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What Do We Mean by Accountability?

By Darren Finkelstein
By Darren Finkelstein

The Accountability Guy®

Home » Importance of accountability in business ethics » What Do We Mean by Accountability?
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Accountability is the practice of holding yourself responsible for your actions. When you learn to handle the consequences of your actions, it minimises the pressure on your team at work. An organisation or society needs to practise accountability.

Without accountability, it gets challenging to assume ownership of actions. Every action has consequences, and throughout my career, I have practised accountability. Therefore, I believe it has many positive impacts on your life, whether personal, professional or otherwise.

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Understanding Accountability

You should practise accountability in your workspace. This leads to better relationships with your clients and stakeholders. Additionally, it creates trust and reliability among the employees of your organisation.

Without accountability, you have the risk of losing the faith and trustworthiness of clients and among employees. This might lead to affecting your output adversely, such as causing high-profile accounting scandals, etc.

Without proper checks, balances, and management of wrongdoings, the company’s integrity is at stake and therefore, your company would lose its ability to perform critical social functions. To discuss it more in-depth, the global financial crisis is another example and reason for practising accountability.

In practical terms, accountability ensures that the associates of a company maintain a record of their work and act responsibly whenever the time comes. Accountability improves the work culture of a company and motivates the employees to be responsible and productive.

Roles of Accountability

The aspect of accountability can continue to broaden with time. The socio-political environment, for instance, has a prominent role to play in the dynamic changes in accountability relationships. As such, these relationships grow to be diverse and evolve over time.

The media, democracy, and the needs of a company’s stakeholders, clients, and investors also hamper the implications of accountability. In simple words, the guidelines, regulations, laws, and processes define the boundaries of accountability within a workspace.

Here are some of the significant roles of accountability.

Improves Company's Performance

Although accountability depends on every individual to account for the company as a whole, it is also essential to use internal controls to be accountable as a team. This enhances the performance of every individual, hence the entire company.

Practising accountability is significant for the fact that it minimises the scope of the crisis and enhances the performance of the industry. For instance, when your company might be subjected to litigation, the team works together to make up for its part in the judicial consequences. It is one of the media ensuring the company’s freedom.

Accountability Provides Oversight

When the company members practise accountability, they ensure to delegate their responsibilities and not forsake them. The entire hierarchy of accountability is to act responsibly towards the consequences of an individual’s actions.

But it is worth mentioning that the powers necessary to achieve such an objective might limit the scope of its applications.

Improves Company's Governance

Accountability, along with other virtues practised in a company, helps realise the importance of integrity and transparency at work and otherwise. This ensures better governance of the company along with the workforce.

Acting responsibly towards the consequences of corporate actions, individual roles, and the company’s administration holds together the organisation’s governance.

Maintains and Enhances Legitimacy

One of the primary roles of accountability is to generate the legitimacy of a company. If you want to hold a picture of the legitimacy of your company in front of your clients and investors, practising accountability can help grant such independence.

But a company’s independence is temporary if the activities do not reflect accountability, hence, failing to reflect legitimacy. Companies are responsible for their legitimacy and maintaining autonomy.

Summing Up

Accountability is a broad subject that can draw many perspectives depending on the roles and responsibilities of an individual, whether personally or corporately. Either way, accountability brings you the rewards of staying faithful to your commitments and responsibilities.

In other words, you can go a long way practising accountability and integrity in life. And conversely, the consequences would seem challenging, unfolding things you are not ready for. Therefore, it would be best to remain accountable and practise accountability to move toward your goals faster and effectively.