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Article
Publication date: 2 June 2021

Ewelina Zarzycka and Joanna Krasodomska

The paper aims to examine if corporate characteristics, general contextual factors and the internal context differentiate the quality and quantity of the disclosed…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to examine if corporate characteristics, general contextual factors and the internal context differentiate the quality and quantity of the disclosed non-financial Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on content analysis of the disclosures provided by large public interest entities operating in Poland after the introduction of the Directive 2014/95/EU. The quality of the KPIs disclosures is measured with the disclosure index. Regression analysis and selected statistical tests are used to examine the influence of the selected factors on the differences in the index value and corporate disclosure choices as regards the KPIs.

Findings

The study findings indicate that the sample companies provide a variety of non-financial KPIs in a manner that makes their effective comparison difficult. The research confirms that mainly industry, ecologists and the reporting standard determine the significant differences in the quality of the KPIs disclosures and the quantity of presented KPIs.

Research limitations/implications

The paper adds to the understanding of the differences in the quality of KPIs presentation and the choice of disclosed KPIs.

Practical implications

The paper includes suggestions on how to change corporate practice with regard to the non-financial KPIs disclosures.

Originality/value

We shed additional light on the importance of internal contextual factors such as the reporting standard and the reporters' experience in providing non-financial KPIs disclosures.

Details

Journal of Applied Accounting Research, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-5426

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Article
Publication date: 10 February 2020

Joanna Krasodomska, Jan Michalak and Katarzyna Świetla

This paper aims to explore accountants’ views on mandatory corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting. It focuses on three main factors underpinning their…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore accountants’ views on mandatory corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting. It focuses on three main factors underpinning their understanding and attitude towards non-financial disclosures: general understanding of the concept, gender and work experience.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses social identity theory as the theoretical framework. The findings are based on a survey conducted among 73 accountants in 2018. The questionnaire consisted of 86 questions divided into 9 main areas. The Mann–Whitney U test was used to determine if there are any significant differences between the accountants’ attitudes towards non-financial disclosures.

Findings

Study results suggest that the general knowledge of CSR reporting among accounting specialists is insufficient. The attitude towards mandatory CSR disclosures significantly differs between accountants who participated in training related to non-financial reporting and those who did not. Contrary to expectations, there were no significant differences in responses either between female and male accountants or between accountants at the beginning of their career path (with experience shorter than five years) and the more experienced ones. The paper contributes to social theory studies as it refers to the problem of the influence of professional associations, governments and big accounting firms on the transformation of accountants’ social identity. It also discusses the relations between the characteristics influencing personal identity and social identity of accountants in shaping their attitude towards mandatory non-financial disclosures.

Practical implications

The findings could be of interest to the higher education and professional certification institutions which should consider bringing accounting curricula more closely to the realities of the current business environment.

Originality/value

The study contributes to the body of literature mainly because it investigates a diversified sample of accountants in a relatively unexplored institutional setting. It may also serve as a starting point for research that more broadly explores accountants’ engagement in non-financial disclosures on CSR.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 28 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

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Article
Publication date: 7 April 2015

Sebastian Knebel and Peter Seele

The purpose of this paper is to examine the status of non-financial reporting according to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) 3.1 A+ standard. By examining the…

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1697

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the status of non-financial reporting according to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) 3.1 A+ standard. By examining the comprehensiveness of the GRI performance in corporate non-financial reports classified as A+ the authors challenge the external assurance system imposed by GRI 3.1 A+ and discuss future directions for the application of GRI 4.0, particularly with regard to the standardized corporate reporting software language XBRL.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors applied a three-step-research design based on four literature-derived hypothesis and examined all 177 GRI 3.1 A+ reports (2012-13) by coding along 41 variables plus the 84 performance indicators of GRI 3.1 to test accessibility, ability to download, achievability, and the possibility to compare them to older reports.

Findings

The results indicate a lack of completeness of GRI’s 3.1 key performance indicators in A+ assured reports, that is made possible due to the reporting flexibility and voluntariness of the guideline. The authors find that the average of disclosed core indicators is 77.66 percent. Single A+ reports disclose even fewer GRI core indicators that B+ reports, which challenges the validity of the assurance system of GRI 3.1.

Research limitations/implications

In this study the (core) indicators were taken as given by GRI 3.1; the quality of the indicators was not measured or weighted.

Practical implications

Implications may emerge for redesigning non-financial reporting guidelines.

Social implications

By critically indicating possible weaknesses of the GRI 3.1 guidelines the authors aim to contribute to a more transparent and effective non-financial reporting.

Originality/value

As an increasing number of contributions criticize the credibility of non-financial reporting and also GRI’s role, the research for the first time provides empirical evidence of the shortcomings of CSR and sustainability reporting regarding comprehensiveness, accessibility, and comparability.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 20 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

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Article
Publication date: 27 November 2019

Federica Doni, Silvio Bianchi Martini, Antonio Corvino and Michela Mazzoni

The recent European Union Directive 95/2014 enforced a radical shift from voluntary to mandatory disclosure of non-financial information. Given radical changes in reporting

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1033

Abstract

Purpose

The recent European Union Directive 95/2014 enforced a radical shift from voluntary to mandatory disclosure of non-financial information. Given radical changes in reporting practices, there is an urgent need to assess the firms’ attitude to disclose non-financial information regarding the new requirement. This paper aims to investigate whether the quantity and quality of non-financial information, voluntarily disclosed in the years before the directive came into force, were linked to the level of compliance.

Design/methodology/approach

Selecting a sample of 60 Italian companies from the obliged entities, the authors carried out a manual content analysis on corporate reports and developed some research hypotheses to explore if their sustainability practices can affect non-financial disclosures required by the Italian adoption of the European directive (i.e. Legislative Decree 254/2016).

Findings

Evidence showed that prior skills and competencies in non-financial reporting made a significant contribution especially regarding to the presence of business model, but further efforts are expected to improve the quality of non-financial reports.

Practical implications

This study yields an initial assessment of the implementation of the European directive in Italy. It may, therefore, help policymakers to identify ways to improve the harmonization of reporting practices. Preparers can also be supported in choosing different positioning of reporting on non-financial information.

Originality/value

This research provides interesting insights into the ex ante and ex post adoption of the European directive by investigating how Italian companies are reacting to regulatory and institutional requirements. One of the main problems remains the lack of a shared understanding of the term “non-financial”, which can make the communication process difficult and unclear.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 28 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

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Article
Publication date: 3 December 2018

Lina Dagilienė and Rūta Nedzinskienė

The paper aims to explore the impact of institutional factors on non-financial reporting in the Baltic countries. The vast majority of research in the scientific…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to explore the impact of institutional factors on non-financial reporting in the Baltic countries. The vast majority of research in the scientific literature references practices of sustainable disclosures in developed countries with a focus on legal factors and their effect on corporate reporting. Meanwhile, there is a lack of in-depth empirical data for identifying correlations between institutional (mandatory, normative and company-specific) factors and non-financial reporting in developing countries.

Design/methodology/approach

The theoretical framework of neo-institutional theory was applied to explore how the external environment affects practices of non-financial reporting in developing countries. The approach used in the paper is quantitative.

Findings

The research results reveal that if companies are likely to disclose voluntarily one of non-economic aspects in their reports, they are also likely to disclose more about the other non-economic issues. However, no significant correlations were detected between the disclosure of voluntary (non-economic) and mandatory (economic) aspects. Mandatory factors promote both – economic and non-economic reporting – while normative and company-specific factors promote non-economic reporting more.

Practical implications

The authors contribute to the foreign investors and practitioners by helping to better understand corporate non-financial reporting practices in post-communistic countries.

Originality/value

The research adds to the growing body of research on non-financial reporting practices with particular reference to the developing Baltic context. This study also contributes to scientific literature by exploring the impact of different institutional factors to non-financial reporting in developing countries.

Details

Journal of Financial Reporting and Accounting, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1985-2517

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 30 July 2020

Francesca Manes-Rossi, Giuseppe Nicolò and Daniela Argento

Research dealing with non-financial reporting formats in public sector organizations is progressively expanding. This paper systematizes the existing literature with the…

Abstract

Purpose

Research dealing with non-financial reporting formats in public sector organizations is progressively expanding. This paper systematizes the existing literature with the aim of understanding how research is developing and identifying the gaps in need of further investigation.

Design/methodology/approach

A structured literature review was conducted by rigorously following the steps defined in previous studies. The structured nature of the literature review paves the way for a solid understanding and critical analysis of the state of the art of research on non-financial reporting formats in public sector organizations.

Findings

The critical analysis of the literature shows that most existing studies have focused on sustainability reporting in higher education institutions, local governments and state-owned enterprises, while remaining silent on the healthcare sector. Additional theoretical and empirical approaches should feed future research. Several areas deserve further investigations that might impactfully affect public sector organizations, standard setters, practitioners and scholars.

Originality/value

This paper offers a comprehensive review of the literature on different reporting formats that public sector organizations adopt to report various dimensions of their performance to both internal and external stakeholders. The structured literature review enables the identification of future directions for the literature in this field.

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 32 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2020

Simone Pizzi, Andrea Venturelli and Fabio Caputo

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of the comply-or-explain principle in the Italian context. In particular, the analysis will evaluate, which…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of the comply-or-explain principle in the Italian context. In particular, the analysis will evaluate, which factor impact on firms' voluntary adoption of this tool to adequate their non-financial reports to the legal requirements of Directive 95/2014/EU.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology consists of two different levels of analysis. The first part is statistical descriptive, and it consists of a rhetorical analysis on the justifications provided by the firms about their omissions to comply with Directive 95/2014/EU. The second part is inferential and its aim is to evaluate, which factors impact on comply-or-explains adoption.

Findings

The findings reveal how the comply-or-explain application in Italy has been characterized by several criticisms. The result highlight how the justifications adopted by the firms is influenced by their sector of activity and omission's type. Moreover, the analysis suggests how the sector of activity and the level of adherence to global reporting initiative influenced the average number of omissions.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations of the research are represented by the focuses on a single country and by the short period of analysis. In this sense, future research could be addressed to the analysis of countries different from Italy. Moreover, accounting scholars could provide further contributions to the political debate through the evolution of the “comply-or-explain” principle’s strategies over the years.

Practical implications

The practical implications connected to the present research are twofold. The first one is represented by the possibility for policymakers to increase the degree of attention about the use of comply-or-explain as legitimization's tool. The second one is represented by the possibility for practitioners to identify a new reporting framework.

Social implications

The social implications are represented by the possibility for stakeholders to evaluate the reliability's degree of the disclosure produced by Italian public interest entities after the implementation of Directive 95/2014/EU.

Originality/value

Despite the growing attention paid by academics regard Directive 95/2014/EU, this is the first attempt to analyze the comply-or-explain from a rhetorical perspective.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 11 October 2021

Patrizia Di Tullio, Matteo La Torre, John Dumay and Michele Antonio Rea

The debate about whether corporate reports should focus on numbers or narrative is long-standing. The recent push for business model information to be included in…

Abstract

Purpose

The debate about whether corporate reports should focus on numbers or narrative is long-standing. The recent push for business model information to be included in corporate reports has revitalised the debate. Many scholars suggest this constitutes a move towards narrative-based reporting. This study aims to investigate the debate and draws a comparison with the juxtaposition of the narrative and rational paradigms. This study also investigates how accountingisation influences the way business model information is presented in corporate reports.

Design/methodology/approach

This study analyses data from the financial and non-financial reports from 86 globally listed companies. This study first uses content analysis to code the data. This study then uses a partial least squares-structural equation model to test how accountingisation influences how firms report their business model information.

Findings

This study finds that accountingisation and a rational paradigm shape how companies present information about their business model in their financial and non-financial reports. This suggests that the dominance of quantitative measures in accounting affects even the presentation of narrative-based information. Despite the much-touted shift towards qualitative reporting, this study argues that companies find it difficult to cast off the yoke of a traditional numbers-based mindset.

Research limitations/implications

This paper contributes to the debate on numbers- versus narrative-based corporate reporting and the workings of narrative and rational paradigms. In it, this study lays out theoretical and empirical findings of accountingisation. This study also makes a case for freeing corporate reports from the shackles of an accountingisation mindset.

Originality/value

This study provides new insights into how companies report information about their business models and the influence of narrative and rational paradigms on financial and non-financial reporting.

Details

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1832-5912

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 12 March 2020

Pierre Baret and Vincent Helfrich

Based on a single and innovative case study (Siggelkow, 2007; Yin, 2014), this research aims to identify the main issues of non-financial reporting. They are related to:…

Abstract

Based on a single and innovative case study (Siggelkow, 2007; Yin, 2014), this research aims to identify the main issues of non-financial reporting. They are related to:

the complexity of the corporate social responsibility (Alcouffe, Berland, Dreveton, & Essid, 2010; Ancori, 2008; Antheaume, 2007; Brichard, 1996; Buritt, 2004; Chan, 2005; Gray & Bebbington, 2001; Herborn, 2005; Savall & Zardet, 2013; Vatn, 2009);

the legislator’s and stakeholders’ expectations (Ancori, 2005; Batifoulier, 2001; Caillaud & Tirole, 2007; Lewis, 1969); and

the company’s expectations (Argyris & Schön, 1978; Chiapello & Gilbert, 2013; David 1998; Grimand, 2012; Moisdon, 1997; Senge, 1992; Wood, 1991).

Symmetrically, it reveals possible pitfalls. Through the study of the way the Rémy Cointreau Group developed its reporting tool, the authors analyze how a company can take the opportunity of a legal obligation to deploy a strategy of non-financial reporting that comes to support and structure a responsible approach. Of course, these results are only replicable under certain conditions related to this singular case.

Details

Non-Financial Disclosure and Integrated Reporting: Practices and Critical Issues
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-964-4

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Article
Publication date: 7 May 2019

Lyndie Bayne and Marvin Wee

The purpose of this paper is to provide preliminary evidence on current practices in non-financial key performance indicator (KPI) reporting in annual reports by listed…

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1250

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide preliminary evidence on current practices in non-financial key performance indicator (KPI) reporting in annual reports by listed Australian companies to inform Australian legislators and accounting standard setters contemplating regulations and guidance for non-financial performance disclosure, including input into the revision of IFRS Practice Statement 1: Management Commentary (2010).

Design/methodology/approach

Non-financial KPIs were hand-collected from the annual report narratives of 40 listed Australian companies from five sectors in 2016. Trends in the type, quantity, comparability and range of non-financial KPIs were analysed, and the association between company characteristics and non-financial disclosure was explored.

Findings

In total, 78 per cent of the sampled companies disclose non-financial KPIs in their annual reports, reporting 11 non-financial KPIs per company on average. The most common category is Employee, followed by Environment, accounting for 68 per cent of non-financial KPIs. Provision of comparators is low, with only 28 per cent of non-financial KPIs disclosed with prior year results and 24 per cent disclosed with a target. Companies disclose across a median of two out of seven categories. Company size is shown to be associated with non-financial measures.

Originality/value

The study contributes initial detailed empirical Australian evidence of non-financial KPI reporting practices. A framework is established for assessing non-financial KPI disclosure, adding to voluntary disclosure studies. A data collection method is developed for collecting KPIs from annual report narratives, contributing to the methodology used in voluntary reporting content analysis.

Details

Accounting Research Journal, vol. 32 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1030-9616

Keywords

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