NGO accounting and accountability: past, present and future

Carolyn J. Cordery, Ataur Belal, Ian Thomson

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


The main aim of this paper is to introduce key themes of NGO accounting and accountability and provide an overview of the papers included in this special issue. These papers deal with formal reporting issues related to the regulatory requirements as well as various alternative forms of informal accountability mechanisms which are more related with the core social purpose of the organisation. This special issue contributes not only to the scholarly debates on NGO accounting and accountability but also to the various issues facing policy makers and NGO practitioners. We have provided a robust research agenda for future researchers. HIGHLIGHTS We define the term ‘NGO’ for the purposes of this issue, concluding that NGOs’ social purposes and the constraint on distribution of surpluses are the two common characteristics. This definition encourages researchers to cast their net wider when considering contexts in which to undertake their NGO study. NGO accountability discharge is broadening to a wider range of stakeholders. There are many NGO accounting and accountability issues that warrant further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalAccounting Forum
Issue number1
Early online date16 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Accounting Forum on 16 April 2019, available online at:


  • accountability
  • Accounting
  • NGO
  • regulation
  • social purpose


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