Accountability refers to the obligation of an individual to report formally to his superior for the proper discharge of his responsibility. It is the answerability of a subordinate to render an account of his activities to his superior. The person who accepts responsibility is accountable for the performance of the assigned duties. '
To be accountable is. to be answerable for one's conduct in respect to obligation fulfilled or unfulfilled" Accountability is the obligation of an individual to keep his superior informed of his use of authority and accomplishment of assigned tasks.
Accountability grows out of responsibility and goes hand in hand with it. A person who is responsible for results must recognize that he will be judged by the quality of his performance. Just as responsibility is a derivative of authority, accountability is a derivative of responsibility. Responsibility is the obligation to perform assigned tasks, accountability is the reporting of performance.
Accountability makes responsibility meaningful and completes the process of delegation. Responsibility is stated in terms of work to be done, while accountability is stated in terms of performance. Authority is delegated, responsibility is assumed and accountability is imposed. Authority flows downward while accountability for performance flows upward. Responsibility arises from authority while accountability is derived from responsibility.
Authority means some autonomy while accountability is meant to regulate autonomy. Authority is the medium for creating responsibility while accountability is a means of fulfilling responsibility.