The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has just released its Compliance Report for 2015 and 2016. As the national regulator for Charities, the ACNC is responsible for monitoring and enforcing legislative obligations for over 54,000 registered charities across Australia, and plays a critical role in protecting public trust and confidence in the Australian Not-for-profit sector.

The 2015-16 Compliance Report reveals that the ACNC received 1,872 concerns in this two year period. The most common type of concerns received by the ACNC “centred on governance breaches, fraud, lack of transparency, and mismanagement – including breaching the charity’s own governing document”. The majority of concerns were sourced from members of the public.

The #1 compliance focus for the ACNC for 2017-19 is fraud and financial mismanagement, followed by terrorism, harm to beneficiaries, political activities and the lodgement and accuracy of annual information statements.

As a priority, charities must assess their risks of fraud and financial mismanagement and ensure adequate controls are in place to mitigate such. Practical and cost effective prevention and detection methods include fraud awareness training for employees and establishing independent whistleblowing hotlines, they really work!