Working with Accounting for Good

  • We are a not for profit oganisation and want a quote for AFG services.

    The services that we can provide to a charity start with:

    • Conversion to Xero if not already on board (and training in how to use the platform)
    • Payroll, including salary sacrifice for FBT exempt bodies
    • Grant Acquittals
    • Bookkeeping such as Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable
    • Accrual Accounting (wth monthly or quarterly journal adjustments)
    • ATO Compliance (BAS, IAS, Super, PAYG)
    • ACNC reporting
    • Preparation for Audit
    • Budget assistance
    • Financial reports each month to management and the board
    Our quotes are based on our standardised way of doing things, that we know will keep your management and board fully informed about your financial situation, and safe from error and fraud. We can discuss any customisations you might think you need.

    Go to the Contact Page to ask for a quote or write to support[at]

  • We are not a not-for-profit; will you provide us with a quote?

    Accounting for Good works only with nonprofits. However if you are a social enterprise or a start-up seeking to become a non-profit or B-Corp, we might be able to assist. We are not tax agents and do not provide tax advice.

  • What areas of the country do you service?

    Accounting for Good has clients in capital cities and in rural areas, as well as in remote parts of the country.

    Because we predominately use cloud based technology such as Xero and Google (and even the telephone and post!) we are able to provide a high quality service wherever our clients are. We support our clients to implement these applications if they are not familiar with them.

    Our Client Managers visit our clients wherever they are, as required. We have been doing remote financial management for ten years now, and are really good at it.

  • How do we send you our datafiles to review?

    To send a file to Accounting for Good, use the "Create a Ticket" menu at AFG Support Centre, complete the fields and then Attach a File. File uploads are limited to 15Mb. If the file is larger, please send to Hightail.

  • Templates

  • Flex Timesheet in Google Sheets

    Some organisations need to meticulously record 'flex' time for their staff, and so we have created a Google Sheet to be modified for this purpose. (Xero does not hold flex balances.) This requires a little knowledge of Sheets/Excel.

    There may be software applications such as Tsheets that manage this automoatically.

    Use with caution
  • Cashflow Template in Google Sheets

    Predicting the availability of cash for future debts, payroll and other obligations is a critical responsibility to avoid the risks of insolvency.

    Attached is a simple spreadsheet which can be adapted to construct a predictable forecast.

    Replace the predictions each month with the actuals, and continue to monitor the available cash for your predicted needs.This requires a little knowledge of Sheets/Excel.

    Use with caution

  • Delegation of Authority Matrix

    Setting up a policy to inform stakeholders in an organisation about who has what authority can be as simple or as complext as you need. Importantly the policy needs to be appropriate to the organisation, and set out clear guidance for who can - and cannot - make decisions. This is especially important around HR, expenditure, and communication.

    Here are two simple templates to help build an Approval matrix.

    Sample 1

    Sample 2

  • Manual Invoices

    If you need to create invoices manually (ie not using Xero or other accounting software) here is a simple spreadsheet template which can be "Saved As" and modified for use.

    Google Sheet version of Manual Invoice Template

    Excel version of Manual Invoice Template.

  • Charities

  • I want to start a charity! Where do I begin?

    Before you get started down this road, be aware that there are 600,000 nonprofits and 55,000 charities. Your idea might already be out there, and you might be better served finding them and working with them. But if you are sure your idea, your passion, is so unique and deserving, then you are about to start a long journey with some pain and a lot of reward. Good luck.

    Being a Non Profit is a tax status, so the best place to start learning about setting up a NonProfit is the Australian Tax Office

    ATO guidance on getting Started as a NonProfit.

    The ATO has a subscription service, The Non-Profit News Service, which emails updates on key tax issues affecting the sector, new publications they release for NFP organisations, and changes to the tax law. This is a free service. The Non-Profit News Service.

    The Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission (ACNC) also has a guide and is an important stakeholder in charity regulation. Check here first. ACNC Checklist: Before you start a charity.

    Our Community - a 'for purpose' company - has many resources for charities and non-profits. Definitely worth reviewing. Our Community.

    And the NFP Information Hub of Justice Connect is an awesome place to get the legal information you need to get started. Not for Profit Law Information Hub.

  • Lodging details about Directors

    There are still a number of responsibilities about lodging details which ASIC retains under company law, and some have been transferred to the ACNC.

    If there has been a change in Directors, or details about current Directors, you need to advise the ACNC of the changes.

    There is a helpful guide of who-does-what on the ACNC, particularly the table at the end of the web page:

    Companies Limited by Guarantee

    This ASIC reference confirms this.

  • Application for endorsement as a deductible gift recipient
  • What is our organisation's 'size' for ACNC registration purposes?

    There are still a number of responsibilities about lodging details which ASIC retains under company law, and some have been transferred to the ACNC.

    If there has been a change in Directors, or details about current Directors, you need to advise the ACNC of the changes.

    There is a helpful guide of who-does-what on the ACNC, particularly the table at the end of the web page:

    Companies Limited by Guarantee

    This ASIC reference confirms this.u>

    General Accounting Questions

  • Allocation of Management Fees

    We are often asked to provide advice on the correct method of allocating management fees to projects. Adam Seifman, Client Manager at Accounting for Good, prepared a paper for a client discussing ways to consider management fees, and also a couple of examples from our clients of how it's done in practice.

    This is a link to a generic version of the Paper.
  • Accounting for Grants in Advance

    It is common for grant funding to arrive in advance of the period it is intended to be used, and therefore good accounting practice is to hold the funds as a liability until they are 'due'. We recommend maintaining a separate liability account for each funding stream.

    The organisation may elect to recognise revenue using the matching principle - that is, by recognising, or accounting for, income in the Profit and Loss Accounts to match the expenditure incurred for the same period. The alternate method of accounting for income would be to recognise equal monthly instalments in the P&L.

    Accounting standards require any surplus funds - where there is an obligation to expend or return the funds - to be held as a liability. It is therefore necessary to use information from both the Profit & Loss report and the Balance Sheet to understand the whole picture.

  • What percentage can we deduct from a Project Grant to cover the costs of managing the project?

    This is our qualified advice in respect of Project Management Fees.

    Each organisation derives the formula for calculating PMFs in accordance with their board's policy. It is a responsibility of the Board, as part of the Grant Acquittal process, to have a policy in respect of how it treats expenditure in a grant which is to be apportioned to management of the grant.

    Our advice is in general terms as follows:

    The formula to assess PMF is a percentage of all expenditure (except the PMF itself), including:

    • all LSL provisions, which we would expect to be included as staffing cost for that year
    • the cost of any 'make good' provision and all other costs associated with a lease, which we would expect to be included as part of the cost of premises ("rent")
    • capital expenditure ... and therefore not include depreciation.

    This general advice is provided in the absence of:

    • the details of income and expenditure for the project the funding agreement
    • the board policy

    We have seen PMFs range from 5% to 30%. We would expect a funder to accept as reasonable the range 7.5% to 15%, but accept that there would be 'a case' to have a higher charge.

  • Where to find information about the National Standard Chart of Accounts?

    The NSCOA history originates with the Queensland University of Technology's Australian Centre for Philanthropy and NonProfit Studies. They wrote the COA which was eventually adopted by COAG (Council of Australian Governments).

    Responsibility for the NSCOA has been transferred to the ACNC.

    The link to the NSCOA at the ACNC is now here

    For Xero Partners, there is a COA on this page (but it is not the NSCOA)

    Xero COA Resource

  • Can we accrue a donation?

    According to accounting standards (AASB 118) it is only possible to defer (accrue) an income donation when it is classified as a 'reciprocal transfer'. A 'reciprocal transfer' is when there is an arrangement in place that should the goods or services not be delivered then the grant (donation) is to be returned.

    Should there be such an arrangement (eg. that if the website is not completed then the grant (donation) is to be returned) you will be able to defer (accrue) the income until the completion of the project.

    If there is no such agreement then this donation is considered a 'non-reciprocal transfer' and will need to be recognised upon receipt and cann0t be apportioned over multiple periods.

    Please see the links below to the accounting standards - AASB 118 and 1004 href="" href=""

  • Payroll and Taxes

  • Overview of taxes and charges relating to Employment

    Here is a table from Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills Pty Ltd which provides a brief overview of some of the key Australian taxes, levies and charges as they relate to employees, independent contractors and terminations of employment, including some key points to remember.

    Employment and Taxes Table

  • Salary Sacrifice to Self Managed Super

    In order for a RESC super contribution to be displayed in the RESC section of the payment summary, and on the Superannuation Accruals report, please set up this additional contribution using the steps below:

    Go to Payroll > Employees > select employee > Pay Template > Add a Superannuation Line > select required super fund and for contribution type select Pre-Tax Voluntary Contribution (RESC).

    You can then set as a $ or % to be deducted from your employees pay.

    If you have previously recorded these super contributions in payroll as a deduction rather than as a super contribution, you will need to reverse what you have previously processed and re-enter as a super contribution.

    Process this adjustment in an unscheduled pay run.

    Go to Payroll > Pay runs > select unscheduled payrun > select employee > Add a Superannuation Line and ensure you use the contribution type "Pre-Tax Voluntary Contribution (RESC)". Enter the value of total amount paid during the year. Now you need to reverse what you have previously processed as deductions. Add a Deduction line and select the Deduction type previously used, Ok. Enter the value of the total amount deducted during the year as a negative. Change the existing SGC line to 0%, delete all other earnings, deduction and leave accrual lines.

    Your employees gross, tax and net pay should all be Nil.

  • Salary Sacrifice but not FBT Exempt

    If your nonprofit is not registered with the ACNC as a Charity then it is probably not entitled to Fringe Benefit tax concessions for expense payments. While it may be a non-profit organisation it isn't a Public Benevolent Institution or entitled to the FBT rebates that some Charities enjoy. Thus there is no real benefit in salary sacrificing expense payments, however there are benefits in salary sacrificing super for some employees.

    In order to salary sacrifice, the employee would need to pay additional funds into your Superannuation account. The downside is that this may lock away their funds for some time so its not immediately accessible.

    There's a limit of $30,000 a year for those aged under 50 and $35,000 a year for those aged 50 and over for all before-tax contributions. This includes salary sacrifice, Superannuation Guarantee and other employer contributions. Anything that exceeds these limits will be taxed at the highest rate.

    The process is straight forward. The employee designates the amount, and it is set it up as a pretax deduction in payroll and the additional funds are then paid to their super account. There is no additional cost to your employer.

    For example say the employee decides to salary sacrifice $20,000 pre tax into super then the taxable salary is reduced by $20,000.

    The following link to the ATO website gives more information

    ATO and adding to Super

  • What is the difference between an honorarium and sitting fees?

    An honorarium is a fixed amount which is normally paid annually or in instalments. It can be tax free to the board member if its immaterial or is in line with usual work but below market rate of services provided. No invoice is required and there is no tax/superannuation issues to be considered. The only other item that you may wish to consider is the noting of the honorarium payment within the board minutes. This may also be passed as a resolution.

    Sitting fees is usually an hourly rate used to reimburse board members for their time for attending meetings or for project work outside of the meetings. GST is charged on sitting fees and in order for the organisation to get a GST input credit, they would need to have an invoice raised for the fees. There are no other tax issues for the organisation and super doesn't arise as sitting fees are not regarded as ordinary time earnings.


  • Are nonprofits exempt from Payroll Tax?

    Payroll tax is administered by the States (not the ATO). Each State applies different rules.

    If an organisation is a Public Benevolent Institution it will be exempt from Payroll Tax in NSW (and most likely in all other states).

    However the organisation still needs to apply and then they review the situation every 3 years.

    Here is the link to the NSW Government form needed to apply for Payroll tax exemption. link

    This exemption also applies to NSW Stamp Duty exemption for Motor Vehicle Registration and Insurance policies.

    See this general advisement from the ATO.

    Check the Office of State Revenue in your State/Territory.




  • HECS repayments and Salary Packaging

    If you have a HECS debt and you Salary Package then the amount of HECS you have to repay each year will be affected.

    When you Salary Package, the benefit you receive will be reported on your Payment Summary (formerly called your Group Certificate).

    The items you include in your Salary Package will appear in your Reportable Fringe Benefits (RFB). Your RFB is made up of the actual amount of benefit you received, plus the Fringe Benefits Tax that would have been payable on that benefit.

    HECS and Salary Packaging Guid

  • Tips and Tricks

  • Government Data

    With over 9,000 datasets, this site provides an easy way to find, access and reuse public data.

  • Xero FAQs

  • Xero Help

    Xero has one of the best support and training setups around. If you are a xero user, click on the Help Menu and type in your question, or reach out to Support. Menu

  • How do I find my leave balance in Xero?

    Employees in an organisation using Xero should have access to My Payroll. If this is not setup, please ask your organisation to have this switched on.

    From Xero My Payroll, employees have access to a self-service kiosk where they can find lots of information about their pay, leave, tax, super, etc.

    Employees can apply for leave, enter timesheets, update contact details etc through the kiosk.

    For more information visit My Payroll

    Furthermore, it is now possible for employees to access this information on their iOS device (iPhone, iPad). For more information visit Xero on iOS

  • Importing the Standard Chart of Accounts to Xero

    Xero is well setup to import an MYOB chart of accounts. Importing the COA into Xero.

    The Standard Chart of Accounts in .csv format for importing is available from the QUT site

    SCOA in .csv format.

    While the date for these files is now getting on a bit, they are still 99% relevant and will benefit from customising for the individual organisation.

  • Journals to system-locked Xero accounts

    If you need to create a manual journal to make corrections, adjustments and accruals in your Xero organisation, we recommend that you create a separate balance sheet general ledger accrual account.

    You are able to set up both a Sales and Purchases accrual account. These can either appear separately on the Balance Sheet or you can group with the Sales and Purchases control accounts by customising the report layout. Having these separate accounts will allow you to easily manage your accruals and adjustments.

    Any differences between these accounts and the general ledger will be easier to find. If manual postings straight to these control accounts were allowed, it would potentially conceal these problems.

  • Batch Payment Troubleshooting

    f you get an error message when uploading a batch payment file to your bank, please check the following (in the Bank Account screen).

    • The bank name has been selected from the Bank Account list in the 'Your bank' field - i.e. that the account name hasn't just been typed in.
    • The bank account number has been entered correctly, ensuring that all digits are correct and that aren't any extra digits, eg 000s
    • The DE User ID (sometimes called APCA number) has been entered if required, you can check with your bank to see if it is needed
    • The Include self-balancing transaction in the ABA file option has been selected in the bank account details screen, ask your bank if this option is required, or if unsure, select this option.
    • That your supplier's bank account number has been entered correctly either directly in the batch payment or in their Contact record.
  • How can I change a bank account into a current asset account?

    It is not possible within Xero to change a Bank type account to another asset type account, this is because the functionality of a bank account in Xero is different to that of a regular asset account.

    What we recommend you do in this situation is to create a new asset account, and transfer the balance of the bank account to this newly created account. This can be done using a spend or receive money transaction.

    You would then be able to archive the bank account, which will keep all previous transactions recorded within this account, so you could see these by running an account transactions report on the account any time you need.

  • FAQ