Frequently asked questions...


What is SERT?

SERT is a web-tool designed to help social enterprises keep track of their financial and non-financial reporting. SERT was developed as a result of a five-year research project, run by three Australia Universities. It has been built for, and with input from, social enterprises from the ground up.

Who is SERT for?

SERT was designed for, and with, social enterprises. It is ideally suited for start-up and small-sized businesses. Many larger social enterprises will likely already have invested in their own reporting systems, and so it is unlikely that SERT will be as useful – although you are welcome to try! It is developed with Australian-based social enterprises in mind.

How do I use SERT?

First, you have to register for a new account. Once this step has been completed, you log-in using your username and password. This will take you to the account page, and you will see a link to complete the SERT survey. Once completed, our system will create a link for you to access your Statement of Social Performance. When you’ve finished, remember to click Log-Out.

I’m based outside of Australia; can I still use SERT?

Yes, you can. Although please note, the SERT survey was created with specific Australian policy and regulations in mind. This means that some questions might not apply to social enterprise registered and / or operating in other jurisdictions.

What are the benefits to my business from using SERT?

By making SERT free to use, we are addressing one of the key factors that stop small businesses engaging in regular, systematic reporting.
In the survey, you’ll notice that we’ve included several questions to prompt thinking about issues that relate to a sustainable business, e.g. governance, strategic planning.
We want SERT to be more than a reporting tool. We want SERT to ask you the questions that will help you develop your business. By completing these questions, we hope it will prompt deeper thinking about your business structure, its governance arrangements and how you aim to meet you goals over the medium to long-term.
In this way, we also hope SERT can further develop capacity among the social enterprises who use it!

Do I need to create an account to use the site?

Yes, you need to do this to ensure you can use the survey, and the system can keep your data organised and safe!

Can I contact someone for help with using the site?

Yes, feel free to drop the team a line at sert@swin.edu.au

I’ve got an amazing idea I’d like to suggest; how do I tell you about it?

Great! Email us, or get in touch via the Contact Us page.

How much does it cost to use SERT?

SERT is free to use…Hooray!

Your information

How do I enter my data into SERT?

You complete the Registration and Log-In steps, and then click on ‘Complete SERT Survey’. Then you need to answer a number of questions about your organisation, its financial and non-financial data, and social impact descriptions too. You’ll also have the option of completing further sections about your governance structure, social and business strategy and an expertise audit.

What if my SERT survey is incomplete?

If you don’t want to complete your SERT form, and want to come back another time to do so, you can click ‘Save and Continue Later’ in the SERT survey. When you next log-in, you click on Return to my SERT form. A link will then be sent to the email address you registered with SERT.

Does the SSP summarise all data in the survey?

No – only the financial, non-financial and basic social impact data. Any other data you keep is for you to keep track of next time you complete SERT – being able to trace your strategy over time can be a very productive process!

How do you use my data?

We collect your data to understand trends among how social enterprises reporting, for scholarly research purposes (i.e. writing academic papers). We never use identifiable data – all data is aggregated so it is impossible for anyone to be identified from our analysis.

Can I use SERT for multiple financial / reporting years?

Yes, to do this you need to complete separate SERT forms for each financial/reporting year. The completed forms will then be accessible via your Summary page.

What data do I need to get hold of?

You’ll need to spend a little time preparing to answer the SERT survey and make the process as efficient as possible. We provide a list of possible items you need here.

How secure is my data?

Your data is very important to you, and to us too. With that in mind we have made our site, server and database very secure and reliable. All SERT data is stored on secure servers based in Australia. Your data never leaves Australia and is kept in accordance with strict data ethics guidelines followed by Australian Universities.

How long is my data stored for?

In line with our University ethics approval, we can keep your data for up to seven years. However, if you rather we didn’t, we can safely and securely erase it from our servers. Just drop us a line at sert@swin.edu.au and we’ll do the rest.

Who else has access to my data?

No-one. We do not provide any access to any data obtained and stored through SERT to any third-party, anywhere. We only use your aggregated data for understanding trends in the data, and for academic publications.

How do I delete my data / user account?

Drop us a line at sert@swin.edu.au, and we’ll take care of it. We’d be sorry to see you go!

Statement of Social Performance

What is the Statement of Social Performance (SSP)?

The SSP was developed as an idea in a research paper written by Belinda Luke. We loved the simple but important message that the SSP delivers, so we asked Belinda’s permission to apply her idea (and intellectual property) to our own research to bring it to life.

How will I use the SSP?

The beauty of the SSP lies in its simplicity. Our research has shown that many important audiences want to know different things about social enterprises, especially different aspects of performance. The SSP speaks to many audiences at once, including potential funders, beneficiaries, and key partners.

Can I edit and export my SSPs?

You can log back in to your account and access your SERT form to complete it and submit to receive your SSP. You can’t yet edit your SSPs, although this is a functionality we are looking into for later in 2018.

Can I perform any other analytics using SERT?

Not yet – but we’re working on some exciting data visualisation options that we think you’ll really like and find extremely useful. More to come on this later in 2018.


I can’t remember my username or password…

Click on the ‘Forgot Username/Password’ link on the log-in page. An email will be sent to you to confirm your identity and you can you then follow the link to reset your password.