Publication Details

Irvine, H. J. (2005). Offering more than advice: consultancies in a nonprofit organization. Proceedings of Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand (AFAANZ) Conference (pp. 1-40). Australia: John Wiley & Sons Australia Ltd.


This paper explains the proliferation of consulting activities in nonprofit organizations, and illustrates it by a study of the external consultancies commissioned by one religious/charitable organization (RCO) within a twelve-month period. The qualitative study, conducted over one year, identifies the employment of external consultants as one manifestation of normative institutional pressures on nonprofit organizations to adopt corporate-style accounting and management practices. Within the nonprofit sector, there is scope for further research on the challenges involved for organizations in that sector as they attempt to analyse the pressures of the institutional environment in which they operate and assess the applicability of corporate practices recommended by consultants. While some research has been undertaken on consultancies in both the public and nonprofit sectors, there has been less attention paid to its role in the infiltration of corporate practices from the private sector, through the public sector, and into the nonprofit sector. By focusing on the institutional environment in which nonprofit organizations operate, and on one organization, insights have been provided about this process.