Finance & Audit

Finance & Audit Advisory Committee

The Finance and Audit Advisory Committee (FAAC) continues to fulfill its terms of reference and make recommendations to the Finance and Infrastructure Standing Committee (FISC). 

The main areas of focus for the Advisory Committee are:

  • review the integrity of the financial reporting to the South Australian Commission for Catholic Schools (SACCS)
  • review quarterly the financial and accountability services provided by the Catholic Education Office (CEO) to SACCS
  • review the SACCS auditors activities, scope and independence
  • review SACCS accounting policies and principles.

Key topics reviewed in 2020:

  • quarterly SACCS and CEO financial results
  • 2020 SACCS and CEO Statutory accounts
  • oversee the audit process and auditor’s findings and conclusions
  • review the 2021 SACCS and CEO budgets.

CEO Finance Policy & Funding

CEO Policy and Funding is committed to supporting SACCS strategies and policies, working with stakeholders regarding funding and compliance requirements and managing financial matters for a number of key strategic projects and initiatives.


As previously reported in 2019, in response to the National School Resourcing Board’s Review of the socio-economic status (SES) scores, the Australian Government legislated a new methodology for calculating a school’s capacity to contribute (CTC) score. The new methodology, referred to as the Direct Measure of Income (DMI), began in 2020. CEO Finance worked closely with the government and with CESA schools to implement the changes.

Due to the provision of the DMI scores, which were received early-2020, CEO Finance conducted a review of CESA’s school Funding Mechanism for the current year and forward estimates. By mid-2020 recommendations were made for the parameters of the Funding Mechanism in readiness for the development of school and system budgets for 2021-2025.

Other significant accomplishments during 2020 associated with school funding included:

  • administering a change to the Approved Authority for three existing Catholic Schools in South Australia
  • developing and administering new funding arrangements for Catholic Schools in South Australia that are separately governed, however for which SACCS is the Approved Authority
  • preparing a submission for the National Schools Resourcing Board as part of their review of the school location loading and school size loading
  • undertaking an internal review of the CESA Funding Mechanism’s school size loading as part of the review of CESA school primary fees
  • implementing the Commonwealth Government Choice and Affordability Fund which commenced in 2020
  • negotiating and finalising terms for the new State Government grant for Regional Catholic Schools bus transport services
  • supported SACCS strategies through financial modelling, tender assessment and operational matters for the
    • Northern Adelaide Education and Community Services Village
    • campus of Xavier College at Two Wells
    • St Francis of Assisi College in Renmark
    • Western Technical College in Rosewater.

Corporate Finance

During 2020 the CEO’s Corporate Finance team concentrated on:

  • managing the CEO finances and statutory reporting
  • receipting and distributing SACCS funding from both the Commonwealth and State governments
  • organising and preparing SACCS and CEO annual budgets and 5-year plans
  • designing a tailored suite of management and statutory reports
  • developing and implementing a corporate financial dashboard.

School Finance

The School Finance team plays an integral role in the ongoing financial support and operations of our schools.

This support includes financial systems support (Civica Finance), accounting and financial procedural support, assistance with annual budgets and long-term financial plans, loan applications, the provision of relief, the provision of specialised financial assistance and training to school.

In addition to the operational support, the school Finance Team undertakes or assists with important strategic initiatives. During 2020 these included:


The School Finance team led this important initiative. The project commenced with high-level analysis that determined the viability of undertaking a systemic reduction in primary school fees. The analysis identified improvements to the funding-model that were subsequently adopted.

Individual analysis and assessments were prepared for each primary school. These acted as the foundation for the discussion held with each individual school. Pleasingly

  • all 68 primary schools introduced lower fees for the 2021 academic year (three of these commenced in 2020).
  • all schools introduced lower income fee structures designed to improve the affordability for those with lower incomes. A 40% reduction off the total charge has become standard, with minor variations endorsed by the CEO.

Fee Processes and Procedures, Debt

In 2019 the organisation commenced a review of its fee policies and procedures. The existing policy was dated 2006 and had at its core certain tenets requiring review. Following wide consultation that included finance representatives, principals, boards, parishes, and the Diocese; new policies and procedures were released in July and November 2020.

Aspect of this work will continue in 2021, including reviewing the delegations of authority, defining, documenting and ultimately implementing standardised fee collection processes.