Non-financial information: State of the art and research perspectives based on a bibliometric study


Comptabilité Contrôle Audit

2015, vol. 21, n°3, pp.15-92

Departments: Accounting & Management Control, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Keywords: non-financial information (NFI) – corporate social responsibility (CSR) – intellectual capital – environmental reporting – social reporting – literature review – bibliometrics

We conduct a bibliometric analysis of academic articles published on the topic of nonfinancial information (NFI). This analysis covers 787 articles published in 53 journalsover the timespan 1973 to 2013. We examine several important questions about the state of the art of academic research on NFI: How is NFI defined in the literature? Can NFI be precisely defined? How has interest in NFI evolved over time in the academic literature? What are the main topics covered by NFI research? What are the main methodologies used by researchers? To what extent are studies country-specific? We find that many articles do not define the concept of NFI but refer to underlying concepts such as social, environmental, human capital or corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting. We document that academic research on NFI reached a certain degree of maturity around the late 1990s / early 2000s, a time when several new specialized journals were created that now capture an important share of the market. We identify10 topics covered by research on NFI and show that the most frequently-studiedtopic in NFI research is CSR reporting. We also discover that the volume of research concerning auditing of NFI is growing, whereas management accounting/control research on NFI is limited. We find that the growth in NFI research is fueled mainly by articles using archival data (quantitative or qualitative) and essay methodologies. Finally, we suggest directions for future research