NGO accountability and aid delivery

This study investigated, through the experiences of those operating on NGO aid projects at the local level, the impact of different accounting and accountability mechanisms on the effectiveness of aid delivery. It contributes towards the formulation of NGO accounting and accountability policies that can improve how aid funding is transformed into a reduction in human suffering in impoverished nations.

ACCA research report no. 110

Dr Gloria Agyemang
Royal Holloway, University of London

Dr Mariama Awumbila
University of Ghana

Professor Jeffrey Unerman
Royal Holloway, University of London

Professor Brendan O’Dwyer
University of Amsterdam Business School


The overall aim of this research project was to investigate the impact of a variety of accounting and accountability mechanisms on the effectiveness of aid delivery in NGOs at the local level in developing countries.

In undertaking this aim, the following five specific objectives were addressed:

  1. to identify characteristics of the key mechanisms of accountability employed in a sample of international and local NGOs 
  2. to provide evidence of beneficial and dysfunctional impacts of the accountability mechanisms (identified under objective 1.) on the effectiveness of aid delivery 
  3. to explain why particular accountability mechanisms are considered beneficial or dysfunctional 
  4. to assess the extent of beneficiary involvement in the accountability mechanisms identified under objective 1. and to investigate the factors preventing and/or facilitating accountability to beneficiaries, and 
  5. to suggest alternative mechanisms of accountability that may alleviate the potentially dysfunctional impacts of donor-led upward-accountability mechanisms, and encourage the involvement of officers and beneficiaries in the field.