Investigating the relationship between the social and economic-financial performance

Hundreds of studies explored and measured the financial returns related to social performance (Margolis and Walsh, 2003), with controversial results. Beyond research’s outcomes, we found into this stream of literature a lot of innovation about the integration and adaptation of tools and models of financial analysis with the study of statistical relationships. In this paper we investigate about the relationship between corporate social performance and corporate financial (and economic) performance, that uses multiple measures of financial and social performance and looks statistically at the movement of actual financial and social performance over time. We emphasize the worth of statistical analysis and its integration into traditional financial representations. Our findings show how ratio analysis and statistical cause-and-effect validation are not alternatives for developing the financial analysis of sustainability and the reporting. We show, through a constant testing and a double learning process, the critical relationship between the key factors of financial, economic and social performance.

Key-Words: Integrated Reporting


How reliable is MD&A disclosure? A text analysis on US financial listed companies

This research aims at assessing the usefulness (or reliability) of the forward-looking information disclosed by managers in MD&As in predicting future financial condition of a firm, through a tone analysis. Furthermore, our study is aimed at evaluating whether the reliability of MD&A decreases if the firm is experiencing financial difficulty, since managers use more discretion in disclosing information compared than in healthy firms.  Finally our study is aimed at analysing the association between the extent of MD&A at time t and the financial performance at time t+1. The study is conducted on two sub-samples of US listed financial companies which experienced different financial conditions, namely Unhealthy Firms and Healthy Firms, between 1995 and 2011. Empirical results demonstrated that managers of financial companies provide reliable qualitative information in MD&As useful to forecast performance of the next year, in terms of positive versus negative words. Further, the comparison of empirical results obtained by the analysis of the two sub-samples, showed that the reliability of the tone of MD&As decreases with the worsening of firms’ financial conditions. Finally, this research provides useful statistical tools to support investors to investigate the reliability of the overall financial disclosure.

Key-Words: Integrated Reporting, Management Discussion & Analysis; Disclosure; Financial Companies; Tone Analysis; Text Mining


Evaluating the integrated report quality

The paper aims to develop an ad hoc research template able to support the researchers to analyze the degree of accountability of the organizational IRs. The ad hoc created research template presents both strength and a weakness points. As for the strength point, it gives an original contribution to the IR literature simplifying the elements to consider to express an evaluation about the degree of accountability followed by the organization in disclosing IR, an issue on which there is a concern in IR literature. As for the weakness point, the ad hoc created research template introduce subjectivity elements in the analysis of the accountability degree, as observations and conclusions are based on the authors’ analysis under an interpretative approach.

Key-Words: Integrated Reporting, business model, stakeholder involvement, integration, accountability research template

Table 2 – The IIRC content elements


Integrated reporting and financial analysts’ perception. Empirical evidence from Italy

The present research aims to assess the information needs of the users of integrated reports from large private sectors and for profit companies. The information users’ are grouped in two different categories: 1) different equity and debt holders and others who provide financial capital including the ultimate beneficiaries of investments, collective asset owners, and asset or fund managers; 2) the wider group of stakeholders likely to be interested in an organization’s ability to create value over time. This study concerns the first category of users, and in particular, the category of the advisers of different equity or debt holders or others who provide financial capitals, that refers to financial analysts, brokers and rating agencies. The main research question of this survey is the following: what are financial analysts’ perceptions about Integrated Reporting and what are their needs and expectations about this new model of corporate reporting? To our knowledge, this survey represents the first attempt to investigate the perception of financial analysts about Integrated Reporting and in general about the non-financial information disclosure in Italy. This study may contribute to signal the major strengths and weaknesses of this innovate model of corporate reporting in order to improve the development of the IIRC Framework (IIRC, 2013) and its understanding by investors and in particular by financial analysts. This survey shows interesting comments by financial analysts’ on some benefits arising from the adoption of Integrated Reporting: for example about the evaluation of company’s future performance (32, 18%), or about comparability (33.33%) and accessibility of information (31.40%). Financial analysts have proven skeptics about the possibility of reducing the costs of acquiring information through the adoption of IR.

Key-Words: Integrated Reporting


The Connectivity of Information in Integrated Reporting. Empirical Evidence from International Context

In recent years, an increasing number of accounting scholars have been investigating the concept and the purpose of integrated reporting. After the issue of IIRC Framework, which is principle-based, it is now recognized that there is an urgent need for empirical analysis of the content of the reports at their first development stage. This in order to understand if the aims of this new reporting approach are realistic and achievable in practice. This paper responds to such call and it tries to contribute in two ways. Firstly, it illustrates the way in which the Guiding Principle of Connectivity of Information is applied at international level. In particular, we analyzed the compliance of disclosure practices in integrated reports of 2013 with the key forms of Connectivity of information presented in the Framework. Secondly, the paper tries to interpret the practices observed, in order to identify useful implementation criteria of this Guiding Principle. This is light of the fact that the Guiding Principle was noted as the most important to obtain a truly integrated report, but, at the same time, difficult to interpret and problematic to apply. The results of the analysis indicate an application of the principle extremely heterogeneous (and in such cases disappointing), confirming the need to establish practical guidelines to apply it. By this study, we made a preliminary attempt to identify some characteristic attributes of Connectivity of information within integrated reporting. The findings carry implications for eventual refinement of the IIRC Framework and, especially, to support companies wishing to prepare an integrated report.

Keywords: Integrated reporting, non-financial information, connectivity of information, IIRC Framework