Auditing small and medium entities

Auditing small and medium entities requires a different approach to working with large companies and organisations.


Small Entities Audit Manual (SEAM)

The Small Entities Audit Manual gives specific guidance for conducting the most commonly encountered small audits and reviews, including those for self-managed superannuation funds, associations, companies limited by guarantee, trust accounts and grant acquittals. CPA members will need to log in for free access. With your member login, a 100 per cent discount is applied when you add the product to your cart. When the checkout process is complete, you’ll be able to access the guide using the course player, click on “Play”.  

Guide to using ISAs in the audits of SMEs, Fourth Edition, 2018 – IAASB

This IAASB guide aims to help firms efficiently and proportionally apply International Auditing Standards (ISAs) on small and medium-sized entity audits.

If you are an employee, volunteer or board member of a not-for-profit (NFP) organisation, including a charity, this guide outlines various CPA Australia and other online resources to help you understand some key reporting and assurance obligations under the Australian regulatory framework.

This guide is intended to inform charities and their advisers on their financial reporting and assurance obligations under the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012.

Australian incorporated associations are governed by each State and Territory’s Associations Incorporation Act, which also establishes the reporting requirements.

About working with charities

Charities form one distinct subset of not-for-profits (NFPs), with their objectives being primarily of a charitable nature.

Auditing and assurance regulators

There are a range of regulators relevant to the reporting and auditing or assurance obligations of small and medium entities at both the Commonwealth and State or Territory level. 

Commonwealth Regulators

The following oversee small to medium entities and their auditors.

Regulator   Oversight
  • Oversight of Financial Reporting and Audits or reviews of Corporations Act entities
  • Registration of registered company auditors and SMSF auditors
  •  Oversight of reporting by Charities 
Registered Organisation Commission 
  • Oversight of Registered Organisations being Unions and Employer Associations under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009
  • Registration of auditors to audit Unions and Employer Associations 
Clean Energy Regulator
  • Oversight of reporting and audits required under the Emissions Reduction Fund, the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting scheme and the Renewable Energy Target, which underpin the effectiveness and integrity of the schemes the Clean Energy Regulator administers, including registration and oversight of greenhouse and energy auditors

State-based regulators

1. Incorporated associations and state-based charities

Incorporated associations may be subject to audit or review. Some charities are not registered with the ACNC but hold a state-based fundraising licence and so are a state-based charity. Mostly these are regulated by the same regulator as the incorporated associations.

Jurisdiction  Regulator 
 Australian Capital Territory - Incorporated associations and NFPs  Access Canberra (Fair Trading)
 New South Wales - Incorporated associations and co-operatives  NSW Office of Fair Trading
 Northern Territory - Incorporated associations  Northern Territory Government 
 Queensland - Incorporated associations  The Office of Fair Trading (OFT)
 South Australia – Incorporated associations  Consumer and Business Services
 Tasmania - Incorporated associations  Consumer, Building and Occupational Services 
 Victoria - Incorporated associations and fundraising licensees  Consumer Affairs Victoria
 Western Australia - Incorporated associations and fundraising licensees  Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety

2. Real Estate Agents and Conveyancer' Trust Accounts

Trust accounts must be audited.

 State/Territory  Year end Auditor's Report Due  Regulator 
Australian Capital Territory – real estate, business and stock and station agents Allocated by Commissioner for Fair Trading Within three months after the end of the audit period Access Canberra (Fair Trading) 
New South Wales – real estate agents and conveyancers 30 Jun 30 Sept NSW Office of Fair Trading 
Northern Territory – licenced business agent, estate agent or conveyancer 30 Jun 30 Sept Department of the Attorney-General and Justice (Agents Licensing Board of the Northern Territory) 
Queensland – property agents, motor dealers and debt collectors The end of the month the licence expires Four months after year end The Department of Justice and Attorney-General (The Office of Fair Trading) 
South Australia – land agents Two months prior to licence expiry End of the month of licence expiry Consumer and Business Services
Tasmania – property agents 30 Jun 30 Sept Property Agents Board of Tasmania
Victoria – estate agents and conveyancers  30 Jun 30 Sept

Consumer Affairs Victoria
- Estate agents 
- Conveyancers

Western Australia – Real estate agents, business agents, and settlement agents and business settlement agents 31 Dec 31 Mar Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (Consumer Protection)

3. Legal Practitioners' Trust Accounts

Examinations by a registered examiner are required for legal practitioners' trust accounts.

State/Territory Year end Examiner's report due date Law Society resources
 Australian Capital Territory  31 Mar  31 May ACT Law Society
 New South Wales  31 Mar  31 May NSW Law Society
 Northern Territory   31 Mar  30 Jun NT Law Society


*Declaration of trust monies witnessed by a Justice of the Peace and lodgement of financial security due by 14 April

 31 Mar  31 May QLD Law Society
 South Australia  30 Jun  31 Oct Law Society of South Australia
 Tasmania  31 Dec  31 July Law Society of Tasmania
 Victoria  31 Mar  31 May The Victorian Legal Services Board and  Commissioner
 Western Australia  31 Mar  31 May Legal Practice Board of WA

 4. Queensland Building and Construction Commission

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) regulates the building industry and requires annual reporting (unaudited) for building and construction licensees and audits or reviews for changes of category of licence.

These FAQs summarise annual reporting and Minimum Financial Requirement (MFR) reporting and audit/review requirements for QBCC licensees.