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Public Policy and Administration


Mark Gordon


Financial accountability is a pressing issue in United States NPOs because there is a demand, by donors and the public they serve, to implement clear accountability practices. The purpose of this study was to explore and document the financial oversight and accountability policies and procedures that successful NPOs employ to maintain clear financial accountability practices. The theoretical framework underlining this qualitative phenomenological study was a combination of social construction theory and institutional rational choice theory. The research question was focused on understanding essential financial oversight and accountability policies and procedures that should be designed for NPOs to create and maintain financial accountability. Interview data were collected from 6 participants from 4 successful emerging organizations, less than 5 years in business, and 8 participants from organizations that have a longer history, more than 5 years in business. Data were coded using the basic NVivo software package and analyzed thematically. Findings regarding the tools needed to create and maintain vital accountability policies and procedures in NPOs were as follows; need for accountability, importance of appropriate disclosure, impact of dashboard tool, expense projection, financial manager, financial misappropriation reporting, oversight policies, revenue forecasts, board members and supportive culture. The potential impact of this qualitative study for social change is that the policies, practices, and procedures of successful NPOs were identified and documented for those old, new and emerging NPOs not using them. The critical finding of this study shows the need for continued research to bring positive social change through nonprofit financial accountability policy improvement.

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