Blog: Key Messages from the ACNC for not-for-profits

Key Messages from the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission (ACNC)


The recently published ACNC corporate plan covering 2020-2021 details how the Commission intends to support the 57,000 charities on the Charity Register as well as their members, donors, volunteers and beneficiaries, and how this will be achieved through adhering to the robust performance measures outlined in the plan itself.
One of the key messages delivered by the Commission is that public trust and confidence in charities is vital, and this is delivered through transparency, accountability, and effectiveness in all areas of a not-for-profit’s operation. When the public has complete visibility and valuable insights, they are confident in a charity’s strategic decision making and performance.

In line with this, the ACNC’s vision to deliver on the following objectives will ensure that charities inspire confidence and respect:

• to maintain, protect and enhance public trust and confidence in the Australian not-for-profit sector
• to support and sustain a robust, vibrant, independent, and innovative Australian not-for-profit sector
• to promote the reduction ad unnecessary regulatory obligations on the Australian not-for-profit sector
• objectives that can be successfully delivered by enhancing the transparency and good governance of the sector

The age of transparency and accountability

Given the increasing demand for transparency and accountability, not-for-profit organisations are working hard to produce and demonstrate successful outcomes.

As part of the solution, non-profit organisations are looking at innovative financial management techniques and principles currently employed by corporate businesses and adopting outcome metrics to measure and report on performance.

What are outcome metrics?

Measuring and reporting outcomes has never been more critical to ensure business continuity, particularly during these uncertain times. Donors and grantors have higher expectations during a crisis, wanting to ensure that their dollars are having the best possible impact on those most affected. Government funding, in particular, has strengthened compliance reporting and performance expectations.

Why they matter?

Outcome metrics are key across several functions within not-for-profit organisations, none more so than across funding, accountability, and stewardship.

When competition is so fierce, the ability to define, measure, monitor and report the metrics that deliver success is vital in attracting new funding benefactors. For example, when organisations can evidence the achievement of key milestones, it can lead to future opportunities in benefiting from multi-year grants.


As the sector grows and evolves, funders are looking to support those organisations that have adopted rigorous processes to drive increased accountability. They want to see exactly how their money is being spent and that results are measurable and achieved whether it’s organisational growth, additional locations or innovative ways to increase donor loyalty and therefore long-term funding. In today’s environment, not-for-profits must provide exceptional transparency into their organisation’s outcome metrics, controls, and reporting.


The ability to define, track, and report outcome measures across your operation, showing where you are currently and what direction you are taking, will help to ensure good stewardship. Providing visibility encourages donor confidence and enhances your credibility, helping you to grow, pursue and achieve your mission.

With intense competition for donor dollar, and funders and the ACNC alike insisting on greater accountability and visibility, not-for-profit organisations must clearly demonstrate fiscal responsibility as well as positive results. Now more than ever the call for greater transparency and accountability is growing louder.

For more information, read the full ACNC Corporate Plan 2020-2021


If you’re looking for a financial management platform to meet these unique challenges faced by CFO’s and finance leaders within the charity and non-profit sector, Sage Intacct delivers greater accountability and visibility showing fiscal responsibility as well as program results.

And just to show that we really are thinking from your perspective, Sage Intacct has been built by finance experts for your finance team, and has a reporting engine that is second to none with dashboards and functionality that can be tailored by you to exactly meet your needs.

Increased transparency, accountability, and effectiveness for you, your donors and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits commission.


If you would like to know more about Aptus Business Solutions or how we can help your business with
Sage Intacct, get in touch or call 1300 998 594.