Steer Incorporated: mini charity review for donors

The charity's Annual Information Statement current at the time of this review has since been superseded.  Please contact me if you are facing a significant decision with this charity and an updated review would be of help.

Mini charity review of Steer Incorporated (Steer) as an organisation that seeks donations. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

Is Steer registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • Other registrations:
    • As a public company, a company limited by guarantee (despite the ‘Incorporated’ in its name).
    • Not registered for fundraising in any of the seven states that have a fundraising licence regime. This includes the five states in which Steer operates (or eight if we go by their AIS 2015).
      • The law in this area is not straightforward – is an internet invitation ‘fundraising’ for instance? – and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.

What do they do?

  • You place – either give or sell – income-earning assets with them; they manage these assets and distribute the income, tax-free, to missions.

Do they share the Gospel?

  • No

What impact are they making?

  • Nothing found.

What do they spend outside the costs directly incurred in delivering the above impact, that is, on administration?

  • If ‘direct’ is defined as ‘Gifts to missionary organisations’, then 15%.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • NA.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged five and a half months after their year-end).
    • But if you are considering a large donation, I would ask for more up-to-date financial information – the accounts are for a year end that is now five months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2015: Not quite. There are no outcomes given, and a number of the figures in the Income Statement do not match those in the Financial Report.
  • Financial Report 2015: No
    • There is no audit report.
    • The directors have decided that Steer, an organisation that received $4.76 m in revenue, including $2.42 m in gifts, operates in five (maybe eight) states, and appeals publicly for donations, has no users, either present or prospective, who rely on the financial statements to make decisions. This means that they can produce special purpose financial statements, statements that do not have to comply with all the Accounting Standards.
    • Two of the programs for donors are the leasing, at a peppercorn rental, of agricultural land and rental properties.
      • There is no split between the two types of properties.
      • There is no identification of these leases as either operating or finance.
      • There is no policy note on accounting for the rental payment – is it just the peppercorn amount?
    • Another of the programs is ‘Livestock and wool’. This program results in Steer taking ownership, either for no consideration or some, presumably nominal, consideration, of livestock.
      • These livestock are not included in the accounts. Steer says that the geographical location and diversity of these assets mean that valuation is not worth the effort. However, while this may make valuation subsequent to purchase difficult, it does not preclude valuation at the time of acquisition. The value, and if not the value then the cost, would be known at that time.
        • Even if it is still decided not enter figures for the livestock holding, some indication of the type and number of animals would allow at least a rough estimate by a reader.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Last year’s surplus of 7% of revenue was increased to 19% this year, largely due to an increase in ‘Gifts’.
  • Due to the practice of only seeking at call loans, their working capital is negative (that is, current (short-term) liabilities slightly exceed current (shot-term) assets.) There is no consequential comment on the going concern assumption.
  • No obvious concerns about the longer term structure.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • NA. (No audit report.)

If a charity, is their information on the ACNC Register complete?

  • Apart from blanks under ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’, yes.

What choices do you have in how your donation is used?

  • They have six programs:
    • You make an interest-free loan to them.
    • Your family or discretionary trusts makes a distribution to them
    • You rent your investment property to them for $1 p.a.
    • You either give or sell your livestock to them. (They pay you to raise it.)
    • You lease your farm land to Steer at a peppercorn rental. It is then share farmed.
    • ‘Bequests’

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • The five men shown here include three of the four directors.
    • Although Terence Crook is included in the list on the ACNC Register, he is not a responsible person.

To whom are they accountable?

  • As they claim on the website, they are, apart from being accountable to the ACNC, accountable as a Member of Missions Interlink.
    • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, they did not respond.

 

 

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