This is a review in the series ‘Members of Missions Interlink,’ Missions Interlink being ‘the Australian network for global mission’.
Members ‘desire to be accountable and to walk in integrity before God and a watching world.’ This review is part of that ‘watching world.’
Given its name, ‘Connect Ministry Training’ is most likely a charity. Charities can register with the charity regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), and because of the benefits, the majority do.
Mission Interlink assumes that applicants for membership will have registered:
But a search on the ACNC Register for ‘Connect Ministry Training’ gives no result. Perhaps it’s not even an organisation? A search on the ABN Register shows this to be the case: it is a business name owned by Crossview Australia Limited.
‘Crossview Australia Limited’ is a registered charity (Crossview).
This charity has been a Member of Missions Interlink since at least 2016 when we first reviewed them. Our latest review was in 2018.
So, it is just the name in the Missions Interlink membership list that has changed. The member is still Crossview Australia Limited.
The name in the membership list links to a website in the name ‘Connect Cross-Cultural Ministry Training,’ (that is, with the addition of ‘Cross-Cultural’). Although there is no request for donations on this site, there is on the Crossview site.
The charity regulator, the ACNC, in their article, Donating to Legitimate Charities, gives “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”:
- Check the charity’s name.
- Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation.
- Be careful of online requests for donations.
- No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not a legitimate one, and
- Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.
- In addition to Connect Ministry Training as a business name (see above), Crossview have three others registered: Crossview, CVA Ventures, and Crossview Foundation.
- A fundraising licence in NSW (Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2021).
- But no explanation for the lack of one in the other states that have a licensing regime.
There is nothing on Crossview’s website to suggest that they use either volunteer or professional fundraisers door-to-door or in the street.
The web address begins with a closed padlock symbol, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above]. However, there is still, four years later, nothing on the page where you enter your information about the security of that information.
Crossview’s ACNC Register entry expresses it this way:
Do they share the Gospel?
They collect money for missionaries, but their accounts imply that these missionaries don’t belong to Crossview. So, based on that, no, they don’t share the gospel.
The account of how a charity uses donations is the Financial Report on the ACNC Register.
The directors signed a declaration [Directors’ Declaration, Financial Report 2021] that
For this to be true, the accounts must show a ‘true and fair view.’ They do not:
- They have either misclassified investment properties as property plant and equipment ($21.17 million) or they have incorrectly included a $7.60 million windfall gain from property valuation in income.
- They have included the windfall gain in an Asset Revaluation Reserve.
- There is no breakup of the $21.17 million figure for ‘Freehold land and buildings at fair value’.
- There is no explanation for how this large holding relates to their church planting (see above).
- There is no Accumulated Depreciation shown in the Statement of Financial Position. (Were buildings, if property rather than investments, depreciated?)
- The is no explanation for what appears to be amounts received on behalf of missionaries (that is, not revenue). And how this relates to the fact that they do not appear to send missionaries themselves.
- The Directors’ Declaration is unsigned.
- The cover of the Financial Report gives the impression that the report belongs to the auditor, Macquarie Business Accountants, not Crossview. Inappropriate.
- For there to be compliance with the ACNC Act, the directors must have chosen the correct type of financial statements. We don’t believe that they have.
The directors chose special purpose financial statements over general purpose. These are only relevant where all the users can ring Crossview’s office and command the preparation of financial statements tailored to their needs. If they can’t do this, then the users are dependent on a regulator to specify the form and content of the financial statements. As these users, you are then ‘potentially interested in the information provided in general purpose financial reports’.
The requirements of special purpose statements are less onerous than those of general purpose. The two main omissions are consolidated financial statements and the disclosure of related parties and their transactions. (Crossview has a related party, AccessTruth Limited, which may make consolidation applicable.)
With multiple properties valued at $21,17 million, revenue of $687K from multiple sources, professional management, 13 staff (AIS 2021), the receipt of government grants, and membership open to the public, the choice of special purpose statements is highly questionable. Which means the directors have made a highly questionable declaration.
The auditor, Chen Gaul, Chartered Accountant, of Macquarie Business Accountants, agreed with the directors’ choice. This again is a highly questionable decision, both because of the argument given above, and this opinion of his professional body:
The auditor gave a ‘clean’ conclusion on the Financial Report. A ‘conclusion’ rather than an opinion because it was a review rather than an audit. (This is permitted for a ‘Medium’ charity like Crossview.)
Given the issues identified above, this opinion is highly questionable.
Who was responsible?
There’s no Director’s Report (although common, it is not compulsory), so we don’t know who approved the accounts.
Brad Edwardes – Crossview staff
Matthew Hillier (left between 26 September 2022 and now)
Crossview only has 14 members [Financial Report 2021], and with the
five four directors being required to be members, there’s limited accountability here.
The use of your donations
If you are still willing to consider donating to Crossview, here is how donations were used (with last year in the second column):
Crossview invites neither feedback nor, other than about privacy, complaints.
We sent Crossview a draft of the review. They….did not respond.
- https://missionsinterlink.org.au/about/ ↑
- At the pre-publication check this website was blocked by Malwarebytes due to a trojan. ↑
- A section in the article, Donating and Volunteering:
- Focus on the nature of the charity’s work, its beneficiaries and the impact the charity is having in the community.
- Is it clear what the charity is trying to achieve and how its activities work towards its objectives?
- Would you like to spend your money, or time if volunteering, to support these objectives?
- Is the charity being transparent about its activities?
- From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au. ↑
- Discovered through an incidental reference in Note 7 of the Financial Report 2021. ↑
- Enhancing Not-for-Profit Annual and Financial Reporting, March 2013, accessed from their website March 2020. ↑
- See his fourth paragraph for what he did to reach his conclusion. (Even if it were the more rigorous audit rather than a review, you still must be careful to take the right amount of comfort from a ‘clean opinion’. See here and here.) ↑
- The ACNC has previously – the Fact Sheet is no longer on the site – explained impact this way: “Every charity has a mission that is associated with producing a public benefit. As this mission is pursued, the changes produced in individuals and their communities can be referred to as the charity’s ‘impact.’ If you are donating to a charity, you may wish to make sure that your donation is creating the greatest impact possible.’ There is no reason why this wouldn’t still be their view. ↑