There are indications from the ACNC of concern with regard to a shortfall in fulfilment of compliance obligations amongst organisations in the charity/not for profit sector. Knowledge gaps can be understandable amongst Boards of Governance comprised of volunteers however an absence of remuneration for Board members is not synonymous with lack of good governance. Governance, risk and compliance complement each other as the foundation for not only strong management but also a strong and well-controlled agency that generates confidence in staff, stakeholders and donors in respect of performance and sustainabilty.
Compliance Essentials provides Board mentoring and guidance on governance matters including a review of organisational risk exposure. Contact us for an initial chat on 1300 602 880 or via our website www.complianceessentials.com.au
The systems that a business has in place could well reflect the way things have been done over time; the chance is that the systems have grown with the business and may be a bundle of information sources that, objectively, are disjointed and potentially not providing maximum efficiency. Do your business systems provide satisfactory management reporting tools, do they assist in identifying and measuring areas of risk?
Legacy systems may be ‘comfortable’ albeit sometimes frustrating and maybe time consuming when it comes to pulling together all the information that is regularly required for Board and management purposes. And, of course, there is the cost of change and the implementation of change to consider. Replacing a bundle of disjointed systems with one controlled electronic solution not only has the potential to make better use of human resources it is also a way to implement specific controls, get good information to the right desk at the right time and overall improve business performance (not forgetting the bottom line) at the same time Simplifying GRC.
If your business could benefit from a more in depth view of simplifying GRC management please contact us on 1300 602 880 or via our website.
Will your business be affected by imminent changes to Privacy legislation? If so, now is the time to take action.
On 12 March 2014, significant changes to Australian privacy law come into effect. These changes will regulate how both private (generally with turnover in excess of $3m) and government organisations collect, store and use data. To find out if these amendments will apply to your organisation check out the OAIC website.
The Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012 to the Privacy Act 1988 extends the number of privacy principles to thirteen.. Organisations that fall within the scope of the principles (APP entities) must comply with these principles, or risk investigation from the regulator and possible penalties. Notably, Principle 8 puts the onus on applicable entities to ensure the security of trans-border data flow – particular care needs to be taken in relation to use of cloud computing and overseas network providers. There is still time before the amendment comes into effect to ensure that any overseas provider in this respect is aware of your requirements to have in place measures that will comply with the legislation.
Further the principles make it mandatory for organisations to give the option of client-anonymity. Good practice for internet trading and other electronic data collection is to include an opt-out clause when gathering client information. Failure to maintain data integrity or to ensure that information is collected through compliant methods, may present substantial financial and reputational risks.
The obligations of the Act and the Privacy Principles are enforceable by the Australian Information Commissioner (AIC). As part of the legislative amendment, the Commissioner’s regulatory powers have been expanded with powers to investigate perceived breaches. The AIC is empowered to conduct privacy audits of any Australian government body or regulated private organisation; where serious breaches are found, the Commissioner can penalise APP entities up to $1.1 million.
Why expose your business to risk? For assistance with your compliance and risk management functions contact Compliance Essentials today on 1300 602 880 or via our website www.complianceessentials.com.au
Transitional options for ACNC registrations finish on 2 December 2013, organisations who wish to opt in as ‘religious’ charities need to make a submission by that date or will be required to apply for charitable registration after that deadline.
For other registered charities with a financial year of 30 June and who have not yet submitted an Annual Information Statement to the ACNC, the latest circular from the regulator states that the deadline for filing the first AIS has been extended to March 2014.
The ACNC continues to post useful governance and administrative tools on its website as well as providing electronic options for reporting organisational changes as well as the AIS.
Finding red tape isn’t quite as sparse as promised? Contact Compliance Essentials for assistance with governance and other compliance needs; call 1300 602 880 or via our website www.complianceessentials.com.au
There are some organisational owners and managers who run shy from the word ‘compliance’ – the interpretation is often policing or threats. In fact implementing legal and regulatory compliance is an important part of developing and growing a business.
Compliance goes hand in hand with risk management (and governance hence GRC); these are good practice and part of the management tool kit to be used in business strategy, business growth, as a way of increased business efficiencies. Aiming for a compliant culture can afford protection from regulatory intervention, is a way of reducing general insurance premiums (ask your insurance broker) and an aid to protecting your organisation’s reputation.
In summary, its all about the bottom line!
How can Compliance Essentials assist your organisation? Please contact us for an initial chat on 1300 602 880 or get in touch via our website at www.complianceessentials.com.au
There may be close on six months until the changes to Privacy Legislation are effected (12 March 2014) nevertheless all organisations that fall within the scope of the legislation are encouraged to take this window of opportunity to review their operational activities in relation to upcoming requirements as well as reviewing and updating privacy policies and procedures.
The changes bring 13 APP (privacy principles) that will apply to both government and non-government organisations, in addition the Information Commissioner (www.oaic.gov.au) will have regulatory powers to investigate and penalise an organisation found to be non-compliant in terms of the legislation.
Watch out for APP 8 if your organisation sends personal information off-shore (note ‘cloud computing’) and the changes with regard to Credit Reporting. Further information on the reforms is available at www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/privacy-act/privacy-law-reform.
Does your organisation need a privacy health check? Contact Compliance Essentials for an initial (no charge) discussion.
Those not-for-profit organisations that are registered as charities with the ACNC have a continuing requirement to keep an eye on ongoing activities at the Commission.
As of 1 July 2013 registered charitable organisations are obligated to comply with the requirements of the five Governance Standards determined by the Commission. In summary the standards require:
#1 Determination of purpose and not for profit nature
#2 Accountability to members
#3 Compliance with Australian laws
#4 Suitability of responsible persons (e.g. members of Board of Governance/Committee of Management)
#5 Fulfilment of duties by responsible persons
Registered charities also need to consider the data required to complete the Annual Information Statement for 2013; note a recent announcement from ACNC indicates that there will be an option to complete the statement on line.
Does your registered charity need some assistance with governance and compliance? Be risk averse and contact us on 1300 602 880 or via our website www.complianceessentials.com.au
How do you know that your business complies with all the applicable legislative obligations? A further question, could your organisation sustain a large financial hit if proven guilty of a legislative breach?
If these questions give you food for thought why not take the next step in the thought process, read on and reflect on some of the benefits that maintaining a compliant culture can bring to your business activities:
- Helping to protect your organisation from regulatory investigations and penalties
- Reduced risk exposure
- Giving your business an increased competitive edge
- Protection of reputation
- Reduce staff turnover
- Potentially reduce general insurance premiums
- Increased efficiencies
- Adding value
You know it makes sense.
For a no obligation chat about your organisation’s needs call us on 1300 602 880 or contact us via our website www.complianceessentials.com.au/contact-us
Compliance Essentials has been following the progress of ACNC prior to the legislation being effected and is continuing to keep up to date with the governance responsibilities that have and will arise for NFPs. In our working relationship with not-for-profit organisations our perception is that some organisations are finding ACNC information requests and interpretation of future requirements a potential burden.
If you are a charitable organisation we would love to hear how you are settling into being part of ACNC. Please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via our website at www.complianceessentials.com.au/contact us
Regards, the Compliance Essentials Team
With about two and a half months to go to the end of the financial year now is the time for employers to prepare for changes to superannuation obligations that will be effective on 1 July 2013.
What do the changes mean? In summary the major changes:
- Minimum superannuation guarantee contributions (SGC) increase to 9.25% for financial year 2013-2014 (further increases will apply up to financial year 2020).
- The concessional cap for superannuation contributions remains at $25,000 nothwithstand the increase in employer SGC contributions
- The age cap of 70 for SGC contributions is lifted
- SGC contributions are not required for an employee under 18 years of age and working less than 30 hours per week
- Additional information will be required in the content of employees’ payslips
Compliance Essentials is here to assist your business to fulfil its compliance obligations. Contact us on 1300 602 880 or via our website www.complianceessentials.com.au for a no obligation chat.