Accounting and accountability researchers have shown new interest in the study of religious organizations by exploring how secular practices associated with accounting and accountability mesh with religious goals and activities. Despite
burgeoning research into accountability relatively little is known about the nature of accountability in religious organizations. The present study seeks to address this need
by exploring the accountability practices of a business entity owned and operated by an Australian religious minority.
This study focuses on the accountability practices of the Sanitarium Health Food Company (SHF), a food manufacturing business owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. SHF is a non-profit organization whose annual gross revenue is estimated at between A$300m to A$400m, making it one of Australia’s top earning charities. SHF provides no formal financial reporting to church members and only a handful of church elites know the financial details of this organization. As a charity SHF is not required to pay income tax; as a department of the Adventist Church it is subjected to minimal regulatory requirements and therefore justifies not disclosing its financial details to church members or the public. However...