NGOs, charities, and government agencies may engage in social accounting. Social accounting emphasises the notion of corporate accountability. Crowther defines social accounting in this sense as “an approach to accounting for non profit organisation pdf a firm’s activities which stresses the need for the identification of socially relevant behaviour, the determination of those to whom the company is accountable for its social performance and the development of appropriate measures and reporting techniques. It is an important step in helping companies independently develop CSR programs which are shown to be much more effective than government mandated CSR.
Social accounting is often used as an umbrella term to describe a broad field of research and practice. The use of more narrow terms to express a specific interest is thus not uncommon. Sustainability accounting is often used to express the measuring and the quantitative analysis of social and economic sustainability.
National accounting is a narrower usage in concentrating on the nation as the aggregable unit of analysis and economics as a method of analysis. Social accounting challenges conventional accounting, in particular financial accounting, for giving a narrow image of the interaction between society and organizations, and thus artificially constraining the subject of accounting. Social accounting is in this sense closely related to the economic concept of externality.