Running a Coop

BCCM’s resources and services can guide you through the key steps involved in running a co-operative or mutual, with particular guidance for consumer, producer and enterprise co-operatives. Farmers, fishers and foresters can visit Co-operative Farming for information and resources to support them in setting up or growing a co-operative.

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Establish good corporate governance

Good governance is essential for a co-operative to achieve its objectives. There is not a single model or definition for good governance. In essence, good governance is a series of principles that a co-operative would have in place to seek to ensure it achieves its objectives and remains a viable organisation. The BCCM has worked with industry representatives to develop Australia’s first set of governance principles uniquely contextualised for CMEs. Download a copy of the CME Governance Principles. The International Co-operative Alliance is the global steward for the seven co-operative principles and provides guidance notes on applying the principles. Find more about governance on Get Mutual.

Measurement and reporting performance

Measuring non-financial outcomes

To remain competitive and demonstrate the comparative advantage which co-operatives and mutuals deliver, it is important to measure the economic, social and environmental outcomes achieved and the value created. By measuring the outcomes and value created, co-operatives and mutuals will be better placed to demonstrate their impact to funders, members, clients and other key stakeholders as well as use this information to improve their financial performance. BCCM has partnered with Monash University to develop a methodology for measuring the total value created by CMEs. Find out more about the MVM (Mutual Value Measurement) Project. Find various links on Get Mutual including Run a Co-op.

Financial reporting

The extent of financial reporting will depend on the size of your co-operative. The Co-operative National Law covers the following aspects:

  • what records must be kept
  • financial reports
  • who can audit financial statements
  • what type of information must be reported
  • how the reports are provided to members
  • what needs to be lodged with fair trading.

To help with this, find various links on Get Mutual including Raise Finance and Run a Co-op. BCCM was asked by the Australian Accounting Standards Board to produce these helpful FAQs on financial reporting for CMEs. The BCCM’s Notes for smaller mutuals and co-ops also provides links to resources on financial reporting obligations.

Read the BCCM’s Proposed Solutions to the Problem of AASB 132. This 2016 report examines: “the current accounting standards, adopted in 2005, discriminate against co-operative enterprises by putting them at a disadvantage compared to IOCs when it comes to seeking external finance. This is due to accounting standard AASB 132 classifying co-operative share capital as debt on the co-operative balance sheet, whereas the share capital of an IOC is treated as an asset.”

Services and Associates

Whether you are a long-standing mutual enterprise or a local community considering forming a co-operative, the BCCM can help you get appropriate advice. We assist governments, organisations and communities to set up and run effective co-operative and mutual organisations.

BCCM also works with a range of trusted industry associates who understand the co-operative and mutual model of enterprise. They have expertise in:

  • Co-operative development
  • Legal and governance
  • Membership engagement
  • Advocacy and lobbying

For more, see our Support and Advice page.

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