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Data Collections Financial Accountability

UPDATE: The Department wishes to advise the Financial Acquittal opened on 1 June 2020 and closes on 31 August 2020. This extension gives schools additional time to prepare for the collections. Relevant details are now available for approved authorities in the download section.

The Financial Accountability (FA) collection enables all approved authorities to certify that the financial assistance provided by the Australian Government has been spent, or committed to be spent for the purpose of providing school education.

Approved Authorities in receipt of recurrent funding complete the FA collection to meet their requirements under the Australian Education Act 2013 (the Act) and Australian Education Regulation 2013 (the Regulation). The FA consist of an Acquittal Certificate for all approved authorities and a Block Allocation Report for approved authorities that operate more than one school.

Independent qualified accountants submit FA via SchoolsHUB by 30 June annually for the previous calendar year's financial assistance received.

Change to the certification wording

The qualified accountant’s certification wording has been updated to more closely align with audit industry practice of providing an opinion based on assurance activity.

The wording is now: “I certify, as at 31 December {year} that, after undertaking a reasonable assurance engagement on the authority’s compliance, my opinion is that...

Prescribed Circumstances or transitional adjustment funding

In 2019, some Approved Authorities received Prescribed Circumstances funding in addition to their recurrent funding. Individual Prescribed Circumstances funding have different reporting and acquittal requirements for the Approved Authority. For example, the ability to carry funding over into future years.

The Acquittal Certificate has been updated for Approved Authorities in receipt of the Prescribed Circumstances or transitional adjustment funding in line with these new reporting requirements. When completing Acquittal Certificates, qualified accountants will need to ensure that any funding received under Prescribed Circumstances or transitional adjustment is correctly captured and reported in the areas of the Acquittal Certificate.

Additional columns have been added to the Block Allocation Summary to allow Approved Authorities for more than one school to report how much Prescribed Circumstances funding was distributed to schools last year under one or more of the following allocations:

  • Additional financial assistance for low growth non-government schools for 2018
  • Additional financial assistance for system weighted average SES schools in 2018
  • Adjustment funding for low-growth non-government schools for 2019
  • Additional financial assistance for non-government schools (2016 census data arrangements) for 2019
  • Additional financial assistance for non-government schools of approved system authorities (system weighted benefit) for 2019

Note:The department has turned off access to the block allocation summary in SchoolsHUB as part of the initial release scheduled for June 2020 so further reporting enhancements can be made. The enhancements are designed to enable approved authorities for more than one school to submit details of prescribed circumstances funding and recurrent funding passed on to schools online via the same block allocation report.

Approved Authorities can expect to receive an email notification when access to the block allocation summary in SchoolsHUB has been reinstated.

The FA collection has two parts, the Acquittal Certificate and the Block Allocation Summary.

About the Acquittal Certificate

The Acquittal Certificate is an assurance declaration provided by a qualified person to:

  • Confirm the total amount of recurrent funding received by the Approved Authority from the Australian Government; and
  • Provide assurance that the funding was spent or committed to be spent for the purpose of providing school education.

About the Block Allocation Summary

The Block Allocation Summary is applicable where an Approved Authority operates more than one school. The Block Allocation Summary reports the funding that has been distributed to each school.

An Acquittal Certificate is required by all Approved Authorities in receipt of financial assistance from the Australian Government under the Act.

A Financial Acquittal Certificate for a non-government school can only be submitted by an independent qualified accountant. To be recognised as a qualified account, you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • a qualified accountant as defined in the Corporations Act 2001
  • a person registered (or taken to be registered) as an auditor under the Corporations Act 2011
  • a person approved by the Minister as a qualified accountant

A statement about the qualified accountant’s independence from the approved authority is included with the Acquittal Certificate declaration.

There are two types of Approved Authorities that must complete a block allocation summary, Approved Authority Collectives and Approved System Authorities.

An Approved Authority Collective is a body that operates more than one school that is not recognised as a System Authority. This type of body must distribute funding to schools as directed by the Department and cannot retain any funding for administrative purposes.

An Approved System Authority is a body that operates more than one school and is recognised by the Department as a System Authority to re-distribute funding per a needs based funding model. This type of body may retain funding for administrative purposes.

Only users allocated in the Data Reporter or Authorised Representative roles for an Approved Authority will be able to access or complete the Block Allocation Summary.

For step-by-step instructions on how to access, submit and review your FA reporting, download the Financial Accountability user guide.

The FA Collection is normally due by 30 June annually. For the 2020 collection, the due date has been extended to 31 August 2020.

All FA financial data must relate to the previous calendar year. For example, the 2020 FA refers to data from 1 January to 31 December 2019.

A guiding principle of recurrent funding is that it is to be used for the educational benefit of students in the year it which it is provided. Approved Authorities can fulfil this requirement by ensuring recurrent funding is either spent or committed to be spent by 31 December of the year the funding was received.

An Approved Authority commits to spend recurrent funding where:

  • either:
    • The authority has entered into a legal arrangement under which the authority will be liable to pay an amount, or
    • An amount will become due or payable under a liability under a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory that the authority is required to meet (for example, certain taxes)

and

  • the time for paying the amount has not yet arisen and the authority sets aside all, or part of, the recurrent funding to pay the amount.

Examples include contracts or invoices for staff salaries, rent, internet or electricity bills. These committed expenses must still meet the requirement of costs for the purpose of providing school education as described above.

To find out more about Commonwealth financial assistance for schools, please review the Australian Education Act 2013

To find out more about the reporting requirements for schools, please review the Australian Education Regulation 2013

To find out more about how schools are funded in Australia, please review the How are schools funded in Australia factsheet.

Both the Acquittal Certificate and Block Allocation Summary can be saved and printed after submission.

For a step-by-step guide on how to Print or Save, download a copy of the Financial Accountability user guide.

For a step-by-step guide in completing your FA reporting, download a copy of the Financial Accountability user guide.

For assistance in completing the FA, contact the SchoolsHUB helpdesk on 1800 677 027. The help desk is available Monday to Friday between 9:00am - 5:00pm (AEST).


Downloads

Further assistance

Contact us

1800 677 027