Security in computer systems has been a major concern since the very beginning. Although security has been addressed in various aspects, accountability is one of the main facets of security that is lacking in today's computer systems. The ability not only to detect errors but also to find the responsible entity/entities for the failure is crucial. In this paper, we intend to provide a comprehensive investigation of the state-of-the-art accountability research issues in current information systems. Also, we study the various accountability tactics that are available and how each one of them contributes to providing strong accountability of different aspects. Finally, we examine the various merits and tradeoffs. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.