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Archived: Transform4Life Inc: mini charity review

Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.  Use the ‘Search charity names’ box to see if there is a later review.  If the latest review has a message like this, you are welcome to make your case for an updated review via email to ted@businessbythebook.com.au.

Mini charity review of Transform4Life Inc. (T4L) as an organisation that has an online giving facility, and that is a member of Missions Interlink[1]. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

For last year’s review, see here.

Are T4L responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, on 27 June 2017, they…did not respond.  (Additional information about the Financial Report was added after this.)

Is it registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • Other registrations:
    • As a Victorian incorporated association (No. A0056696F).
    • T4L is not registered for GST. This is not an issue until its revenue reaches $150K.
    • It says that ‘We commonly use the abbreviations Transform4Life and T4L in referring to the association.’ [Financial Report, below]. This is done without the required business name registrations.
    • T4L operates in Australia, according to the ACNC Register, in Victoria only. It therefore does not need an ARBN registration to carry on business interstate.
    • It may need a fundraising licence in Victoria though. It doesn’t have one.

What does T4L do?

  • The ALIVE program and various workshops.
    • For the mission and strategy behind these activities, see here.
  • T4L operates overseas in four countries (the ACNC Register). Half its grants went overseas.
  • What happened in 2016? There are only two newsletters, both for 2017, and the Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2016 doesn’t help much:
    • By extending the understanding of the way people can be helped to deal with trauma, and by showing communities the way to support people who are impacted by trauma.

Do they share the Gospel [2]?

  • No.

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing found.

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

  • The expenses are not classified to allow this calculation.
    • $18K grants were made.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Yes

Is their online giving secure?

  • PayPal is used, so yes.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (four months after their year-end).

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: Not quite
    • The reported accounting method, cash, does not match the financial statements.
    • The ‘activities’ are a poor description of what happened in 2016.
    • No outcomes are reported.
  • Financial Report 2016: Yes
    • Although not required to submit a financial report to the ACNC (because of its size), T4L chose to submit one voluntarily. The ACNC does require such a submission to comply with its requirements.
    • As a member of Missions Interlink, T4L is required to ‘have available for its members and supporters a clear and appropriate financial statement which has been approved by its auditor [Standards Statement, 4.1].
    • If ‘appropriate’ has any reference to the standards of professional accountants, the Report is materially deficient:
      • The Advisory Board Members (sic) Declaration is missing some essential statements.
      • The Statement of Income and Expenditure uses a long out-of-date format (and therefore is missing a section).
      • There is no Statement of Changes in Equity.
      • The Notes are missing most of those normally included.
      • The audit report is materially different from what is required by the Australian Auditing Standards. For instance,
        • The scope of his audit does not match what T4L have included in their Report.
        • He contradicts himself on whether he evaluated the appropriateness of the accounting policies chosen by the directors.
        • He has omitted the paragraph that is required because T4L has produced special purpose financial statements.
        • He signed before the directors signed their declaration.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • With the limitations of the Report in mind (see above) –
    • Using the cash basis of accounting – not accrual accounting – the surplus was measured as $2K, and the amount held at the end of the period $16K.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, Brian Bay, a ‘registered company auditor’ and Fellow of the IPA, gave a ‘clean’ opinion. However, because of the deficiencies of the Report (see above) you are entitled to question how much reliance you should place on this opinion.

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

  • Yes
    • “Phone” and “Website” are blank, but neither are compulsory.

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

  • None

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the website.
  • Per the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’):
    • Susan Coates
      • Is it this Susan Coates?
    • David Dyer
    • Syam Kumpati
    • Chathanattu Philip (round the wrong way?)
    • Ian Pugsley
    • Shwu Chin Woo

To whom is T4L accountable?

  • Not claimed on the website, but it is a member of Missions Interlink.
  • As a registered charity, it is accountable to the ACNC.
  • Also to the New South regulator of incorporated associations.



  1. Missions Interlink is an organisation that, among other things, gives members income tax exemption even though they do not meet the “in Australia” test and do not have deductible gift recipient status. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)
  2. Good living and social concern are important [to the cause of evangelism], but they are not uniquely Christian graces…I’ve met a lot of fine Hindus, Muslims and atheists. Just living the life is not going to bring someone to Christ. There is much more to it than that. We must help people, certainly, but we must also share with them why we are motivated to do so. We must stand against injustice, poverty and need, but we must at the same time point to the One who brings justice and who can meet the deepest need. Until they know our reasons, how can they come to know our Lord? [Dan Armstrong, the Fifth Gospel: The Gospel According to You, Anzea Books, pp. 13-14.