The Financial Accountability of Irish Credit Unions: an initial empirical study

Noel Hyndman, Donal McKillop, C. Ferguson, T. Wall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Credit unions are member-owned, voluntary, self-help, democratic, not-for-profit institutions that provide financial services to their members. They have both economic and social goals. Over this last decade they have achieved remarkable growth levels and currently there are 600 such organisations in Ireland, with approximately 50 per cent of the adult population of Ireland belonging to a credit union. Accounting for credit unions is a much-neglected area and relatively little is known about the sector's accountability. This paper presents the results of an initial empirical study of the financial accountability of Irish credit unions. A series of interviews and a basic content analysis of 178 recent financial statements were used to identify the views of key stakeholders with respect to the discharge of financial accountability by credit unions and the current quality of financial reporting. Overall, the research points to a sector where financial accountability through the medium of the annual report is weak and possible adverse consequences of this are explored. On the basis of the interviews it is suggested that if changes in financial accountability are to be achieved then some more proactive engagement of parties external to the management of individual credit unions is needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-279
Number of pages27
JournalFinancial Accountability & Management
Volume20
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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