Definition of Accountability: Aspects, Benefits, Levels, Dimensions, and Mechanisms

Definition of Accountability – If Matobers was studying the disciplines of accounting and management, he would often encounter the word “accountability”.

Accountability is one of the principles that must be applied by someone in any field, including accounting and management.

What is accountability? Then, what aspects are contained in this principle of accountability?

So that Matobers understands it better, let’s look at the following explanation regarding accountability!

Definition of Accountability According to Experts

Accountability comes from a foreign language, namely ” accountability ” which means accountability. Accountability here means a situation to be accounted for or a situation to be held accountable.

In general, accountability means the obligation to provide accountability or answer and explain regarding the performance and actions of a legal entity or the head of an organization, to a party authorized to receive such information or accountability.

According to Miriam Budiardjo , accountability is the responsibility of those who are given the mandate to govern to those who gave them the mandate.

Accountability means accountability by creating oversight through the distribution of power to various government institutions, thus reducing the accumulation of power while creating conditions of mutual supervision.

Then, according to Mohammad Mahsun , accountability has a broad and narrow definition. Broadly speaking, accountability is the obligation of the party holding the trust (agent) to provide accountability, present, report, and disclose all activities and activities that are his responsibility, to the party giving the account.

Narrowly, accountability is a form of accountability that refers to who and for what the organization is responsible.

Meanwhile, according to Sedarmayanti , accountability has a definition in the form of an obligation to account for the success or failure of the implementation of the organization’s mission in achieving predetermined goals and objectives, through the media of accountability which is carried out periodically.

Based on some of these opinions, it can be concluded that accountability refers to the obligation of each individual or group within an institution to fulfill the responsibilities that become their mandate, namely ensuring the realization of public values.

What is the difference between Accountability and Responsibility?

In English, responsibility means responsibility. Then, why is this accountability referred to as accountability not responsibility ?

This is because accountability means accountability obligations that must be achieved.

While responsibility or responsibility is the obligation to be responsible.

Accountability Aspects

In this principle of accountability there are five important aspects, namely accountability is a relationship, accountability is result oriented, accountability requires reports, accountability requires consequences, and accountability improves performance.

So that Matobers understands more about these aspects, consider the following explanation!

1. Accountability is a relationship ( Accountability is a relationship )

In this aspect, the relationship in question is a two-party relationship between individuals/groups within institutions and the state and society.

The authority giver will be responsible for providing direction, guidance, and allocating resources according to their duties and functions. On the other hand, individuals or groups within this institution will be responsible for fulfilling all their obligations.

Therefore, in the principle of accountability, the relationship that occurs is a relationship that is responsible between the two parties.

2. Accountability is results oriented

In this aspect, the existence of the principle of accountability expects results in the form of responsible, fair and innovative behavior of officials.

In this context, each individual or group within the institution is required to be responsible for carrying out their duties and obligations, and strive to make a contribution to achieve the desired results.

3. Accountability requires reporting

The report referred to in this aspect is a performance report. Performance reports are a manifestation of the principle of accountability.

From the existence of a performance report, it means being able to explain the actions and results that have been achieved by individuals or groups within an institution, and being able to provide concrete evidence regarding the results that have been carried out.

In the world of bureaucracy, the form of accountability for each individual will be in the form of a report based on a work contract, while in institutions the form of the report is called LAKIP (Government Agency Performance Accountability Report).

4. Accountability requires consequences ( Accountability is meaningless without consequences )

Accountability is an obligation. In an obligation will indicate a responsibility, and the responsibility produces a consequence.

The existence of these consequences can be in the form of two things, namely rewards or sanctions to individuals or groups within the institution in carrying out their responsibilities.

5. Accountability improves performance ( Accountability improves performance )

In this aspect, the main objective of accountability is to improve the performance of individuals or groups within an agency.

Accountability has a proactive approach , so that accountability is interpreted as a relationship and process that is planned to achieve a goal .

In the process, each individual or group within an institution will be held accountable for being actively involved in the evaluation process, in order to improve their performance.

Why is accountability important?

There are several reasons why accountability is useful and important in the process of individual or group performance in an institution, namely:

  1. To provide democratic control (democratic role)
  2. To prevent corruption and abuse of power (constitutional role)
  3. To improve efficiency and effectiveness (role learning)

Levels in Accountability

Based on the figure, it can be seen that accountability has 5 different levels namely personal accountability, individual accountability, group accountability, organizational accountability, and stakeholder accountability .

1. Personal Accountability

At this level, namely personal accountability, refers to the values ‚Äč‚Äčthat exist in a person, for example honesty, integrity, morals, to ethics.

Individuals who have the principle of accountability are those who make themselves part of the solution and not the problem.

2. Individual Accountability

At the level of individual accountability, it refers to the relationship between the individual (who is given responsibility) and his work environment. For example, the relationship between civil servants and the authorizing agency.

As the authorizing agency, it must be responsible for providing adequate direction, guidance, and resources, as well as eliminating work barriers; while civil servants as individuals who are given responsibility must carry it out with full responsibility.

3. Group Accountability

In this level of group accountability, performance in an institution is usually carried out on the basis of group cooperation. In this case, it cannot be called “I”, but what is “we” in the process of carrying out its performance.

At this level of accountability, the division of authority and the spirit of cooperation between various other groups within the institution, play an important role in order to achieve the expected organizational performance (objectives).

4. Organizational Accountability

In the level of organizational accountability, it refers to the results of performance reports that have been achieved, both reports made by individuals and other organizational performance to the general public.

5. Stakeholder Accountability

Stakeholders are the general public, service users and taxpayers who provide input, suggestions and criticisms of their performance.

So, at this level of stakeholder accountability, it is the responsibility of government organizations to deliver fair, responsive and dignified service and performance.

Accountability Dimension

In order to fulfill the realization of public sector institutions that carry out the principles of accountability, the implementation of accountability must contain the following dimensions:

1. Accountability for honesty and law ( accountability for probability and legality )

This accountability dimension relates to compliance with laws and regulations that have been implemented previously.

2. Process accountability

This accountability dimension relates to whether the procedures used in carrying out tasks are good enough, including in terms of accounting information systems, management information systems, to administrative procedures.

This refers to the principle of accountability that is widely used by public sector organizations, so that this dimension can provide fast, responsive and inexpensive public services.

After that there is also supervision and accountability checks in order to avoid collusion, corruption and nepotism.

3. Accountability program (program accountability)

In this accountability dimension, giving consideration regarding the goals set whether they can be achieved or not; as well as whether there are alternative programs that provide maximum results with minimal costs or not.

4. Policy accountability

This accountability dimension relates to accountability for policies taken to the wider community.

Accountability Mechanism in Indonesia

The process of accountability cannot be realized without accountability tools. In Indonesia, there are several accountability tools, namely:

  • Strategic Plans (Strategic Plans) in the form of Long Term Development Plans (RPJP-D), Medium Term Development Plans (RPJM-D), Government Work Plans (RKP-D), and others.
  • Performance contract. For example in all civil servants (PNS). This work contract contains an agreement between the employee and his direct supervisor.
  • Performance reports in the form of Government Agencies Performance Accountability Reports (LAKIP), contain planning and performance agreements for a certain year, with measurement and analysis of performance achievements, as well as financial accountability.

Every organization or institution has its own accountability mechanism that is different from other organizations or institutions. Examples of accountability mechanisms in an organization or institution are:

  • work appraisal system
  • accounting system
  • accreditation system
  • monitoring system (with CCTV, fingerprints, or software that is useful for monitoring employee performance)

In order to create a work environment that relies on the principle of accountability, there are several aspects that must be considered, namely:

  • leadership
  • transparency
  • integrity
  • responsibility
  • justice
  • trust
  • balance
  • clarity
  • consistency