ACNC highlights poor governance concerns

The Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) has released their Charity Compliance Report 2017, covering activity from 1 January – 31 December 2017. This report uses aggregated data and de-identified information to offer insights into the compliance work of the ACNC, and outlines their compliance focus for the year ahead.

The ACNC’s media release about the report notes that:

  • 1,695 concerns were raised, up 42% from 2016
  • poor governance was a common theme to emerge from the ACNC’s investigations
  • the most common issues identified related to poor financial controls, inadequate due-diligence, and a failure by charities’ responsible persons to act in the best interests of the charity
  • these issues, in addition to fraud, terrorism, harm to beneficiaries and disqualifying purposes, will be areas of focus for the ACNC in 2018


In the light of these concerns, and recent reports about the behaviour of employees and associates of various international aid charities, Australian charities will want to closely review the ACNC findings and actions in response to issues identified in connection with Australian registered charities.  Associations and other not-for-profit entities will also find the report offers a number of insights worthy of consideration by their audit and risk committees.

Here is the ACNC’s infographic about their compliance and enforcement activity in 2017:

ACNC 2017 compl rpt

Board briefing opportunity

To assist your Board or Audit and Risk Committee to consider the governance lessons this report offers your organisation, you can arrange a briefing session by contacting me on 0419 347 599 or by email (


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