Discussion paper

Transition to new accounting standards - effect on research income higher education research data collection requirements: consultation paper

Research Research management Higher education Data collection platforms Australia
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On 1 January 2019, higher education providers (HEPs) will be required to adopt new accounting standards. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has warned that AASB 15, together with AASB 16 and AASB 9, represent the most significant change to financial reporting in the past 13 years . We understand that AASB 15, the primary accounting standard for research income, is likely to impact the approach HEPs take to complete their Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) Returns. The Department of Education and Training (the department) uses research and development (R&D) income data it collects via HERDC returns in conjunction with data collected by other mechanisms to calculate allocations for the Research Support Program and the Research Training Program.

Requirements for HERDC Research Income data for 2017 are set out in Section 4 of the 2018 HERDC Specifications.

In respect to the HERDC, these accounting changes will impact 2019 R&D data, requirements for which will be set out in the 2020 HERDC Specifications. We are taking the opportunity well ahead of this time to consult with the sector on AASB changes in relation to the HERDC as part of the 2019 HERDC Specifications consultation process. We are aware that HEPs have started the process of making changes to their systems, processes and controls to implement the new standards to existing and new grants and agreements. To reduce the significant administrative burden brought about by these changes, where possible, the department is working with the sector to develop practical guidelines for the sector to approach completing HERDC returns. We aim to inform the sector of requirements that may impact any potential recoding of 2019 R&D data in a timely fashion.

The feedback you provide through this consultation process will inform the development of the final 2019 HERDC Specifications for the collection of 2018 data, and will flag ahead of time the changes that commence in the 2020 HERDC Specifications for the collection of 2019 data.


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