Date posted: 30/10/2023

CA ANZ launches new guide: Measuring social impact for better reporting

Support for members and others working with for-purpose organisations seeking to measure and report outcomes and impact.

In brief

  • Measuring and reporting outcomes and impact can enhance the effectiveness of for-purpose organisations
  • Accountants are well placed to extend their measurement and reporting skills to outcomes and impact
  • CA ANZ’s guide assists accountants adapt to social impact terminology, frameworks and models

For-purpose organisations, including not-for-profit organisations, charities and social enterprises, are faced with a unique challenge: how best to deploy limited resources to where they can most effectively make a difference in people’s lives.  There is broad consensus that measuring and reporting outcomes and impact contributes to meeting this challenge. It strengthens for-purpose organisations’ capacity to deliver fit-for-purpose services, bolsters their financial sustainability and facilitates deeper engagement with funders, clients, employees, volunteers and other stakeholders.

A high-quality outcomes and impact report, referred to in New Zealand accounting standards as a Statement of Service Performance, communicates an organisation’s value proposition, builds trust, increases engagement and forms a basis for advocacy to strengthen the sector.

Internally, an outcomes measurement and evaluation framework can contribute to better decision making. Outcomes-led organisations focus their strategy, goals and program design on achieving outcomes that align to their purpose. They measure whether they are achieving these outcomes through evidence-based evaluation with a view to continuous improvement.

Accountants already have measurement and reporting skills. However, applying these skills to outcomes and impact measurement, with its distinctive terminology and myriad frameworks within the context of the sector’s resourcing limitations can be daunting.

Guidance for the For-Purpose sector: Charities, Not-for-Profits and Social Enterprises

In response to requests from members for assistance, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) has published this guide. It provides a glossary, explanations, insights, practical examples and links to a range of in-depth resources to set accountants and the organisations they support on an impact measurement and reporting journey. Included in the guide are practical tips to maximise the benefits of impact measurement while avoiding common pitfalls.  Also included is a step by step process towards enhanced reporting, including an introduction to developing a theory of change, tools to assist in identifying outcomes, and tips on measurement and reporting, with worked examples.

Steps for effective social impact measurement and reporting

  1. Clarify why you’re reporting
  2. Map your stakeholders
  3. Identify outcomes
  4. Measure the outcomes
  5. Incorporate outcomes into meaningful reporting
  6. Enhance and expand your outcomes measurement and reporting

CA ANZ appreciates and acknowledges the members of the CA ANZ Charities & Not-for-Profit Sector Committee and others who contributed their expertise, insights and experiences to this guide’s development.

“As an accountant who has worked in and around the human services sector for 30 years, I know the difference accountants can make to successfully implementing outcomes measurement and reporting. Tools like this one are crucial to support their endeavours to enhance the effectiveness of the for-purpose sector.”
Professor David Gilchrist FCA, Director, Centre for Public Value, University of Western Australia and member of CA ANZ Charities & Not-for-Profit Sector Committee