Articles on Governance and Leadership in Purpose Driven Organisations.
ATO Putting NFPs to the Test: Two Additional Tests for Income Tax Exemption
Please note: An updated version of this article that discusses the final version of the Ruling issued on 25 February 2015 as TR 2015/1 Income Tax: special conditions for various entities whose ordinary and statutory income is exempt is now available. Read the updated version. In June 2013 the then Labor Federal Government amended the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (“the Tax Act”) to introduce two additional tests which NFPs need to satisfy for income tax exemption.
It’s Not in the Tea Leaves – It’s in the Minutes
The ubiquitous Board Agenda and its progeny, the Minutes are often assigned to a spring back folder and buried on a shelf somewhere. A board meeting and its record, once distributed, approved and stored, can take on an inert, colourless and even meaningless hue only fit for the corporate archives. The Minutes rarely engender much interest let alone controversy except for the anally retentive member who salivates over grammatical boo boos or misspellings.
The Critical Dos and Don’ts of NFP Board Recruitment
We have all struggled with recruitment and we know that the smaller our organisation the greater our responsibility to get it right. We also know that many more people today are keen to find a board role so identifying the right candidate is even more challenging. In my experience there are a couple of overarching principles that guide the appointment of directors: First, candidate skills and experience must closely match the position requirements without compromise, as your board needs the best new director available.
Information Flow is the New Cash Flow
Information flow is the new cash flow, quite literally, in the case of electronic funds transfer. More metaphorically, in the case of the myriad of electronic transactions collecting, storing and analysing data or those that carry conversations to plan and make decisions. In both cases, if the flow stops, the organisation stops. Yet Information and Communications Technology (ICT) governance lags far behind fiscal governance in most organisations. It begins and ends with minimising costs, fretting about social media and obtaining (often untested) assurances that the back-ups are regularly taken.
Developing the Next Generation of ‘Givers’
When I was young it was normal for our family and friends to spend time helping a friend build a shed, dig a garden for our elderly neighbours, share a feast of home grown fruit or vegetables, invite newcomers to a welcome bar-b-q and to visit others who had exciting and different foods to share – especially “exotic” Greek or Italian food. Our spare time activities revolved around community – winter and summer sports, community action and fundraising, local art groups, local theatre etc.
How I Learnt to Stop Worrying and Love the Risk
Fact: ‘My name is Trent and I take risks.’ While this may sound like a paradoxical statement given the inherent conservatism of my chosen profession I still, however, assert that this personal disclosure holds true. Fact: ‘I was not always this way.’ In my earlier years I often procrastinated when making a decision, either personally or professionally. At times this was born of irrational fear but, more often than not, it reflected a need for greater control over my life.
Mindfulness in the Australian Boardroom – Do Less and Accomplish More!
Mindfulness has made big inroads into the executive space but it’s yet to gain serious traction in the Australian boardroom. That’s not surprising, given the conservative nature of the boardroom. The main reason is that directors are generally unaware of the value proposition, personally and collectively. Meanwhile, offshore, there is a global revolution in process – Mindfulness is being advocated by high profile business leaders and adopted by elite corporate organisations, business schools and medical institutions.
The Art of Financial Management
Mr. Micawber’s famous, and oft-quoted recipe for happiness highlights the importance of strong financial management: Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery — Charles Dickens, David Copperfield It is important for boards of non-profit and community sector organisations to focus on strong financial management. These organisations typically have external stakeholders on whom they rely for funding.
Property Portfolio Dilemmas Faced by CEOs
Of the many challenges faced by a CEO, including resourcing, staff, clients, regulations, technology and finance, the property portfolio of a non-profit organisation is typically viewed as something that is static and therefore seldom proactively managed until a major issue develops. CEOs from the non-profit sector find that most issues arise from having a disparate property base accumulated through circumstance or allocation, rather than planned development. Hence, many problems stem from legacy or historic reasons that have simply not been adequately addressed in the past.
Financial Reporting to the Board
Boards are often inundated with information for their meetings. Reassessing reporting methods can enhance board performance, efficiency and help boards to meet corporate law responsibilities. This article concentrates on some ideas for financial reporting, a particularly challenging area of reporting for many boards. Two key principles are: less is more and top down. Less is more when financial reporting is well formatted and presents clear, concise and relevant information. This will usually be a mixture of numbers, text, graphical representation and detail reported by exception.