The Financial Questionnaire (FQ) is an annual financial data collection of information that reports income, expenditure, assets and liabilities from all non-government Australian schools receiving Australian Government recurrent grant funding.
Information entered into the FQ must be extracted from the school entity's audited financial statements. It is important that a qualified accountant audits the entity's financial statements, prior to declaring the FQ.
If an entity has multiple functions, the department may request that the entity submits a reconciliation statement which balances the school's financial information with the entities audited financial statements.
The provision of the FQ is required under Section 36 of the Australian Education Regulation 2013 (the Regulation) and must be declared for each school, by 30 June for the previous calendar year.
The FQ includes income and expenditure for all foundation (the year immediately before year 1) to Year 12 students, whether eligible or ineligible for Australian Government funding under the Recurrent Grants program.
The FQ collects information:
- To monitor ongoing income and expenditure for each non-government school or system.
- As an accountability measure for Australian Government grants paid to schools and Systems in a program year.
- For use by the department in policy development and financial analysis.
- To create the MySchool finance report for your school. For more information, please refer to the MySchool website at http://www.myschool.edu.au/.
- To satisfy Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) financial reporting requirements. For more information, please refer to the ACNC website at www.acnc.gov.au/nongovschools.
- To provide statistical information for national educational publications, reports and national bodies, including:
- the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
- the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)
- the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
An FQ is required by:
- All schools with students enrolled during the previous calendar year which received Australian Government recurrent grant funding for these students
- All system offices
- All Catholic diocesan offices in New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland (QLD)
- All collective offices
An FQ is not required by:
- Schools which commenced (accepted students) after the previous calendar years census date or during the current calendar year.
- Government Schools
In SchoolsHUB, you can submit your FQ data in two ways. You can enter data into each FQ reporting field manually, or you enter all information at once by using a template excel file through the upload data tool. To access FQ reporting:
- Step 1: Open the SchoolsHUB homepage, click Sign in.
- Step 2: Enter your email or user name and password, click Sign in.
- Step 3: In the Data collection progress table on your SchoolsHUB user dashboard, click Financial Questionnaire.
- Step 4: The Financial Questionnaire will open on the My organisations tab. Next to this is the Data Upload tab.
To begin manually entering your data in each FQ data field, click on the school name you wish to report on and click start. This will lead you into the manual FQ data reporting fields.
To upload your data, click on the Data Upload tab. The instructions on this page provide appropriate templates for either single school cash or accrual based accounts and multiple school bulk uploads.
For more information about the data upload tool, download and read a copy of the SchoolsHUB data upload factsheet.
Before you begin your FQ reporting, you will need to obtain specific documentation and information.
To find out more about what you will need to complete an FQ and what may have changed from the previous year’s collection, download a copy of the Before you begin factsheet.
All non-government schools are typically required to electronically submit and declare their FQ by 30 June annually. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the department has extended the due date for this year's collection to 31 August 2020.
Note: Systemic schools may be required to submit their school's FQ by an earlier deadline for scrutiny by their system/diocese office.
All FQ financial data must relate to the previous calendar year. For example, he FQ data reported in 2020 is for the 2019 calendar year from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2019.
All income received and expenditure incurred by the operating school to provide educational activities for students. Other non-school related income and expenditure is also captured in a summarised form. FQ submitted information must be sourced from independently audited financial statements.
Schools must have their financial records audited annually by a qualified auditor before reporting their FQ. Schools are to source their reporting information from these audited accounts and upload a copy of the audited financial statements to enable the user to declare the FQ.
The FQ consists of the following data entry pages:
1. Contacts: you will confirm your location's details, your contact details and complete the acknowledgment of obligations.
2. Getting Started: you will provide some information specific to the school location that will make it easier to provide your FQ data.
3. Enter Data: you will provide your FQ data based on your answers at Getting Started. This section is broken down into:
a) Recurrent income
b) Recurrent expenditure
c) Capital income
d) Capital expenditure
e) Trading activities
g) General financial items
4. Review: you will check your data has been correctly recorded.
5. Declaration: you (or your Approved Authority Representative) will complete a legal declaration about the accuracy and completeness of the data you have provided for the school/location.
Note: The data entry pages shown will vary depending on your user access level.
Throughout the FQ collection there are multiple blue ? icons. By clicking on these ? icons, detailed information about that section or question will be shown.
If you would prefer to view a document containing all of the sections and question help, download a copy of the FQ Data Reporting Guide
There are two accounting methods – Cash or Accrual.
The Cash accounting method recognises income when revenue comes in, and expenses are recognised when paid.
All financial period transactions resulting in cash outflow are expenses. All financial period transactions resulting in cash inflow are revenue.
The Accrual accounting method records revenues when they are earnt, and expenses are reported in the period they occur or when they expire – which is often in a period different from when the payment is made.
Accrual accounts include:
- Accounts receivable
- Accounts payable
- Provision for doubtful debts
- Bad debts
Accounts prepared and audited on an accrual basis must be reported on an accrual method, except for Commonwealth Recurrent Grants revenue at RI.100 which are to be reported on a cash basis.
Requirements for audited financial statements
Section 38 of the Australian Education Regulation 2013 requires approved authorities to prepare financial statements in accordance with the Australian Accounting Standards that relate to any money received by the authority or body in a year; and have those statements audited in accordance with the Australian Auditing Standards. The department collects a copy of the audited financial statements as part of the Financial Questionnaire collection.
Reporting arrangement with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC)
For non-government schools, the ACNC Commissioner has agreed that the financial information and the financial reports provided in the Department's Financial Questionnaire can be used to meet the ACNC's financial reporting requirements. This means that non-government schools do not have to provide financial information to the ACNC directly - the ACNC will use the information and financial reports that non-government schools provide to the Department in the financial questionnaire to complete the financial section of the Annual Information Statement. To participate, please refer to the information available on the ACNC website: ACNC Guidance On Reporting and Non-Government Schools.
Format of the audited financial statements
The format and content of the audited financial statements provided to the Department should be based on the requirements of regulators such as the ACNC, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), and state/territory based incorporated association requirements. Approved authorities should seek appropriate advice to ensure compliance with these requirements.
- Approved authorities that are classified as reporting entities under the Australian Accounting Standards must prepare General Purpose Financial Statements that comply with all applicable Australian Accounting Standards.
- Approved authorities that are not reporting entities may be eligible to prepare special purpose financial statements that meet the financial reporting requirements of the ACNC, ASIC and state/territory based incorporated association requirements. Please note that the ACNC requires the application of six mandatory accounting standards that must be applied. Please see the following ACNC link for further information on financial reporting: ACNC Information on Financial Reporting.
- Please also note that the ACNC streamlined financial reporting requirements have been agreed between the ACNC and some state/territory based incorporated association regulators. Please refer to ACNC Guidance on Transitional Reporting Arrangements.
Schools must ensure the FQ values reported clearly reconcile to the school’s audited financial accounts. If the school’s accounts have been created using the department’s Chart of Accounts (CA), use the CA as a reconciliation tool to assist in completing the FQ.
Australian Government grants may be withheld until the department acknowledges that the FQ data is satisfactory and a copy of the audited financial statements has been uploaded onto the school contact and auditor details page of the FQ.
Upon completion of the FQ, an authorised representative for the school’s approved authority must declare the FQ data by stating that:
- The information provided in the FQ is true and correct. It has been sourced from independently audited financial statements/accounts at either, the entity level of the school or in the case of Systems, at the school, diocese or System level.
- The school has satisfactory internal accounting Systems, controls and procedures for records to be maintained as set out in Section 36 and 37 of the Regulation.
- The department will consider the disclosed information in determining if the school meets the basic requirements as set out in Section 75 of the Australian Education Act (2013).
- An authorised signatory of the approved authority understands that giving false or misleading information is a serious offence.
For MySchool finance reports, the completion of the FQ declaration by the signatory confirms the school’s FQ data is ready for submission to ACARA for publication onto the MySchool website.
The FQ report captures all income received and expenditure incurred in operating the school and providing educational activities for students.
For the FQ, ‘activities for students’ are those activities which meet any of the following criteria:
- The activity related to any course of study undertaken at the school, irrespective of when the activity is held during the school year.
- The activity (voluntary or compulsory) is organised by the school (staff or students), or on behalf of the school, and is recognised by the school’s community as a service or activity offered by the school for the educational, physical, personal, social or cultural development of its students, irrespective of when it is held during the school year.
This includes activities such as music tutoring, sport, school newsletters, formal graduation ceremonies, personal development and any self-defence activities.
- All excursions and trips organised under the sponsorship of the school, by the school or any other individual or organisation, which are done:
- during the school’s designated term-time, either during or outside regular school hours
- outside the school’s designated term-time but which relate directly to courses of study offered at the school that contribute to the educational, physical, personal, social or cultural development of its students.
When reporting current or non-current liabilities into the General Financial Information page, make sure to include all GST liabilities. Items can only be sourced from the balance sheet within the audited financial statements.
Activities that are not part of school education are recorded in the FQ in a summarised form.
Most excursions qualify to be included in the FQ.
Report income collected separately for excursions under Item RI.020 - Income from Excursions/Trips.
Report income collected for excursions as part of school fees (not separately identifiable) under:
- Item RI.010 – Fees and Charges (excluding Overseas Students)
- Item RI.050 – Total Income from Overseas Students
Report all excursion expenditure under Item RE.080 – Operating Expenses.
Some items should not be reported in the FQ. Exclude from your reporting:
- All GST amounts except for GST liabilities owed to the Australian Tax Office (ATO). Report GST liabilities on the FQ General Financial Information page.
- Money received by the school from, or on behalf of, its students which is passed on in full to a third party for the delivery of goods or services unrelated to activities defined above. This may include banking for students, school photos, book clubs, students’ insurance premiums, mission collections or other recognised charitable organisations and donations to P&Fs, school building funds and foundations.
- Money the school receives from organisations, including government agencies, which the school passes on in full to third parties and does not benefit the school or fund its operations, for example, paid parental leave funds from the Department of Human Services which are given in full to staff where the school is acting only as an agent.
- Money held by the school on behalf of the parents of boarding students to cover costs incurred by the school in acting as the student’s guardian (for example in loco parentis), including to cover the cost of recreational activities organised by the school solely for boarders.
- Costs associated with building maintenance, other school structure, furniture, fittings or equipment funded by a claim on an insurance policy. The exception is where monies received from the claim are insufficient to cover the full costs of the reconstruction. Include only the extra construction expenses/costs incurred in the FQ.
- Revaluations of land and buildings or other relevant capital items are not stated as income or expenditure. Revaluations can either increase or decrease the value of the asset and should be stated on the FQ General Financial Items page as sourced from the entity’s balance sheet.
An overseas student is a person allowed to travel to Australia to study as defined in Section 6 of the Australian Education Act and Section 6 of the Australian Education Regulation.
- An overseas student is the person who holds a visa in force under the Migration Act 1958 that permits the person to travel to Australia for the purposes of undertaking a course provided by a body,
- the person is included in such a visa in force under that Act;
A student is reported as an overseas student in the school’s census if the visa they hold specifically relates to studying in Australia (or a bridging visa attached to a substantive visa with those provisions).
Only students who are the primary visa holder, or a dependent of the primary visa holder, where the visa is issued for the purposes of study are ‘Overseas Students’.
Overseas student visa subclasses include 500, 570, 571, 572, 573, 574, and 575.
Overseas students do not include:
- Dependents of a person who is receiving a full sponsorship or scholarship to one of the institutions mentioned in the Higher Education Support Act 2003. The sponsorship or scholarship has to meet the full cost of the education component of the course,
- A person or dependent of a person who is receiving a sponsorship or a scholarship from the Commonwealth, or
- Students who are studying in Australia under a student exchange program registered by the state or territory.
For further information on the conditions of a visa subclass (to determine if they meet the meaning of ‘Overseas student’, search the visa subclass in the Department of Home Affairs website.
Who is responsible for the cost of an Overseas Student?
Overseas students are responsible for the cost of their education and do not attract Australian Government recurrent assistance funding under the Act.
Report all income and expenditure from overseas students under:
- Item RI.050 – Total Income from Overseas Students (if funds are for recurrent purposes)
- Item CI.040 – Capital funds received from Overseas Students (if funds are for capital purposes).
The FQ Verification Exercise (FQVE) is a quality assurance process. Each year, the department selects some individual schools to verify and declare that the information provided in their FQ is accurate.
The FQVE assesses the schools FQ reporting against their audited financial statements and requires schools to prepare a reconciliation spreadsheet. The reconciliation spreadsheet balances items reported in the individual schools FQ to the schools approved authorities audited financial statements.
A systemic school selected for the FQVE must prepare an extra reconciliation spreadsheet to balance items reported into the individual schools FQ to the systems audited financial statements.
Reconciliation spreadsheets should be prepared according to FQ Instructions to ensure amounts are entered against the correct FQ items. Documentation used to prepare the reconciliation statements should be kept for future reference to be provided to the department if requested.
If the FQVE shows that data reported in the FQ does not reconcile with the audited financial statements, the school will be required to explain the reasons for the difference(s) or amend the data.
Note: The school may also be selected again for the exercise the following year to ensure that correct procedures have been followed.
You can access a preliminary MySchool report populated with the responses from your 2018 FQ data collection through SchoolsHUB. Only the amounts reported for tuition (and system and diocese where applicable) are included. Boarding is excluded under the MySchool finance data collection methodology.
The preliminary report is provided as a guide only. It may not include possible allocations of expenditure incurred by third parties, which are required under the methodology such as those incurred by Block Grant Authorities for administering government capital grant Programs to schools for Catholic independent, non-Catholic systemic and non-systemic independent schools. ACARA will include these amounts before publishing the finance report on the MySchool website.
Per student amounts are calculated using the number of FTE from the Friday 2 August 2019 school census.
Total deductions from gross income should not exceed the school's privately sourced income unless the school has documentation that shows it can use government grants for capital purposes. For further information, refer to the note under MS.100 in these instructions.
FQ items mapped to MySchool finance reports
The table below maps individual FQ items that relate to each MySchool reporting category, as shown in the preliminary MySchool report.
|Reporting categories||2019 FQ Items included in calculations for the 2019 reporting year|
|Commonwealth recurrent funding for schools (R1)|
- +RI.100 (Commonwealth recurrent funding for schools. Grants made under the Australian Education Act 2013)
- +RI.110 (Indigenous Education Grants from other Commonwealth Agencies)
- +RI.120 (All other Commonwealth government recurrent grants)
|State/Territory Government recurrent funding (R2)|
- +RI.070 (State/Territory government recurrent grants)
- +RI.080 (State/Territory government education allowances)
- +RI.090 (State/Territory government interest subsidy)
|Fees, charges and parent contributions (R3)|
- +RI.010 (Fees and charges (excluding Overseas students)
- +RI.020 (Income from excursions/trips)
- +RI.030 (Other receipts from students)
- +RI.040 (ABSTUDY Allowances paid direct to school)
- +RI.050 (Total income from overseas students)
- +CI.030 (Fees/levis allocated for capital purposes)
- +CI.040 (Capital funds received from overseas students)
|Other private sources (R4)|
As described in the above calculation, only the profit component of ‘Trading activities’ is added to ‘Private income’ and ‘Other capital income’ for the calculation of the My School reporting category ‘Other private sources’.
- +TA.010 (Income on trading activities)
- -TA.020 (Expenditure on trading activities)
- = If less than 0, use 0. If greater than or equal to 0, use the result
- +RI.060 (Private income)
- +RI.061 (Investment income)
- +RI.065 (Donations)
- +CI.050 (Other capital income)
- +CI.055 (Donations for capital purposes)
|Total gross income (excluding income from government capital grants) (RG)|
|Reporting categories||2019 FQ Items included in calculations for the 2019 reporting year|
|Income allocated to current capital projects (D1)|
- + MS.050 (Amount of private capital income (a component of the sum of CI.030, CI.040, CI.050 and CI.055) spent on capital expenditure in the current year and reported at CE.030)
|Income allocated to future capital projects and diocesan capital funds (D2)|
- +MS.060 (Amount of private capital income (a component of the sum of CI.030, CI.040, CI.050 and CI.055) allocated to capital expenditure in future years)
|Income allocated to capital debt servicing (including principal repayments and interest on loans) (D3)|
- +RE.110 (Interest – Capital and bridging loans and finance leases)
- +LN.060 (Principal repayments on capital loans)
- -MS.100 (Amount of principal and interest repayments for capital purposes (identified at LN.060, RE.110) funded from gains on sale of assets, loan refinancing, cash reserves and/or government capital grants)
|Total net recurrent income (RN)|
|Reporting categories||2019 FQ Items included in calculations for the 2019 reporting year|
|Australian government capital expenditure (C1)|
- +MS.010 (Commonwealth government capital grants received in the 2018 program year (identified at CI.010) that were spent and recorded as capital expenditure in the 2018 program year)
- +MS.020 (Commonwealth government capital grants spent and recorded as capital expenditure in the 2018 program year where the grant was received in a year other than the 2018 program year)
|State/Territory government capital expenditure (C2)|
- +MS.030 (State/Territory government capital grants received in the 2018 program year (identified at CI.020) that were spent and recorded as capital expenditure in the 2018 program year)
- +MS.040 (State/Territory government capital grants spent and recorded as capital expenditure in the 2018 program year where the grant was received in a year other than the 2018 program year)
|New school loans (C3)|
- +MS.090 (Amount of capital expenditure in the 2018 program year that was funded by drawdowns (identified at LN.070) from capital loans)
|Income allocation to current capital projects (C4)|
|Total capital expenditure (CE)|
- CE.030 (Total Capital Expenditure)
Note: Two additional questions (MS.070 and MS.080) are also included in the FQ to provide a data quality control measure to ensure the accuracy of amounts reported at MS.050 and MS.060.
The table below maps individual FQ items that relate to the relevant ACNC financial information category, as shown in the ACNC – Preview page.
The additional display page has been updated for the 2020 (2019 data) FQ for schools that opted to report to the ACNC.
- The page contains basic information on the ACNC reporting process.
- The ACNC preview page, will appear for schools (including systemic schools) that are registered charities reporting to the ACNC.
- For FQ items mapped to the ACNC, the school’s FQ data will be provided for publication on the Finance Section of the 2019 Annual Information Statement (AIS). Note – if a school opts out from the streamlined reporting arrangement by completing the Finance section voluntarily in the 2019 AIS, the mapped FQ data will not be used.
- Additional FQ items are introduced to enhance and improve the data mapping for ACNC reporting purposes.
- For systems that report to the ACNC on behalf of their member schools, the ACNC – Preview page will appear at the system level which aggregates the data for member schools that are not individually registered with the ACNC. Note: this means the page will appear in the system or diocese FQ and not in the school FQ.
- The ACNC preview page will not appear for a non-ACNC registered entity. However, where an entity is registered with the ACNC but cannot view the Preview page, the ACNC will contact these entities directly for an alternative reporting solution.
Comprehensive income statement summary
a: Revenue from government including grants
RI.070 and RI.070B – State government recurrent grants
RI.080 – State government education allowances
RI.090 and RI.090B – State government interest subsidy
RI.100 - Commonwealth government general recurrent grants program
RI.110 and RI.110B – Indigenous education grants
RI.120 and RI.120B – All other Commonwealth government recurrent grants
CI.010 and CI.10B – Commonwealth government capital grants
CI.020 and CI.020B – State government capital grants
RI.040 and RI.040B – ABSTUDY allowances paid direct to the school
b: Donations and bequests
RI.065 and RI.065B – Donations
CI.055 and CI.055B – Donations for capital purposes
c: Revenue from providing goods or services
RI.010 and RI.010B – Fees and charges
RI.030 and RI.030B – Other receipts from students
RI.050 and RI.050B – Total income from overseas students
CI.030 and CI.030B – Fee/levies associated for capital purposes
CI.040 and CI.040B – Capital funds received from overseas students
TA.010 and TA.010B – Trading activities income
TA.030 and TA.030B – Income not already captured in FQ
d: Revenue from investments
RI.061 and RI.061B – Investment income
e: Other revenue
RI.020 and RI.020B – Income from trips and excursions
RI.060 and RI.060B – Private income
g: Other income
CI.050 and CI.050B – Other capital income
i: Employee expenses
RE.010 – Executive – Senior executive staff salaries
RE.020 – Executive – Inspectors and superintendents
RE.030 and RE.030B – Principal, general teaching staff – lay and religious
RE.040 and RE.040B – Salaries all other staff
RE.050 and RE.050B – Other staff related expenses
RE.060 and RE.060B – Superannuation (employer contribution only)
RE.070 and RE.070B – Long service leave
j: Interest expenses
RE.100 and RE.100B – Interest – Bank overdraft and recurrent loans
RE.110 and RE.110B – Capital and bridging loans and finance leases
m: All other expenses
RE.080 and RE.80B – Operating expenses
RE.090 and RE.090B – Buildings and grounds – operations, building and equipment maintenance
RE.120 and RE.120B – Amortisation – Leasehold land and building and assets
RE.130 and RE.130B – Depreciation
RE.140 and RE.140B – Total bad and doubtful debts expense
TA.020 and TA.020B – Trading activity expenditure
RE.085 and RE.085B – External management fees
RE.095 and RE.095B – Rent and lease expenses
TA.040 and TA.040B – Expenditure not already captured in FQ
r: Total current assets
GF.020 – Total current assets (including data from GF.010)
s: Non-current Loans:
GF.035 – Non-current loans receivable
t: Other non-current assets
+GF.040 – Total non-current assets
-GF.035 – Non-current loans receivable
w: Total current liabilities
GF.030 – Total current liabilities
x: Non-current Loans:
GF.045 – Non-current loans payable
y: Other non-current liabilities
+GF.050 – Total non-current liabilities
-GF.045 – Non-current loans payable