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Topic 1 Notes

Accounting Notes > Accounting in Non-Governmental Organisations Notes

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AC310: Module 2: Topic 1: Complexities of Accounting in NGOs

Topic 1: Complexities of Accounting in NGOs What are NGOs?

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Developed world NGOs such as Oxfam and Amnesty International i.e. Setup and run in the developed world Developing world NGOs such as BRAC i.e. Founded and run in the developing world A recent development is that NGOs are getting involved in political debate Single-issue vs. multi-issue NGOs Important to acknowledge that some have a less broad focus Usually depends on why they were founded Most NGOs are small Can be international, national or local Lots of diversity What do the differences mean in terms of accounting and accountability?
Funding comes from many places Affects accounting and accountability Many different labels: non-profits, charity, third-sector, civil society E.g. British Conservative Party policy of 'Big Society' Are they always non-profit?
Blurring of private vs. public sector E.g. Hinchingbrooke Hospital Many have marketing departments Brands are important High public profile is important

Potential defining characteristics of NGOs

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Oxfam

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Formal (meetings, office, office bearers) Private (Institutionally separate from government) Are they really non-government?
? Particularly a large part of their work may be government contracts? (Lewis and Kanji, 2009) Non-profit distributing Financial surplus does not accrue to owners Self-governing Able to control and manage its own affairs Voluntary Some degree of voluntary participation in the conduct of the organization Sometimes questionable given salaries of some workers Can cause tension between volunteers and paid
? Different motivations Governance is important

Long-term development programmes, humanitarian emergencies, advocacy and campaigns Contracts with local partners to do development programmes Over 50 countries in Africa, Asia and Central/South America HQ in Oxford Makes grants to partners to run development programmes Direct service provision in emergencies Campaigning of significant issues

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