Social enterprises around the country are about to enter a new era with the release of a revolutionary, new online reporting tool that balances both financial reporting requirements with social outcomes reporting.
The tool, set to overhaul online reporting capabilities, is the result of a research project from the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University of Technology (CSI Swinburne) and is part of the Bankwest Social Impact Series. It follows A Year in the Life of Western Australia’s Social Enterprises - which found that due to the typically small nature of social enterprises, many entrepreneurs found it challenging to dedicate adequate resources for effective reporting on their financial and social performance.
The Social Enterprise Reporting Tool (SERT), released online today and available to all social enterprises, will help them balance their usual reporting requirements with the need to report on social outcomes, and is the first of its kind in Australia.
Effective reporting matters because it can help social enterprises to make better use of their data internally to inform business decisions, as well as strengthening their external communications in activities such as contract tenders, grant applications, or accessing investment or other finance.
Dr Chris Mason, SERT project lead and Senior Research Fellow at CSI Swinburne said the need for the new tool was very clear.
“The research shows many social enterprises are struggling to meet the balance of their reporting requirements, in part because their mission is two-fold: financial sustainability and social impact.”
“Having identified the need for a streamlined data-collection and reporting system, we’re excited to launch the prototype of the Social Enterprise Reporting Tool so that social enterprises can access much-needed, support for their specific reporting processes.”
Building a resilient social enterprise can be challenging work. There is a need to balance usual reporting requirements of running a business with the ability to monitor and report on the social outcomes they generate.
The tool has been favourably received by social entrepreneurs who have been involved in its testing.
Founder and director of Befriend, Nick Maisey, said that he was excited by the accessibility and application of SERT.
“Aside from the tool being a useful way of pooling together our financial reporting with our social impact measurement, embedding its use into our operations will act as a useful prompt to reflect on our organisation’s progress
“Having a structured approach to strengthen our ability to track changes in both social impact and financial health over time is a vital step in helping social enterprises flourish,” said Nick.
For more information contact:
Centre for Social Impact, National Communications Manager
(02) 8936 0915 / 0407075307