Small co-operatives

Financial Reporting

Small co-operatives must report to its members within 5 months after the end of its financial year.  Small co-operatives are not required to lodge publically available financial statements, unless required to by the Registrar or directed to by members.

If not subject to a direction by members or the Registrar, a small co-operative is only required to provide a report to members containing the following financial statements for a financial year:

  • income and expenditure statement setting out the appropriately classified individual sources of income and individual expenses incurred in the operation of the co-operative
  • balance sheet (including appropriately classified individual assets and liabilities of the co-operative)
  • statement of changes in equity
  • cash flows statement.  This is only if:
    • consolidated revenue of the co-operative and any of its controlled entities is $750,000 or greater, or
    • the value of consolidated gross assets is $250,000 or greater.

The financial statements must present a true and fair view of the co-operative’s financial position, performance and cash flows. They must also include:

  • comparative figures for the previous financial year
  • a statement of significant accounting policies.

Directions by members

Members with at least 5% of the votes can direct a small co-operative to prepare a financial report and/or directors’ report.  Members can also specify the requirements for a financial year.  A direction from the members must be given in the manner specified in section 271 of the CNL.

Directions by the Registrar

The Registrar may direct a small co-operative to prepare financial reports specifying the report requirements. The Registrar may also direct a small co-operative to lodge a copy of the financial reports prepared for co-operative members.

Reporting requirements

Co-operative typeFinancial statementsAnnual reporting to Registrar

not necessary to lodge financial statements unless a review or audit is required by the Registrar or is directed by members. The end of the financial year must be specified in the co-operative's rules.

must lodge an annual return with the Registrar within five months of the end of the financial year


must lodge with the Registrar:

  • within three months after the end of the financial year (disclosing entity co-operatives)
  • within five months after the end of the financial year for any other co-operative
  • The end of the financial year must be specified in the co-operative's rules.

must prepare or get financial reports and directors' reports under Divisions 3-5 and lodge them with the Registrar.

  • Annual Report - large co-operative

the financial report for a year consists of the:

  1. financial statements
  2. notes to the financial statements
  3. directors' declaration about the statements and notes

the directors' report contains information about the operations of the co-operative for the previous year.

Auditing Requirements

A small co-operative does not have to appoint an auditor or have its accounts audited or reviewed, unless directed by members or by the Registrar.

A small co-operative may choose to appoint a person to either audit or review its financial statements each financial year.  This is done by setting out the requirement in its rules.  The required standards for an audit or review are to comply with those set by the Australian Auditing and Assurance Standards Board.

Under the Model rules, a review may be carried out by a person who is a member of:

  • the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and holds a Certificate of Public Practice
  • CPA Australia Ltd and holds a Public Practice Certificate or
  • the Institute of Public Accountants and holds a Professional Practice Certificate.

The directors of a small co-operative may appoint a person as auditor if the co-operative has not made the appointment in a general meeting.

The appointment of an auditor for a small co-operative continues until the next annual general meeting.

Updated: 13 Dec 2022

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