This study investigates non-government organisations' (NGO) current accounting and reporting practices in a developing economy context (Mauritius) and argues the case for reforms to enhance their transparency and accountability.
A content analysis of a sample of NGO annual returns was carried out followed by interviews with NGO officers and actors on the state of accounting and reporting practices in Mauritius. The authors analyse the data from a public accountability perspective.
The content analysis revealed poor accounting and reporting practices by Mauritian NGOs. Based on interview insights, the authors find that these poor practices arise due a lack of (1) NGO-specific accounting standards, (2) engagement with narrative reporting, (3) properly trained NGO officers and (4) proper monitoring and control. Some of the interviewees expressed their support for introducing online filing systems and accounting requirements that are commensurate with NGO size, improving regulatory oversight, while ensuring that NGO accounts are made available to the public.
While there are many calls for better NGO accountability and transparency in developing economies, little is known about the state of accounting and reporting mechanisms (and regulatory framework thereof) that could provide the basis for relevant reforms towards enhancing accountability. Considering the opacity of NGO information in Mauritius and recent concerns about money laundering practices and the perceived ineffectiveness of regulatory oversight, this first national assessment of accounting and reporting practices sheds light on current challenges and formulates locally appropriate recommendations for the sector.
The authors are grateful to the Mauritius Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) for funding the project (T0708). The authors also thank the participants of the 2022 Annual Conference of the British Accounting and Finance Association (BAFA) for their valuable comments on an earlier version of the paper.
Pariag-Maraye, N., Soobaroyen, T., Mooneeapen, O. and Panchoo, O. (2023), "Evaluating NGO accounting and reporting practices in a developing economy: the case for reforms", Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 73-94. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBAFM-01-2022-0021
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