Universities 2016

NSW universities are generally in a sound financial position and performed well financially over the past year. Operating margins have increased, combined debt to equity has fallen and universities capacity to meet their liabilities has improved, according to a report released today by the New South Wales Auditor-General, Margaret Crawford.

There are emerging financial pressures including uncertainty over the impact of Australian government reforms that need to be closely monitored and addressed.

Over the past two years, total operating expenditure of NSW universities increased more than total revenue. Universities must have strategies to ensure emerging financial pressures are closely monitored and addressed to ensure sustainability.

Quality of financial reporting remains high

Internal controls at NSW universities are appropriately designed and operating effectively to produce reliable and timely financial reports. All ten universities’ 2015 financial statements received unqualified audit opinions. 

Information Security remains a challenge

As reported in the previous two years, universities continue to face significant challenges in managing information security. These issues are exposing universities to security attacks, data integrity issues, fraud and identity theft. It is again disappointing that many of these issues were raised in 2014 and one third still remain unresolved.

Teaching and research quality improving

Overall NSW university world rankings have improved as reported by Times Higher Education world university rankings and QS world university rankings. The Australian Research Council completed its latest evaluation of Excellence in Research for Australia and found 91 per cent of NSW university research is at or exceeding world standards.

Further Information

Please contact Barry Underwood on 9275 7220 or 0403 073 664; email barry.underwood@audit.nsw.gov.au.