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Tips for Preparing a Successful Not-for-Profit Audit

Navigating the complexities of a not-for-profit (NFP) audit requires careful planning and attention to detail. Drawing from years of experience as a chartered accountant specializing in the NFP sector, I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of top tips to help your organization prepare effectively for a successful audit.

NFP’s Audit Requirement:

Not-for-profit businesses, aimed at social or environmental causes, often face audit obligations. ACNC-registered charities making over $250,000 annually must provide financial statements within six months. Grant-funded organizations may need annual audits regardless of revenue. Constitution requirements mandate audits regardless of income. 

State regulations vary: NSW requires filings with Fair Trading; Victoria imposes audits over $1 million revenue; Queensland demands annual returns; Northern Territory has less stringent rules. ACNC registration necessitates annual reporting; ACT, SA, and Tasmania charities report to both ACNC and state regulators. In summary, audit requirements for not-for-profits vary by jurisdiction, revenue, and organizational structure.

Top 10 Tips for Preparing a Successful Not-for-Profit Audit

Here’s our researched and compiled list of 10 tips to ensure the success of your not-for-profit audit. Quickly check them out below.

#1. Establish Open Communication Channels:

  • Foster proactive communication with your auditors from the outset to clarify expectations and timelines.
  • Encourage regular dialogue to address any concerns or questions that may arise during the audit process.

#2. Know Your Reporting Requirements Inside Out:

  • Stay informed about the specific reporting obligations applicable to your organization’s entity type and charitable status.
  • Keep abreast of updates to accounting standards and regulations to ensure compliance with reporting requirements.

#3. Conduct a Thorough Review of Financial Records:

  • Meticulously review your financial records to identify and rectify any inaccuracies or discrepancies.
  • Pay close attention to year-end adjustments and ensure that all necessary accruals and provisions are accounted for accurately.
Tips for a Successful Not-for-Profit Audit

#4. Document Decisions and Judgments Methodically:

  • Document all accounting decisions and judgments made throughout the financial reporting period.
  • Maintain comprehensive records of the rationale behind these decisions to facilitate transparency and accountability.

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#5. Prepare Robust Financial Statements in Advance:

  • Develop shell financial statements well in advance of the audit to streamline the process.
  • Ensure that all required disclosures and footnotes are included to provide a comprehensive overview of your organization’s financial position.

#6. Foster Collaboration Between Internal and External Teams:

  • Cultivate a culture of collaboration between your internal finance team and the external audit team.
  • Facilitate seamless information sharing and provide timely access to requested documentation to expedite the audit process.

#7. Seek Guidance from Accounting Experts When Necessary:

  • Don’t hesitate to seek advice from accounting professionals with expertise in the NFP sector for complex accounting issues.
  • Leverage their knowledge and experience to address any technical challenges and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

#8. Maintain Detailed Documentation Throughout the Audit Process:

  • Keep meticulous records of all audit-related communications, actions, and decisions.
  • Document any changes or adjustments made during the audit to provide a clear audit trail and support the integrity of your financial statements.

#9. Review Internal Controls and Processes Regularly:

  • Regularly assess and update your organization’s internal controls and processes to strengthen financial governance.
  • Identify areas for improvement and implement corrective measures to mitigate risks and enhance transparency.

#10. Embrace a Continuous Improvement Mindset:

  • Adopt a mindset of continuous improvement to refine your audit preparedness processes over time.
  • Learn from past audits and implement lessons learned to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in future audits.


By implementing these expert tips, not-for-profit organizations can proactively prepare for their audits and demonstrate a commitment to financial integrity and transparency. Effective audit preparedness is essential for maintaining stakeholder trust and ensuring the long-term sustainability of NFP organizations.

If you’re seeking assistance with the audit process, then you’ve come to the right place. Number Solutions Tax & Accounting is quickly emerging as one of the leaders in Australia for accounting services.

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