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

Article


Daff, Lyn 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. https://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-03-2019-3948
Article Title

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

ERA Journal ID19061
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsDaff, Lyn (Author) and Parker, Lee D. (Author)
Journal TitleAccounting Auditing and Accountability Journal
Journal Citation33 (6), pp. 1303-1333
Number of Pages31
Year2020
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN0951-3574
1368-0668
1758-4205
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-03-2019-3948
Web Address (URL)https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/AAAJ-03-2019-3948/full/html
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.

Keywordsaccountants; communication; not-for-profit; strategies
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020350105. Management accounting
350102. Auditing and accountability
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Commerce
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT)
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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