Financial Statements Better Practice Guide

This Department of Finance Financial Statements Better Practice Guide (BPG) replaces the withdrawn Australian National Audit Office Public Sector Financial Statements Better Practice Guide. The BPG focuses on financial statements preparation, as distinct from accounting treatments or disclosures.

The preparation of financial statements is a complex annual project that requires a significant investment of time and resources throughout the year. The BPG aims to support entities to efficiently prepare high-quality financial statements and to continuously improve financial statements practices and processes.

This BPG has been developed for use by all Commonwealth entities and companies. The primary audience of the BPG is financial reporting staff. However, some information is likely to also be of interest to Chief Financial Officers (CFO) and/or audit committees.

Index of BPG Resources 

Resource NameResource DescriptionBPG Ref.
BPG resources map [PDF document 569KB] This diagram sets out a suggested order and timing for the use of BPG resources.  1.1.7
Relevant Legislation and Standards [DOCX document 57KB] Details the main legislation, policies and guidelines relevant to the preparation of financial statements by public sector entities and a brief summary of each of these elements.  2.1.6
Example: Financial statements risk analysis [DOCX document 41KB] This risk analysis process for financial statements can assist management to prioritise the resources allocated to the preparation of the financial statements.  3.4.3
Example: Risk framework for financial statements [DOCX document 255KB] This framework sets out the risk and assurance profile for the financial statements process for an entity.  3.4.3
Checklist: Machinery of Government restructures [DOCX document 29KB] A checklist considering a range of issues relating to the implementing MoG changes in relation to an entity’s financial statements.   3.6.6
Template: Lessons learned tracking sheet  [XLSX document 31KB]  This template assists in the tracking of lessons learned from previous years and implementing related proposed solutions.  4.2.6
Template: Schedule of activities [XLSX document 22KB] A schedule of activities outlines the activities to be completed in the preparation process.   4.2.6
Example: Financial statements reporting timetable [DOCX document 26KB] A summary timetable to set out key financial reporting dates in a form that are easily consumable by key stakeholders.  4.2.6
Example: Internal consistency checks [XLSX  document 23KB] This spreadsheet provides examples of the consistency checks that agencies should consider including.  4.7.5
Checklist: Developing a schedule of activities  [DOCX document 32KB] A list of possible critical events and management issues to consider when planning.   5.1.5
Example: Financial statements project plan [XLSX  document 28KB] A detailed project plan outlines the activities to be completed in the preparation process, including the timeline and responsibility for the completion of each activity and its status.  5.1.5
Example: Team and business area process guide [DOCX document 35KB] Example instructions for a team and business process.  5.1.5
Example: Materiality assessment position paper [DOCX document 34KB] This paper is useful for documenting your entities decisions in regards to materiality.  7.2.9
Example: Risk assessment to bring items forward [DOCX document30KB] This risk assessment demonstrates a risk that could be mitigated by inclusion in a hard or soft close.   7.3.4
Template: Position Paper [DOCX document 30KB] This template provides a useful structure/guidance to assist in the development of an Accounting Paper.  7.7.2
Template: Adjustments schedule [XLSX  document 18KB] This schedule allows an agency to keeps a record of all adjustments proposed/ made and to enable the changes to be considered and actioned as a whole.  9.1.3
Template: Working papers cover sheet [XLSX  document 26KB] This template can be used to assist in providing a reference to all relevant documents that support each financial statements item or note.  9.2.3
Example: Requirements for supporting documentation [DOCX document 32KB] The example documentation requirements outline the types of supporting evidence required for selected financial statements items.  9.3.3
Example: Form for business area certification [DOCX document 33KB An example of a management sign-off.  9.4.5
Example: Financial statement assertions [DOCX document 26KB] An example of financial statement assertions, adapted from the Australian Auditing Standard ASA 315.  9.4.5
Checklist: CFO Assurance [DOCX document 31KB] A checklist considering a range of issues relating to the preparation of an entity’s financial statements and may assist the CFO in discharging his/her responsibilities.  9.4.5
Checklist: Finance team assurance processes for audit committee 
[DOCX document 34KB]
This checklist is an example of what a Finance Area/CFO might provide to the Audit Committee to provide assurance in regards to the financial statements process.  9.5.2
Template: Chief Financial Officer's report [DOCX document 26KB] Template for the CFO’s report to the audit committee and accountable authority to provide assurance.  9.6.3
Template: Audit assistance package [DOCX document 29KB]  Provides an example template that sets out details on an audit.   10.2.5
Template: Register of audit requests [XLSX  document 209KB] Provides an example template for tracking audit requests.  10.2.5
Example: Audit protocols [DOCX document 29KB] Is an example of a formal communication plan with the auditors.  10.2.5
Template: Requesting accounting advice from Finance [DOCX document 25KB] Template that sets out the key information to include in your request for advice from Finance.  13.1.2

Last updated: 08 March 2019