Restricted Funding: Restricting Development?

Brendan Clerkin, Martin Quinn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

This paper examines, from a management accounting perspective, the efficacy of thedominant ‘restricted’ funding structure in the international development NGO sector interms of overall sector effectiveness, and whether it is the most appropriate means offunding NGOs. The objective is to encourage theoretical debate around the tensionshighlighted between external accountability for funding and overall value-for-moneydelivered by individual development NGOs and the wider international developmentsector. From unique access to three internationally-recognised major NGOs, our casestudies reveal management accounting as broadly homogenous, with some nuanceddistinctions both within and between the cases; but the scope of managementaccounting emerges as relatively limited. This is despite the NGOs utilising complexaccounting software, employing qualified accounting staff, and having a large annualincome. Using the broad principles of systems theory to frame our approach, this papersuggests that due to the ‘restricted’ nature of funding awarded to NGOs by institutionaldonors, accounting is dominated by external accountability reporting to the detriment ofmanagement accounting. This relatively novel data on management accountingpractices at international development NGOs helps illustrate how, potentially, NGOsare missing opportunities to utilise, or even improve, value-for-money in terms of howvarious program themes, geographic areas or time periods are delivering better orworse discernible impact for the money spen
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1348–1364
Number of pages17
JournalVoluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations
Volume30
Issue number6
Early online date05 Nov 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2019

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