Why be accountable? Exploring the voluntary accountability of Australian Private Ancillary Funds

Williamson, Alexandra, Luke, Belinda G., & Furneaux, Craig W. (2016) Why be accountable? Exploring the voluntary accountability of Australian Private Ancillary Funds. In 8th Asia-Pacific Interdisciplinary Research in Accounting Conference (APIRA 2016), 13 - 15 July 2016, Melbourne, Vic. (Unpublished)

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  • The aim of this paper is to consider why Private Ancillary Funds (PAFs), as endowed philanthropic foundations which typically exist in perpetuity, engage with accountability in its various forms.


  • This exploratory, qualitative study reports on perspectives on accountability from 10 semi-structured interviews undertaken with managers and/or trustees of 10 PAFs from three Australian states.


  • Through the lens of March and Olsen’s (2011) logics of action, and Karsten’s (2015) typology of motivational forms for voluntary accountability, we find that while logics of appropriateness and consequentiality explain many of the reasons why PAFs engage in voluntary accountability, there are some reasons do not fit comfortably within either logic.

Research limitations/implications

  • The findings challenge the conceptions that are embedded in much of the nonprofit accountability literature that motivations for and purposes of accountability are linked with sustainability and survival.


  • PAFs have no public reporting requirements and their accountability is largely voluntary. Accordingly, by examining this sub-set of nonprofit organisations subject to limited regulatory accountability, a clearer understanding of motivations for voluntary accountability is achieved.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 97575
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: accountability, voluntary accountability, philanthropy, foundation, Australia
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > ACCOUNTING AUDITING AND ACCOUNTABILITY (150100) > Accounting Auditing and Accountability not elsewhere classified (150199)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Accountancy
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 The Author(s)
Deposited On: 25 Jul 2016 01:47
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2016 04:33

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