As an incorporated association you will need to keep certain records to meet your obligations under the Associations Incorporation Act. You will also need to keep any records that are required under other relevant legislation and/or agreements that you have with funding bodies if you received grants.
These records will be essential for you to meet your reporting requirements to the organisation, funding bodies, clients, government and the community. There may also be other records that you want to keep to for your own purposes to ensure that your organisation runs as well as possible.
To ensure that you are keeping your records properly, you will need to understand:
- what information is required,
- who is responsible for collecting the information,
- what procedure will be used collect the information,
- where it should be kept,
- how long it must be kept, and,
- how it is meant to be used.
Your organisation will also need to ensure that any personal information is collected, kept and used in a way that meets the requirements of privacy legislation. This means that only information that is necessary should be collected and it needs to be kept securely and not provided to anyone unless they need to know.
Financial records, minutes and registers
Financial records can include a range of items including invoices, receipts and working documents that explain how your financial reports. All associations are required to keep a cash book that shows amounts paid and received, a receipt book, bank statements, a petty cash book and an asset register. Depending on the size of your association, you may also need to keep a ledger and a journal under the Act.
The management committee is responsible for ensuring that the financial records are kept properly. All financial records need to be complete, accurate and written in English. You will need to set up a financial management system that meets your organisation’s requirements, any requirements under the Act or your rules, and can be clearly understood by you or any other authorised person such as an auditor.
Your association will also need to keep any financial records required by other relevant state and federal legislation. Depending on your organisation this may include records that relate to income tax, capital gains tax, fringe benefits and GST.
As an incorporated association, you must keep a written record or minutes of your committee meetings and general meetings in a special book or folder. The Office of Fair Trading can ask to see copies of your records and if they are not in English, the association will need to provide certified translations.
The management committee is also responsible for keeping a register of all the members of the association. This register or list should include the member’s name, address, date they became a member, date they stopped being a member and other details that are described in the model rules or decided by the association.
You will need to check the relevant legislation to determine if the records must be kept in a particular place, how long they must be kept and how they should be used.
Employee, management committee and volunteer records
All organisations need to keep records for their employees, management committee and volunteers. This information will include their role and responsibilities. A position description should be included for both paid and unpaid staff. Records for paid staff should also include their contract with the organisation that describes their conditions, pay and other benefits.
Management committee records are important to ensure that your organisation meets its obligations under the Act and its rules. Accurate personnel records are important to ensure that your organisation provides staff entitlements under other legislation. Accurate personnel records are also important to ensure that everyone who works for the organisation, paid and unpaid, is clear about their role.
Information about clients helps the organisation evaluate and plan the services that it provides. If your organisation receives funding, the funding body will usually require client information that will help them monitor and evaluate these services.
Your organisation will need to determine what information it must collect to meet its requirements and good procedures for collecting, keeping and using this information. Depending on the service that your organisation provides it may only need to collect basic statistics such as gender or ethnic background. Other organisations may require details such as name and address while others might need more information.
- Office of Fair Trading information about incorporated associations
- Australian Taxation Office links to information for not-for-profit organisations
- Queensland University of Technology has information about record-keeping requirements
- Management Support Online (requires subscription):
- keeping records
- personnel or staff records
- client records
- Note: Please check the following information with the Office of Fair Trading to ensure that it is still current.
Our Community information about record-keeping for treasurers