD is taking an active interest in consultations on these issues. The AASB intends to review the financial reporting framework as a result of concerns about the quality of financial reporting for both companies and NFPs, in particular those entities preparing special purpose financial reports.

The continued use of special purpose financial reports is being questioned, along with the possibility of a simpler accounting standard for small-to-medium-size NFPs. At the same time, the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission are promulgating sector-specific accounting standards with some differences to the AASB’s proposals. This debate has some time to run, and any changes to financial reporting would have system and cost implications. Members interested in working with the AICD to review the proposals are encouraged to contact Kerry Hicks, senior policy adviser, khicks@aicd.com.au.