In business, we demand that managers are accountable. Some people think this is all about who is to blame. But is it? The Oxford English dictionary suggests being accountable is being expected to justify actions or decisions.
Accountability is really an attitude where you are holding yourself account to outcomes. It is a mindset, that whatever has happened - whether it is your fault or not – it has something to do with you and you are committed to finding solutions to solve it. It is the opposite of the attitude “not my problem.” Responsibility is about ownership. Responsibility is something an organisation defines that specifies your boundaries of ownership.
Accountability is broader than responsibility as it is about your mindset that takes ownership for an overall result, even if it lies outside your defined set of responsibilities. Someone who feels accountable to the company will help with any customer problem in the interests of the overall company outcome, whether or not it is within their defined set of responsibilities. Accountability is an attitude that says “it is not my fault, and I am not to blame, but I am here to help fix it”