The policy of providing financial aids called the School Operational Aid Grant (SOAG) to educational units in Indonesia is sufficient to help many educational institutions carry out better learning activities in their educational institutions. However, on the other hand, there have been efforts by the managers of the SOAG to misappropriate and misuse SOAG. Because of this, steps are needed to keep the SOAG from achieving the goal of increasing the performance of educational institutions. This effort, among other things, will be largely determined by the principal's perception of accountability for the management of the SOAG. If accountability is perceived and carried out only as a form of providing financial reports that are administratively correct, then such formalistic accountability will not change much the performance of educational institutions. However, if school principals perceive and carry out accountability within the framework of improving the performance and quality of educational institutions through effective and efficient use of the budget, then accountability becomes a substantive part of the use of SOAG in their schools. This study is intended to answer questions about accountability in the management of SOAG in schools by exploring the perceptions of school principals regarding accountability in the management of SOAG. This study concludes the importance of a new paradigm of accountability that is substantive, not formalistic, and accountability that is ethical, not just technical.