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


Comptabilité Contrôle Audit

décembre 2015, vol. 3, n°21, pp.15-92

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Mots clés : 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 on non-financial information (NFI). We analyze 787 articles published in 53 journals over 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 the interest for 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 notion 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 has reached a certain degree of maturity around the end of the 1990s/beginning on the 2000s. Several new specialized journals that now capture an important share of the market were created around that time. We find 10 topics covered by research on NFI and show that the most frequent topic studied in NFI research is CSR reporting. We also discover that the volume of research on auditing of NFI is growing whereas management accounting/control research on NFI is relatively limited. We find that the growth of research on NFI is fueled by articles relying on archival (whether quantitative or qualitative) and essay methodologies. Finally, we suggest directions for future research