Investor's wiki



What Is Accountability?

Accountability is an acceptance of responsibility for genuine and ethical conduct towards others.

In the corporate world, a company's accountability stretches out to its shareholders, employees, and the more extensive community where it operates.

From a more extensive perspective, accountability suggests a readiness to be decided on performance.

Grasping Accountability

Accountability has turned into an essential concept in corporate finance.

It is particularly pertinent to the accounting rehearses that a company takes on when it prepares the financial reports that are submitted to shareholders and the government. Without checks, balances, and ramifications for bad behavior, a company can't hold the confidence of its customers, regulators, or the markets.

Be that as it may, in recent years corporate accountability has come to envelop the company's activities as they influence the community. A company's environmental impact, its investment choices, and its treatment of its own employees all have gone under public investigation.

Special Considerations

Some high-profile accounting scandals in the past demonstrated that a public company can't keep on existing assuming that it loses the trust of the financial markets and regulators.

The past energy goliath Enron fell in 2001, taking the admired accounting firm Arthur Andersen with it after its false accounting methods were uncovered. The global financial crisis in 2008-2009 revealed gross financial speculation by a portion of the country's greatest banking institutions. The LIBOR scandal revealed currency rate manipulation by several London banks.

In any case, numerous leaders have called for the creation of another culture of accountability in finance — one that comes from the inside.

Every industry has its own standards and rules for accountability that might develop over the long haul. The rules for social media accountability are being written at this point.

Types of Accountability

No less than three major institutions all around affect residents: corporate, political, and governmental accountability. As anyone might expect, they overlap one another.

Corporate Accountability

At its generally trite, accountability is about the numbers. Each public company is required to distribute a financial report quarterly and annually enumerating its income and expenses.

A auditor looking into a company's financial statements is responsible for getting reasonable assurance that the financial statements are free from any material misstatements brought about by mistake or fraud.

Accountability requires corporate accountants to be careful and educated, as they can be held legally obligated for negligence. An accountant is responsible for the integrity and exactness of the company's financial statements, even assuming a mistake or error was made by others in the organization.

To this end independent outside accountants audit the financial statements. Public companies are required to have an audit committee inside the board of directors. Their job is to administer the audit.

Accountability is results-situated. HP got good grades for environmental accountability subsequent to decreasing its ozone harming substance emissions by 44%.

Political Accountability

Political accountability in recent years has zeroed in on money. Specifically, it requires transparency about corporate donations to political causes and competitors.

For instance, the non-partisan Center for Political Accountability and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania jointly distribute an annual index rating the disclosure and oversight policies of major public corporations with respect to their donations to political causes and up-and-comers.

These scandals brought about harder regulations, and there are multitudes of regulators and private guard dogs working to ensure that companies report their earnings accurately, that the exchanges execute trades in a convenient fashion, and that data gave to investors is opportune and accurate.

The Center focuses on corporate spending to influence legislators. Recently, the Center reported top to bottom on a campaign by the drug industry to head off a proposal to permit Medicare to arrange drug prices with sellers. The report named the names of individuals from Congress who accepted political donations from drugmakers.

Government Accountability

The job of corporate cash is only one of the global issues with respect to government accountability.

USAID, the federal agency that directs civilian foreign aid, characterizes measures government accountability by these key factors: a free and fair political justice system; protection of human privileges; a lively civil society; public confidence in the police and courts, and security sector reform.

Media Accountability

The media in the U.S. is interestingly protected by the First Amendment from obstruction by Congress. This doesn't mean that it is free from accountability.

The media have long been under the consistent examination of a number of guard dogs, internal and outside. In the internet time, these have been augmented by independent truth checking organizations like, Snopes, and PolitiFact.

These and different organizations monitor the media for bias and errors and distribute their discoveries so anyone might be able to see.

Social Media Accountability

Consider the possibility that a distributer had 2.8 billion patrons, and every one of them were free to express what they might be thinking.

That is generally the position that Facebook is in, in spite of the fact that it is questionable whether the social media site is or alternately isn't a distributer. As a matter of fact, rejecting that it is a distributer might be a decent defense strategy for Facebook, which is presently enduring an onslaught for spreading dangerous falsehood and giving a platform to can't stand discourse.

At this composition, some are recommending that Facebook be held accountable for the posts it distributes, or the manners by which it advances and disperses those presents on its tremendous enrollment.

The standards for accountability have still to be written for social media.

Instances of Accountability

Corporate accountability can be difficult to evaluate however that doesn't stop anybody from attempting.

The publication Visual Capitalist positioned the best performing U.S. corporations on environmental, social, and corporate governance issues. The top entertainer on environmental issues was HP, which has diminished its ozone harming substance emissions by 44% starting around 2015. General Motors got the highest imprints for social responsibility as the main U.S. company with a lady as both CEO and CFO. Qualcomm bested the rundown in corporate governance due to its presentation of STEM programs for ladies and minorities.

Accountability FAQs

Here are replies to a few ordinarily posed inquiries about accountability.

How Is Accountability Defined in the Workplace?

To management mentors, accountability in the work environment goes past giving every employee a task to complete in a project. It additionally means making every individual accountable for the achievement or disappointment of their contribution to the overall project.

All in all, everything without question revolves around ownership of progress — or disappointment.

What Is the NIMS Management Characteristic of Accountability?

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) was developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as an aide for government, non-benefit, and private substances working together in response to a major episode or emergency. Any entity that desires to receive Federal Preparedness awards is required to take on the system.

NIMS contains 14 key characteristics that make the system work productively in a crisis. One of these is accountability. The system requires emergency responders and managers to be accountable for their own decisions at the site of an emergency, and for conveying those activities accurately to other people.

How Does the Government Accountability Office Respond?

The Government Accountability Office is the audit agency of the U.S. government.

It assesses the effectiveness of U.S. programs and proposed programs. For instance, one of its continuous audits analyzed the effectiveness of $4.8 trillion in federal spending connected with the COVID-19 pandemic and made suggestions for changes to prevent abuse of funds, fraud, and errors in relief payments. Strangely, the agency's own reporting shows that just 33 of a proposed 209 suggestions for improvement had been "completely took on" as of the finish of October 2021.

What Is Drug Accountability?

Drug accountability is specific to the requirements for the legitimate conduct of clinical trials in the drug industry. The part of a clinical trial named drug accountability requires the legitimate storage, taking care of, apportioning, and documentation of medications during a trial, ending with the destruction of extra supplies of the medication.

A part of medication accountability is a daily log recording the utilization of medications in a clinical trial. This is required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

What Is the Difference Between Accountability and Responsibility?

A responsibility is an assigned (or self-assigned) task or project. Accountability infers a readiness to be decided on the performance of the project.

There is no such thing as accountability in a vacuum. It requires transparency and effective communication of results with all parties that might be impacted.

The Bottom Line

Accountability can be a management buzzword. Or on the other hand, it tends to be a real system for assessing the achievement or disappointment of an individual or an entity.

The concept of corporate accountability has consistently meant legit and transparent financial reporting. In recent years that concept has expanded to envelop a company's performance and responsiveness to environmental, social, and community issues.


  • In recent years, there has been an increased spotlight on different components of corporate accountability like ethical conduct, environmental impact, a commitment to diversity, and fair treatment of employees.
  • Accountability is the acceptance of responsibility for one's own decisions. It suggests an eagerness to be transparent, permitting others to notice and assess one's performance.
  • In the U.S. financial world, accountability incorporates a requirement that public corporations make accurate financial records accessible to all partners.