The Challenges of Managing the Third Sector

Call for papers for: Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

Open to submissions from 1st June 2021


Guest Editors:

Audrey Paterson (University of Aberdeen, UK and corresponding guest editor), [email protected]
Bernd Helmig (University of Mannheim, Germany)
Marc Jegers (University of Brussels, Belgium) 
Irvine Lapsley (University of Edinburgh, UK)

The third sector, which includes charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups, has grown in importance worldwide over the last few decades. It plays an essential role in supporting communities at all levels of society, from the local to the national and internationally. The third sector is highly diverse in terms of the services offered, organisational size and structure. However, what they all have in common is providing essential support to society’s most needy and vulnerable. Many provide essential services that help fill the gap in private and public service provision and make a substantial and rapidly increasing contribution to society’s health and well-being.

Now more than ever, the services of third sector organisations are needed by the most vulnerable communities as the global pandemic continues to run riot, destroying countless lives, ruining economies and exacerbating pre-existing conditions of inequality. Providing services and support through this global pandemic is one of the biggest challenges third sector organisations have faced as funding and donations become increasingly challenging to secure, which exposes them to considerable financial stress. Even after the pandemic wanes, the financial wreckage that it will inevitably leave behind could have profound effects on the future of many institutions within the sector.

In this AAAJ special issue, we seek to engage a global community of scholars and practitioners to explore the financial and managerial challenges facing this sector during the global pandemic and beyond. Potential contributors are encouraged to interpret this theme broadly, yet critically, including applying diverse theoretical and methodological perspectives to a wide range of countries and regional settings. The guest editors are particularly interested in the results of accounting, managerial, economic, policy and inter-disciplinary approaches that explore the contemporary challenges in managing third sector organisations during times of crisis.

Topics of potential interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Reflections on crisis and third sector creative responses to the global pandemic
  • Accounting and managerial challenges of NPOs during times of crisis
  • Responses to financial vulnerability and risk during and beyond the pandemic
  • The role of accounting and financial measures in NPOs – measuring performance and improving organisational transparency
  • Measuring performance and accountability in times of crisis
  • External crisis and the dangers of mission drift
  • Building and maintaining legitimacy and trust in times of crisis
  • The challenges of maintaining service delivery, governance and advocacy during a pandemic
  • Building a new normal post-COVID – tools and tactics to develop change agents versus change victims
  • Beyond COVID – reconceptualising the Third Sector
  • Strengthening diversity and sustainability in times of crisis – the role of leadership, diversity and inclusion
  • Innovating NPO’s – capitalising on the acceleration of digital communication and engagement
  • Assessing the impact of COVID on organisational values and service delivery
  • Maintaining innovation and knowledge exchange in the Third Sector during times of crisis.

This AAAJ special issue is also associated with the 13th biennial EIASM Challenges of Managing the Third Sector Conference, which will be hosted by the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK, and held online the 22nd – 23rd June 2021.

Deadline and Submission Details

The submission deadline for all papers is 1st September 2021.

The publication date of this special issue is September 2022 (Issue 35.7)

To submit your research, please visit the ScholarOne manuscript portal.

To view the author guidelines for this journal, please visit the journal’s page.

Articles for this AAAJ special issue should be submitted to the journal by the 1st September 2021. Full paper submissions must be following journal guidelines. All manuscripts will be subject to a double-blind review process and must be submitted via the journal website. Further information on the journal can be found at:


Contact the Guest Editors:

Audrey Paterson (University of Aberdeen, UK and corresponding guest editor)
[email protected]

Bernd Helmig (University of Mannheim, Germany)

Marc Jegers (University of Brussels, Belgium) 

Irvine Lapsley (University of Edinburgh, UK)