• Getting to grips with Australia‚Äôs changing not-for-profit sector

    BDO and Cancer Council Queensland.

Case Study:

Cancer Council Queensland

21 July 2016

Chris Skelton , Consultant, Not-For-Profit |

BDO's clients come from a diverse range of sectors and industries, and the firm's ongoing commitment to not-for-profit organisations is a key part of our offering. It's important to acknowledge the unique concerns and challenges faced by those that operate under the not-for-profit banner, and we have relationships that reaffirm our ability to adapt to the concerns facing our clients in this sector.

One of these relationships is with Cancer Council Queensland, a community-based not-for-profit working towards a cancer free future for all Queenslanders. Recently, CEO of Cancer Council Queensland Professor Jeff Dunn AO spoke to BDO about what the organisation's goals are, and how a relationship with BDO has guided them to success over the past decades.

Getting to grips with Australia's changing not-for-profit sector

Just like in the private and public sectors, not-for-profit organisations are facing their fair share of change, and those who don't have the capabilities or resources to evolve create extra risk. By partnering with a firm such as BDO, organisations receive guidance that can help them plan for and manage changing market conditions.

As Jeff explains, one of the most significant challenges for the Cancer Council Queensland is to stand out and attract volunteers and supporters in an ever-growing industry.

"I think it's important to understand the scale of it," Jeff began. "There are over 58,000 registered charities in Australia, with a turnover of around $45 billion, or five per cent of GDP."

"This is a major sector in our community, generating significant employment and contributing to economic growth."

With almost 60,000 competitors, it's important that Cancer Council Queensland has access to the knowledge and resources that attract not just people willing to donate, but experienced volunteers as well.

"For Cancer Council Queensland, specifically, our challenges include increasing demand for our services and an urgent ongoing need for Queensland-based research, to find better ways of treating and beating this devastating disease.” Jeff said.

Meeting compliance concerns with BDO

Consumers are becoming much more savvy with the way they choose the organisations they connect with. While this is not unique to the not-for-profit sector, it is a trend that Jeff notes is beginning to affect the way the organisation operates.

"There is a community desire these days for transparency, for ensuring that we're compliant with regulations and for good governance," Jeff said. "Our community, our supporters and our volunteers know that Cancer Council Queensland is efficient, well-governed and is spending its money wisely.”

Growing a relationship over more than 50 years

Longevity is one of the key indicators of any successful business relationship. Cancer Council Queensland has been engaging with a range of BDO's services since its inception in 1961, marking 55 years of collaboration and support. During this time, the organisation has relied on the full range of BDO's service, and can trust the various teams to always deliver to high standard.

"Routinely, we rely on BDO for our auditing advice and practice, for consulting for IT and risk management, for running internal audits, and in fact for all manner of accounting and management-related activity," Jeff attests.

Identifying the BDO difference

Offering financial and management advice is one thing, but doing it in an engaging and consistent manner over such a long period is a testament to BDO's commitment to the not-for-profit sector and the relationships it has built with these businesses. The most important thing to Jeff is that it's not a case of going through the motions when BDO team members visit the business.

"BDO’s team want to know about our business, they care about what we do, they believe in our mission," Jeff began. "They're coming in here to do what's required by statute and regulation, sure, but we always get that feeling that it's more than just a job."

"Working with BDO is like working with part of our extended family," he continued. "They are also setting about their daily tasks to ensure that we are in the best position to deliver on our mission – serving all Queenslanders, affected by all cancers.”

To find out more about how BDO's longstanding commitment to the not-for-profit sector can benefit your organisation, get in touch with the team today.