Accountants’ perceptions of communication in not-for-profit organisations: inhibitors, enablers and strategies

Daff, Lyn ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8977-3872 and Parker, Lee D. (2020) Accountants’ perceptions of communication in not-for-profit organisations: inhibitors, enablers and strategies. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 33 (6). pp. 1303-1333. ISSN 1368-0668

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Abstract

Purpose
The not-for-profit (NFP) context displays unique characteristics that include stakeholder diversity, multiple stakeholder agendas, and the pervasiveness of philanthropic values and related organisational mission. This study investigated accountants’ perceptions of NFP’s characteristics that enable and inhibit their communication along with the strategies they adopt to overcome their communication challenges.

Design/methodology/approach
This qualitative interview-based study is informed by Giddens’ structuration theory. Thirty NFP accountants, from three Australian states, were interviewed. Thematic analysis was used to identify the relationships between NFP organisational characteristics and accountants’ communication strategies, and their interactions with organisational structures.

Findings
The study reveals important relationships between many stakeholders with limited financial acumen, organisational resource constraints, the currency of NFP information technologies, the dominance of operational mission over financial imperatives, and the supply of organisational accountants. Accountants’ structural adaptations emerge in their adopting multiple forms of communications reframing.

Research limitations/implications
The NFP environment exhibits a mix of characteristics, some of which pose challenges for accountants’ communication while others facilitate their communication.

Social implications
Increasingly governments are relying on NFPs for the provision of services once provided by the state. Enhancing NFP accountants’ communication has the potential to improve outcomes for NFPs.

Originality/value
The study broadens prior research on accountants’ communication beyond formal written reporting to recognise and articulate their informal communication strategies.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Commerce (1 Jul 2013 - 17 Jan 2021)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Commerce (1 Jul 2013 - 17 Jan 2021)
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2020 06:05
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2020 05:53
Uncontrolled Keywords: accountants; communication; not-for-profit; strategies
Fields of Research (2008): 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1501 Accounting, Auditing and Accountability > 150105 Management Accounting
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1501 Accounting, Auditing and Accountability > 150102 Auditing and Accountability
Fields of Research (2020): 35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3501 Accounting, auditing and accountability > 350105 Management accounting
35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3501 Accounting, auditing and accountability > 350102 Auditing and accountability
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-03-2019-3948
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/39901

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