Menu

AIDEA Conference 2019

Tracks

Track 3 - Innovations in accountability: sustainability, non financial information and inclusive finance (Innovations in accountability: sustainability, non financial information and inclusive finance)

Managers: Adele Caldarelli (adele.caldarelli@unina.it), Antonella Paolini (paolini@unimc.it), Annalisa Prencipe (annalisa.prencipe@unibocconi.it)

Read Track abstractNegli ultimi anni si è assistito a un intensificarsi di riforme con l’obiettivo di rafforzare la trasparenza e favorire maggiore accountability da parte delle aziende. Il mantenimento delle condizioni di successo aziendale, difatti, risulta influenzato da molteplici fattori, fra i quali, la chiara percezione delle aspettative dei diversi attori sociali, la precisa declinazione dei doveri ai vari livelli organizzativi sull’utilizzo e sul consumo delle risorse, la capacità di instaurare un dialogo duraturo e condiviso con gli stakeholder rilevanti. Naturalmente, l’attitudine dell’azienda a operare preservando il costante orientamento all’efficacia impone la necessità di ripensare ai sistemi di accountability, nell’ottica di assicurare la responsabilizzazione del soggetto che governa, in ciò avocando anche un’azione di controllo.
In questa prospettiva, le aziende oggi devono affrontare e gestire tale cambiamento, con rilevanti ripercussioni soprattutto sui tradizionali sistemi di reporting. Ne è riprova la recente emanazione della Direttiva UE 95/2014, la quale ha rappresentato un elemento di forte innovatività rispetto al passato poiché, fra le altre cose, ha eliminato il divario tra disclosure obbligatoria e volontaria in tema di comunicazione non finanziaria per talune categorie aziendali. Gli ulteriori mutamenti ascrivibili alla diffusione di nuovi veicoli comunicativi (es. social media), all’emanazione di riforme normative sempre più inclini a sollecitare l’inclusione e la sostenibilità nella gestione, alle pressioni esercitate dagli stakeholder affinché siano garantiti adeguati livelli di trasparenza informativa e di responsabilizzazione, rappresentano aree di ricerca.
Questa track vuole, perciò, costituire un momento di incontro e di riflessione tra studiosi, professionisti e cultori delle materie aziendali per offrire supporto alle aziende nel suggerire approcci, modelli e comportamenti, affinché l’accountability possa radicarsi nelle strategie aziendali. Obiettivo della track è analizzare ed evidenziare le tendenze esistenti, soprattutto a seguito dei recenti interventi normativi, nell’ambito dello studio e della pratica dei sistemi di accountability, con riferimento, soprattutto ma non esclusivamente, alla dimensione non finanziaria.
In particolare, i cambiamenti istituzionali, economici, sociali e tecnologici hanno veicolato l’attenzione verso temi quali la sostenibilità, l’inclusione, la trasparenza, il dialogo, i rischi e l’ambiente, allo scopo di meglio interpretare, apprezzare e comunicare i processi di creazione di valore, in una dimensione allargata a tutti gli stakeholder rilevanti. Sono ricompresi, pertanto, in questa track temi di ricerca legati alla comunicazione non finanziaria, ai sistemi di auditing e di controllo, alla gestione sostenibile e alla gestione della dinamica ambientale, sia con riguardo ai contesti delle aziende private e pubbliche, sia con riferimento alle aziende di varie dimensioni.
La track mira a stimolare il dibattito sullo stato dell’arte negli studi nazionali rispetto allo scenario internazionale e a riflettere sulle linee di rinnovamento della ricerca.
Questi le tematiche in evidenza:
• Regolamentazione e nuove tendenze nella comunicazione non finanziaria d’impresa: questa linea tematica accoglie contributi che analizzano i legami tra regolamentazione (intesa in senso ampio) e sistemi di disclosure non finanziaria. In particolare, sono incoraggiati lavori che propongono teorie e metodologie innovative per la verifica dell’impatto delle riforme in materia di informativa non finanziaria sui comportamenti aziendali; analisi dell’impatto di tali riforme sui modelli organizzativi,
di gestione e di controllo; analisi del grado di compliance delle aziende alle disposizioni regolamentari
in tema di reporting di sostenibilità; analisi dell’impatto dei nuovi sistemi di disclosure non finanziaria
sulle decisioni e sui comportamenti degli stakeholder esterni
• Sostenibilità e innovazione nei sistemi di management accounting: questa track accoglie contributi
che analizzano la biunivoca relazione su come gli strumenti di management accounting possano
contribuire ad assicurare la sostenibilità socio-ambientale e come le istanze di sostenibilità,
presentate da diverse categorie di stakeholder, possano condizionare l’innovazione dei sistemi di
management accounting. Sono incoraggiati lavori che propongono approcci metodologici in
discontinuità rispetto al passato, che pongano particolare enfasi sugli strumenti, sugli indicatori qualiquantitativi,
sulla dimensione strategica, impiegati o ideati per misurare la sostenibilità, inclusa
quella ambientale
• Sostenibilità, informazioni non finanziarie e auditing: questa linea tematica accoglie contributi che
analizzano il ruolo dei sistemi di auditing e di assurance in un contesto di crescente attenzione verso
l’accountability. Sono incoraggiati lavori che analizzano, sul piano teorico o empirico, il ruolo dei
sistemi di controllo esterno e di assurance delle informazioni non finanziarie, le sfide che gli auditor
si trovano ad affrontare nel verificare tale tipo di informazioni, le nuove misure di audit quality che
si rende opportuno utilizzare, nonché gli impatti dei sistemi di controllo esterno e di assurance sui
comportamenti aziendali e sulle decisioni dei principali interlocutori esterni
• Sostenibilità e finanza inclusiva: la crescente attenzione alla sostenibilità ha condotto a sviluppi anche
nel campo della finanza, promuovendo forme di finanza sostenibile e inclusiva e creando o
modificando le correlate nuove esigenze informative. Sono incoraggiati lavori che analizzino, sul
piano teorico o empirico, le esigenze informative e i sistemi di misurazione su cui si basa la finanza
inclusiva
• Nuove tendenze di comunicazione non finanziaria nella Storia della Ragioneria: questa linea tematica
accoglie contributi di studiosi di Storia della Ragioneria che abbiano potuto riscontrare esigenze
imposte e/o libera produzione di documenti da parte di realtà aziendali dei secoli passati fino alla
metà del secolo scorso e che abbiano inteso informare i terzi su aspetti non solo di tipo finanziario.
In particolare, sono incoraggiati lavori che propongono teorie e metodologie innovative per la verifica
dell’impatto delle riforme in materia di informativa non finanziaria sui comportamenti aziendali
avvenuti anche nel passato.

Pubblicazione dei contributi
I migliori contributi presentati al Convegno potranno essere sottoposti in fast track alle seguenti
riviste, rispettando l’ordinario processo di referaggio previsto:
- Accounting and cultures/Contabilità e Cultura Aziendale (Editor in Chief: Stefania Servalli)
- Financial Reporting (Editor in Chief: Francesco Giunta)
- Management Control (Editor in Chief: Luciano Marchi)
- Rivista Italiana di Ragioneria e di Economia Aziendale (Editor in Chief: Stefano Coronella)

Thursday 12th September 2019
  Aula 05 17.30-19.00
  Aula 03 17.30-19.00
  Aula 06 17.30-19.00
  Aula 04 17.30-19.00
  Aula 07 17.30-19.00
Friday 13th September 2019
  Aula 05 08.45-10.15
  Aula 03 08.45-10.15
  Aula 06 08.45-10.15
  Aula 04 08.45-10.15
  Aula 07 08.45-10.15

 

PAPERS

Integrated reporting, integrated thinking and sustainable development goals in Universities: a processual view
Rebecca Levy Orelli, Ana Rita Domingues, Francesca Manes Rossi, James Guthrie
AbstractThe 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are challenging organisations in integrating sustainability goals in their strategies and actions. The Integrated Reporting (IR) is aimed at demonstrating to stakeholders the ability of organisations to integrate strategies of financial and non-financial sustainability in one report paying attention to capitals use. The longitudinal case study of the University of Bologna shows the paths of a public university in elaborating plans and reports according to both SDGs and IR capitals.

Integrated Reporting, Cultural Dimensions and Cost of Capital
Luigi Vena, Salvatore Sciascia, Alessandro Cortesi
AbstractSince its introduction, Integrated Reporting (IR) has triggered a rich debate covering several aspects, from the structure and the features of a document to the effects of its publication. Very recently, scholars have examined the negative relationship between IR and the cost of capital for firms, completely missing the opportunity to understand whether this fact is contingent on the cultural context that adopting companies operate in. We fill this gap by resorting to a panel sample of 211 adopters from 31 countries over the period spanning 2009-2017, counting 1384 observations. Our evidence confirms that adopters, on average, benefit from a decrease of 1.4% in the cost of capital. Yet, more importantly, IR effectiveness is exalted in countries with low power distance, strong collectivism values and high level of masculinity, while uncertainty avoidance, long-term orientation and indulgence do not seem to play any moderating role.

Is there a theory of the firm for non-financial reporting? The case of Integrated Reporting
Laura Girella, Giuseppe Marzo, Mario Abela
AbstractWhy do a firm exists and with which objectives are questions that have accompanied the conceptual and practical developments of the theory of the firm in similar albeit different disciplines, such as economics, business economics and finance. Foss (1993) distinguishes between theories of the firm rooted in the economics tradition and those linked to the business tradition. The economics-based theories of the firm originated to contrast the neoclassical view which conceives the firm as a production function, that is they aim to find a rationale for the existence of the firm. In this respect, starting form Coase (1937) contribution, the firm is seen as the result of the market failure. All economics-based theories are about transactions and their costs, and rely on the rejection of (some) fanciful assumptions about perfect and complete markets lying at the heart of neoclassical theory. Competence-based theories have a very different DNA as compared to economics-based ones: they originated from the attempt to explain the different performances achieved by firms operating in the same industry, that is to answer the question ‘why companies operating in the same industry differ in their performance?’. In the group of competence-based theories it is possible to distinguish two main approaches. The first is the Resource-Based View (RBV) of the firm, as elaborated in the pioneering works of Wernerfelt (1984) and Barney (1986). The second is the Dynamic-Capabilities Theory (DCT) of the firm, often also referred to as Evolutionary Theory of the firm (Nelson and Winter, 1982; Teece, 1987 and 2007; Teece, Pisano, Shuen, 1990 and 1997). Since these conceptualisations have been put forth, the reference to a theory of the firm has become essential for those interested also in financial reporting. In fact, a theory of the firm deals with fundamental aspects, such as the what is the nature of the firm (and its boundaries, in the economics tradition) and what are the firm’s main goal and primary stakeholder(s) to which the activity is referred to. The same three issues are also at the core of any reporting system. Reporting is indeed concerned with the nature and the boundaries of the reported object (e.g. the firm or entity) (Girella, 2018), as well as with the achieved goal of the firm for specific stakeholders (for example, earning and value creation for shareholders and other investors, or value added for communities and employees). Despite the significance of such a topic to understand and appreciate the role and objective of accounting and reporting, few studies have extended such investigation to the emergent forms of reporting practices, such as sustainability, intangibles and integrated reporting. Marzo (2014) represents an exception, which has started to problematise how the reference to a theory of the firm can assist the investigation of Intellectual Capital and of its reporting practices in a consistent way. Nonetheless this initial effort, a peripheral number of works have followed this path. This paper aims to fill this void. Starting from the analysis of a representative type of non-financial reporting, namely Integrated Reporting and its framework, it carries out two levels of investigation. First, it explores the theory of the firm which the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) has referred to in developing the above mentioned document. Second, by relying on the results of the first level of analysis, the paper will also assess the internal (in)consistencies of the fundamental pillars at the core of the analysed types of reporting. Moving from this examination, the contribution that this work intends to provide to the literature and practice is twofold. This study is, in the authors’ knowledge, the first attempt to analyse non-financial reporting from a theory of the firm perspective. Accordingly, it can shed light on relevant aspects. First, using a theory of the firm perspective is useful to understand which are the explicit and implicit assumption upon the model of the firm lying at the core of reporting. Indeed, clarifying the theory of the firm at the core of reporting could help identifying and testing hypotheses about the relevance of reporting in many areas of study, such as its role in the value creation process. Moreover, scholars and practitioners could take benefit from understanding the sometimes hidden influence of taken for granted assumptions and therefore, challenge what they could believe to be the natural order of things, whereas it is merely the product of fertile but human minds. Second, the conceptual similarities and differences existing between the forms of reporting that populate the nonfinancial field will emerge, thus providing clarifications in a corporate reporting environment that appear nowadays complex and highly intermingled.

Board of Directors characteristics and Integrated Reporting quality: an empirical analysis
Anna Pistoni, Lucrezia Songini, Patrizia Tettamanzi, Valentina Minutiello, Fabrizio Fratini
AbstractIntegrated Reporting (IR hereafter) can be considered as the most recent progress in attempts over years to expand non-financial reporting and accountability, and to include social and environmental impacts of business. Fundamentally, IR allows providing stakeholders with material information related to organization’s strategy, governance, performance and prospects in a way that reflects the firm’s value creation process. Although the literature concerning the IR framework and its adoption has grown over the last few years, it remains fragmented. If several attention has been paid to the variables that can play a role in the adoption of the IR, only few studies focused precisely on the determinants of the IR quality. With reference to this last aspect, the most relevant drivers pointed out by researchers are: firm size, industry, national context, firm performance (profitability, leverage), assurance, companies’ ownership structure and corporate governance mechanisms. Among the latter, we assumed that the Board of Directors (BoD) characteristics could play an important role in favoring good practices of IR. Some studies, indeed, analyzed the impact of BoD in voluntary disclosure processes, with reference, for example, to its composition, size, distribution of gender, percentage of independent members but findings not always converge and there is not a consensus on the sign of the effect they can have. Therefore, with the aim of shedding light on these facets, this paper analyzes the role and the impact of the BoD features on the IR quality, particularly in terms of compliance’s degree between the IR content and the guidelines suggested in the IR framework developed by the Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC). More in details, in order to perform an objective and replicable assessment of the IR quality, we referred to the Integrated Reporting Scoreboard, proposed by Pistoni et al. (2018) and in particular to its Content area. On the basis of the literature analyzed we developed five research hypotheses. In order to test the hypotheses we conducted an empirical analysis on 54 companies for the period 2013-2016, with a total amount of 216 integrated reports considered. We performed first a univariate analysis and then a multivariate regression to test the research hypotheses. Preliminary research findings highlight that, contrarily to our expectations, a significant relationship between the presence of women in the BoD and the quality of the disclosure is present, but with a negative sign. Moreover, the presence of a high level of education of Bod members has a positive effect on IR quality. Instead, our findings do not confirm that the size of the Board, the number of independent members and their age could have an impact on IR quality. So, we couldn’t confirm associations found in previous literature, such as the relations between the quality of the disclosure and the age of directors or the composition of the Board (in terms of presence of independent members) or, again, the Board size. This paper provides some main contributions to IR research. Firstly, it goes deeper on under developed issues, such as the determinants of IR quality. Secondly, it aims to identify some significant determinants of IR quality related to BoD characteristics and this could be a starting point for future researches. Thirdly, it demonstrates that IR quality is more influenced by the intrinsic and personal characteristics of BoD members than by the organizational features of the board.

DO COMPANIES WALK THE TALK? IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT AND SIGNALLING PRACTICES IN INTEGRATED REPORTING CONTEXT
Giacomo Pigatto, Lino Cinquini, Andrea Tenucci
AbstractIntegrated Reporting aims at achieving the integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) and financial disclosure in a single report, which should represent the degree to which the reporting organisation pursue integrated thinking. In the past few years, an increasing number of organisations have begun to issue their own . Still, it is not clear whether is used by organisation either as a trustworthy signal for better performance and management or as a tool to divert the attention of interested stakeholders through impression management techniques and strategic silence. To close this gap, a performance and disclosure framework has been developed to explore the relationship between disclosure and performance and their “positive signal”, “impression management”, “negative signal”, and “strategic silence” logics. To perform the analysis an indicator to measure the disclosure quality of integrated thinking (ITDI) has been developed and measured for a sample of 184 integrated reports worldwide. The indicator was then used to assess differences in reporting among organisations. The analysis of integrated thinking disclosure and integrated performance displays signalling behaviours as the dominant logic for reporting companies, while impression management and strategic silence are used to a minor extent.

NEW PERSPECTIVES FOR ACCOUNTABILITY IN PUBLIC SECTOR. AN ANALYSIS OF INTEGRATED REPORTING DISCLOSURE AND ITS DETERMINANTS IN THE EUROPEAN SOEs CONTEXT.
Giuseppe Nicolò, Francesca Manes Rossi, Gianluca Zanellato, Adriana Tiron-Tudor
AbstractBackground – In recent years, the concepts of corporate social responsibility and sustainability development have gained the momentum as pivotal elements for the value-creation and prosperity, and fundamental driving factors for the economy of the future (Steyn, 2014; Lai et al., 2016; Bebbington and Unerman, 2018). Moreover, the emerging of the new knowledge-economy has shed light on the importance of intangible assets as critical success factors and competitive advantage drivers for any type of organisations (De villiers and Sharma, 2017; Liu et al., 2018). The public sector already influenced by changes inspired by New Public Management (NPM) and New Public Financial Management (NPFM) and characterised by a high degree of intangibility, is deemed a central actor in the progress towards the sustainable development and strongly involved in activities which shape people’s lives (Dumay et al., 2010). In particular, public sector organisations exert a massive impact on on the environment, society and economy. As such, they have the responsibility to create public value policies in a way that support the sustainable development and social responsibility (Farneti and Siboni, 2011; Garcia-Sanchez et al., 2013). Accordingly, investors’ and stakeholders’ information needs have dramaticaly increased, enlarging, in turn, the accountability discourse in public sector beyond the simple financial domain, including social, environmental, sustainability and intangible issues (Dumay et al., 2010; Biondi and Bracci, 2018; Giacomini et al., 2018). In this scenario, Integrated Reporting (IR), addressing the shortcomings of traditional and sustainability reports, has gained prominence as an evolutionary step in the organisational reporting (Simnett and Huggins, 2015; Beck et al., 2017). IR is based on an innovative reporting approach, combining financial and non-financial information into a single document (Stacchezzini, 2018). However, IR represents more than a simple aggregation of financial and non financial issues, being aimed at providing a forward-looking holistic portrayal on how an organisation creates value in the short, medium and long term, through the interconnection of several factors linked to its financial, social and environmental dimensions (Robertson and Samy, 2015; Maroun, 2018; Kilic and Kuzey, 2018). In this way, IR is considered as a pivotal tool for shaping organisational sustainability and moral responsibility, improving accountability and engagement with stakeholders (Steyn, 2014; Lodhia, 2015; Vesty et al., 2018). Although primarily conceived for private sector entities, it can represent a useful communication instrument also for State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) to improve transparency and legitimacy (Cohen and Karatsimas, 2015; Biondi and Bracci, 2018). In particular, as stated in the introductory guide for IR adoption in the public sector released in 2016 by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) “Integrated Reporting can help to address diverse, and often conflicting, public accountability requirements. An integrated report provides insight into the nature and quality of the organization’s relationships with its key stakeholders, including how and to what extent the organization understands, takes into account and responds to their legitimate needs and interests” (IIRC, 2016, p. 13). On 15 November 2014, the European Union, in recognising the fundamental relevance of non-financial information disclosure, officially released the Directive 2014/95/EU regarding disclosure of non-financial and diversity information (Agostini and Costa, 2016; Venturelli et al., 2017; Manes Rossi et al., 2018). EUD addresses large undertakings considered entities of public interest with more than 500 employees for financial year (EU, 2014). It represents an important regulatory step towards the harmonization of non-financial information among the EU State members, requiring the disclosure of a minimum content of information regarding environmental, social and employee matters, respect for human rights, anti-corruption and bribery matters (Dumay et al., 2018; La Torre et al., 2018). According to the EUD, for each of these topics the entity shall provide: “(a) a brief description of the undertaking’s business model; (b) a description of the policies pursued by the undertaking in relation to those matters, including due diligence processes implemented; (c) the outcome of those policies; (d) the principal risks related to those matters linked to the undertaking’s operations including, where relevant and proportionate, its business relationships, products or services which are likely to cause adverse impacts in those areas, and how the undertaking manages those risks; (e) non-financial key performance indicators relevant to the particular business” (EU, 2014, pp. 4–5). EUD does not prescribe a specific form of report to convey this information, leaving the possibility to choose among a separate non-financial statement or the inclusion of such information in the management report (Carini et al., 2017). Moreover, it is also flexible about the use of the reference framework, permitting the use of national, European or recognised international frameworks, provided that entities indicate which frameworks they have utilised (EU, 2014). Different scholars emphasised the usefulness of , arguing that it may represent one of the most suitable reference frameworks to disclose non-financial information under the EUD requirements (Dumay et al., 2018; La Torre et al., 2018). In particular, the connections between policymakers and politicians involved both in the legislation and IR movement should foster the general adoption of IR as a tool to adhere with the EUD (Dumay et al., 2018; La Torre et al., 2018). As such, the IR introduction can represent the forefront of accountability in public sector allowing to satisfy the growing information needs of the vast range of SOEs stakeholders as well as representing a valid tool to comply with EUD non-financial disclosure mandatory requirements. Purpose - The present paper explores the emerging reporting phenomenon of IR in the context of SOEs, conducting a longitudinal analysis of the level of IR disclosure provided by a sample of European SOEs for the period 2013-2017 in accordance with the IR framework requirements (IIRC, 2013). Moreover, it proposes an analysis of the possible explanatory factors influencing the level of IR disclosure, examining the effects of external assurance, investor protection, corruption perception index, profitability, leverage, size and GRI guidelines adoption. Research design – Content analysis is defined as a “research technique for making replicable and valid inferences from data according to their context” (Krippendorff, 1980, p.21). A balanced sample of IR prepared by a sample of 18 European SOEs for the period 2013-2017 has been selected from the database of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) and a content analysis based on the coding framework developed by Zhou et al. (2017) has been performed in order to assess the level of IC disclosure provide. All SOEs included in the sample follow the definition provided by OECD (2005) and adopted by Grossi et al. (2015, p.275), which defines SOEs as: “enterprises where the state, regional governments or cities have significant control, through full, majority, or significant minority ownership”. An unweighted disclosure index based on a dichotomous approach (0/1 scores) (Setia et al., 2015; Incollingo and Bianchi, 2016; Zhou et al., 2017) has been developed to quantify results collected by the Content Analysis. Furthermore, a fixed-effect panel data analysis is conducted to analyse the relationship between the level of IR disclosure provided by SOEs and some possible determinants. Findings – Results evidence a fair and increasing level of disclosure in general. The analysis outlines an overview of the compliance since the 2013, where results have been quite low, to 2017 where results have seen a slow continuos increasing. The analysed sample also demonstrates differences related to different industry sectors. Indeed, organisations belonging to the “Financial”, “Basic materials” and “Utility” and sectors compete for the ranking as best disclosurer; while the lower disclosure scores have been obtained by the “Consumer Goods” organisations. Moreover, the analysis evidences that a number of factors influences the level of IR disclosure provided in compliance with the IR framework requirements. More specifically, the external assurance, profitability, investor protection and GRI guidelines adoption positively affects the level of IR disclosure, while the size exerts a negative influence. Moreover, the leverage and the level of corruption do not show any effect. Originality/value – There is still a paucity of studies which empirically investigates the IR disclosure practices in the light of adoption and the quality of the reports (Incollingo and Bianchi, 2016; Pistoni et al., 2018). The existing studies mainly address private sector entities (Incollingo and Bianchi, 2016; Haji and Anifowose, 2017; Rivera Arrubla et al., 2017; Sofian and Dumitru, 2017; Zhou et al., 2017; Albertini, 2018; Kilic and Kuzey, 2018a, 2018b; Pistoni et al., 2018) while, the public sector is virtually unaddressed (Guthrie et al., 2017; Manes Rossi, 2018; Montecalvo et al., 2018). To the best of the authors’ knowledge, the present study is innovative in so far as it provides a longitudinal analyses of the state of the art of IR disclosure in the context of SOEs. Furthermore, it is also the first study to examine the impact of some explanatory factors of the level of IR disclosure provided by SOEs. Research limitations/future insights – The research constitutes an exploratory analysis and focuses on a sample of European SOE

 

Change, vagueness and complexity: Integrated Reporting in the public sector
Silvia Iacuzzi, Andrea Garlatti, Paolo Fedele, Alessandro Lombrano
AbstractAccounting and reporting not only tangible but also intangible resources have become ever more popular. Integrated Reporting (IR) recognises that traditional manufactured and financial capitals are not sufficient indicators of sustainability and value creation opportunities. This is particularly so for public entities for whom accountability, legitimacy, transparency as well as value co-creation are crucial. This paper investigates the role of IR in the public sector by examining it in practice with a case study about the University of Udine in Italy, where IR galvanized internal stakeholders into action and ultimately led to some adaptation of its concept. The research sets out the case for IR and its potential to lead to sustainable change. The analysis revealed that the university management and community at large were engaged in the integrated process in order to contribute to the development of new forms of reporting to help ensure not only full disclosure of university assets, but also that the value creation and value delivery potential were uncovered. However, the intrinsic discrepancy between the IR concept and its operationalization brought the University to challenge and debate the IR approach, and, ultimately, to reconceptualize and implement its own version which better fitted its strategic aims, its intended audience and its status as a public entity.

Integrated Performance Plans in Higher Education as means of accounting change. Insights into the Italian context
Annamaria Zampella, Alessandra Allini, Rosanna Spanò, Fiorenza Meucci
AbstractThe recent reforms that characterized the Italian Higher Education led a full revision of the administrative apparatus of these organizations (D’Alessio, 2012; Mussari and Sostero, 2014; Mussari et al., 2015). Indeed, the transition to accrual accounting and the gradual start-up of the analytical accounting have been creating an environment conducive to progressive convergence with performance management (Ricci and Parnoffi, 2013). For these reasons, the National Evaluation Agency of the University System has indicated the Integrated Performance Plans (IPPs) as useful tools to drive the implementation of strategic priorities in coherence with the operational aspects and initiatives aimed at improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the Universities’ performance management systems. However, these tools still have to prove their ability to convey a full rethinking of the Universities’ approach to the changes that nowadays influence their performance and accountability in its broadest sense. From this perspective, the current paper argues that it is necessary to address these issues by bearing in mind that the reinterpretation of the accounting as a social practice permeated by exogenous and endogenous conditions becomes of absolute importance (Miller, 1994). Hence, in this paper we adopt the Broadbent and Laughlin’s MRT as a theoretical framework useful to understand whether and how universities rely upon IPP as tools useful to dialogically convey a profound change in their practises, or as a mere exercise of compliance with strict external and financial accountability aims. This study – conducted examining the last IPP published by 66 Italian Universities – uses a meaning-oriented content analysis to assess the thoroughness of the disclosure and to understand if this is substantive or formal (Ter Bogt & Scapens, 2012). Symbolic techniques do not reflect any real change in activities, while substantive techniques involve real material change in organisational goals, structures, and processes, or in socially institutionalised practices (Ashforth & Gibbs, 1990). Subsequently, descriptive statistics will be applied to the disclosure categories identified and a Chi-square association index together with a Principle Component Analysis (PCA) will be developed. The purpose of the analysis is to demonstrate empirically that an association exists between the different elements (integration with the strategic planning, organizational performance, risk analysis, transparency and anti-corruption, and individual performance) that build the Integrated Performance Plans. The analysis offers the chance for a twofold contribution to theory and practice. Firstly, it expands the theoretical debate offering newer insights on how information is disclosed and the factors influencing disclosure behaviours towards specific accountability purposes, a neglected issue in general and above all in the higher education domain. Moreover, it advances extant literature specifically focusing on IPP in Italian Universities (see Paolini & Soverchia, 2014; Allini et al., 2019). Secondly, it presents interesting practical and policy-making implications. Indeed, also in line with recent contributions (see Tieghi et al., 2018), the Italian University system is progressively switching towards a broader managerial culture, and a more efficient management of resources in support of broader accountability wishes through recourse to holistic approaches.

La certificazione SA8000: standard emergente o fallito?
Cecilia Chirieleison, Alessandro Montrone, Luca Scrucca, Teresa Turzo
AbstractLa Social Accountability 8000 (SA8000) è lo standard internazionale di riferimento per la certificazione volontaria, da parte delle imprese, del rispetto dei diritti dei lavoratori e della creazione delle migliori condizioni lavorative, anche lungo la catena di fornitura. La presente ricerca prende in considerazione tutte le imprese incluse nel database ufficiale con l’obiettivo di valutare in primo luogo la diffusione attuale della certificazione per Paesi e per settori e in secondo luogo il suo tasso di rinnovo da parte delle imprese. I risultati mostrano una concentrazione delle imprese certificate in poche nazioni e un elevatissimo tasso di non rinnovo, che suggerisce una possibile perdita di fiducia nella capacità della certificazione di offrire significativi vantaggi competitivi alle imprese.

Corporate social responsibility and firm value: Do firm size and age matter? Empirical evidence from European listed companies.
Antonio D'Amato, Camilla Falivena
AbstractWhile the current empirical literature has predominantly focused on the direct relationship between Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and firm value, in this paper we aim to explore moderators at the firm level that could contribute to disentangle such a relationship. Based on a dataset of Western European listed companies, we use a moderation analysis of panel data to examine whether firm size and age are drivers of the impact of CSR on firm value. Our estimations show that the relationship between CSR and firm value is moderated by firm size and age so that it is negatively impacted when small and/or young companies are considered. This finding seems to be consistent with the view that CSR initiatives could be ineffective in smaller and younger companies due to their lack of financial resources, experience, reputation etc. Implications for firms are also discussed.

Integrating environmental performances and financial data in a sample of diversified Italian listed firms. A first connectivity test.
Maurizio Cisi, Alessandro Manello, Laura Corazza
AbstractWith this paper, we propose a first concrete idea of connectivity inside the sustainability performance widely invoked by integrated reporting scholars. We estimate environmentally adjusted economic performance scores for a sample of around 150 large firms listed on the Italian stock exchange and operating in different sectors. We merge financial data derived from standard economic-financial data sources, with the information derived from the environmental footprints reported by such companies herein their non-financial or sustainability reports. We measure environmentally adjusted economic performance through a technical efficiency model corrected for the inclusion of emission and environmental damages created by firms’ activities. We analyze our results through a truncated regression for understanding the primary determinant of global performance to highlight managerial practices and economic characters of best performer firms. Our preliminary results show the importance of including non-financial information for computing global performance indicators when firms operate on markets where the environmental sensibility is rising. Managers and policymakers should carefully consider such aspects as significant leverages for supporting sustainable practices.

Differenze culturali nel board e adozione del Report integrato in Europa: Un’analisi empirica
Simona Alfiero, Massimo Cane, Ruggiero Doronzo, Alfredo Esposito, Gianluca Capecci
AbstractSebbene il RI fornisca più informazioni rispetto ai tradizionali bilanci finanziari, è attualmente un documento del tutto volontario. La sua origine deriva dalla teoria degli stakeholder (Freeman, 1984), secondo cui le organizzazioni dovrebbero creare ricchezza per tutti i soggetti che direttamente e/o indirettamente si relazionano con essa, piuttosto che creare valore solo per gli azionisti (Gonzàlez Esteban, 2007). In base a questa teoria la diversità nella composizione del consiglio di amministrazione può essere vista come un indicatore cruciale per individuare la responsabilità sociale di un’impresa, come segno distintivo di un orientamento più vicino ai portatori di interesse. Questa ricerca si pone quindi l'obiettivo di rispondere alle seguenti domande:1) esiste una relazione positiva tra il report integrato e la dimensione del consiglio di amministrazione (RQ1 / H1) e dalla presenza di amministratori stranieri (RQ1 / H2)? 2) l’adozione del report integrato è influenzata dal numero (massa critica - RQ2 / H1) e dal background culturale (mascolinità contro femminilità - RQ2 / H2) degli amministratori stranieri?

 

Can non-financial/visual information in sustainability reports really manage impressions?
Luca Fornaciari, Caterina Pesci, Alice Medioli, Silvia Triani
AbstractImpression management is an innovative framework that encompasses a number of possible strategies for favourably impressing the receivers of accountability information. In recent years, there has been the emergence of empirical and theoretical work focusing on the extent and role of visuals (images, graphs, pictures) in accounting and accountability reports This perspective asserts that a visual device contained in accounting and accountability reports can be a powerful vehicle to manage, distort and direct readers’ impressions with a view to convey a positive image of the organisation in relation to a given subject matter or more generally about the organisation itself. Therefore, many studies have used the impression management concept as a lens for interpreting organizational and/or managerial attitudes and motivations underlying the use of visual disclosure. However, what is far less evident from extant research is whether such impression management strategies do actually influence the readers’ decision-making process. This lack in literature should be addressed because it concerns the concrete usefulness of impression management studies that, without considering the real effectiveness of impression management tactics in achieving the presumed intent of resulting in a more favorable light, could incur the risk of constituting a mere academic exercise that does not present any concrete relevance in the real world. Concretely, and informed by the economic agency-theory based strand of impression management this study investigates the idea that a reliance on visual devices will have a significant effect on readers’ investment decisions and thereby on market value. From a methodological viewpoint, Ohlson’s (1995) modified model has been used to analyze the impact on market value of graphs contained in sustainability reports of listed companies based in three European Countries (Spain, Italy and France). The results show that visual/graph information is value relevant, but it negatively affects investment decisions. This last surprising result and its implication are discussed and problematized in our paper.

Sostenibilità e Innovazione: quale prospettiva per le PMI?
Elena Cristiano, Franco Ernesto Rubino, Francesca Aura, Olga Ferraro, Tonia Tassone
AbstractLa crescente attenzione del mercato, degli investitori e della società in genere verso le attività e i programmi di natura sociale e ambientale implementati dalle imprese ha incentivato le imprese a sviluppare azioni di Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) per costruire una relazione positiva con i loro stakeholder. Adottare un approccio di responsabilità sociale appare ad oggi una prerogativa imprescindibile per un’impresa che intenda avere successo sul mercato, nonostante sia difficile dimostrare l’evidenza empirica di una relazione positiva tra CSR e performance dell’impresa. Numerosi studi hanno cercato di indagare la natura e la direzione di tale relazione, senza tuttavia riuscire a pervenire a risultati univoci e consistenti. I risultati degli studi condotti, infatti, sono fortemente contrastanti da un lato per la mancanza di strumenti e meccanismi di misurazione idonei e condivisi soprattutto per quanto riguarda la Corporate Social Performance (CSP), dall’altro per la debolezza delle costruzioni teoriche relative sia alla CRS sia alla CSP. Le difficoltà riguardano soprattutto le modalità attraverso cui misurare l’impatto in termini di sostenibilità delle attività aziendali. Gli aspetti qualitativi, infatti, così importanti nell’ambito della CSR, sono difficilmente codificabili in indicatori/misure monetari e oggettivi. Il nuovo scenario legislativo (D. Lgs. n. 254/2016) che ha visto il susseguirsi di interventi nell’ambito della responsabilità sociale di impresa ha comportato nuove sfide in termini di cambiamenti organizzativi, gestionali e strategici che hanno indotto in alcuni casi ad un adeguamento dei sistemi di rendicontazione tradizionali e in altri all’introduzione di nuovi e, talvolta, più opportuni sistemi di rendicontazione. L’attenzione si è focalizzata sulla comunicazione non finanziaria delle attività intraprese nell’ottica della sostenibilità, dell’inclusione, della trasparenza, della salvaguardia dell’ambiente e dei processi di creazione del valore. La rapida diffusione degli strumenti per la rappresentazione dei risultati non espressamente economici, come l’Integrated Reporting o il Bilancio Sociale, mostrano chiaramente quanto siano cambiati gli obiettivi aziendali. Il presente lavoro è solo un punto di partenza per lo sviluppo futuro di una ricerca più articolata che, partendo dalle basi teoriche evidenziate attraverso un’analisi della letteratura, si pone un duplice obiettivo. Innanzitutto essa avrà lo scopo di indagare sulle reali motivazioni che spingono le imprese in generale e quelle di piccola dimensione in particolare ad attuare politiche di sostenibilità, con la conseguente rappresentazione delle informazioni non finanziarie. Successivamente si cercherà di individuare l’impatto delle riforme di rendicontazione sociale sulle performance delle imprese, con particolare attenzione alle PMI. In particolare si vuole indagare sull’esistenza di una correlazione tra l’impegno negli aspetti ambientali, sociali e di governance (ESG) e le performance economico-finanziarie. Il progetto di ricerca ha l’ambizione di individuare degli indicatori e degli strumenti che riescano a misurare in modo innovativo le azioni di CSR e i possibili effetti sulle performance aziendali e, di conseguenza, l’elaborazione di modelli di social accountability.

Mandatory vs. Voluntary exercise on Non-financial Reporting. Does a normative/coercive isomorphism facilitate an increase in quality?
Matteo Molinari, Roberto Di Pietra, Jonida Carungu
AbstractRecently, Non-Financial Reporting (NFR) has gained relevance within the European level and different perspectives (legislative, professional and academic). From the legislative perspective, the issuing of the Directive 2014/95/EU has required Member States to enact their respective regulations and move from a voluntary to a mandatory exercise of the NFR practices. Thereby, this paper aims at investigating the quality of NFR in the light of the recent European Directive 2014/95/EU. Specifically, our work focuses on the assessment of the Non-Financial Disclosure (NFD) level of the Italian companies obliged through Legislative Decree no. 254/2016. Our study is grounded on a conceptual model consistent with the institutional isomorphism mechanism, in the context of the neo-institutional theory (DiMaggio and Powell, 1983). The method used to develop the analysis is mainly qualitative, based on both a deductive and inductive approach (Smith, 2017). A content analysis of 184 NFRs is manually conducted on a sample of 92 companies, which have been involved previously in the process of NFD on voluntary basis. Afterwards, a longitudinal analysis is carried out in order to assess the quality of the NFD exercised from a voluntary to a mandatory basis. Our preliminary findings suggest that the level of quality of NFD does not increase moving from a voluntary to a mandatory basis. The contribution of this explorative study is threefold. Firstly, we contribute to the social and environmental accounting literature that focuses on the NFD quality assessment (Daub, 2007; Habek and Wolniak, 2016; Lock and Seele, 2016; Bouten et al., 2011; Michelon et al., 2015; Romolini et al., 2014). Secondly, we contribute to the literature that emphasize the role of mimetic, coercive and normative isomorphism mechanisms on the accounting systems and reporting practices (Di Maggio and Powell, 1983; Mizruchi and Fein, 1999; Roszkowska-Menkes and Aluchna, 2017). Thirdly, we contribute to the research gaps for academics highlighted by La Torre et al. (2018) on the mandatory corporate reporting as consequence of normative requirements and by Roszkowska-Menkes and Aluchna (2017) on the relationship between regulation and mimetic, coercive and normative isomorphic mechanisms among organizations. Keywords: Accountability; Non-financial information; Non-financial report; Sustainability report; Accounting; Regulation; Sustainability; Social and Environmental Accounting, Corporate Reporting; Isomorphism.

Risk appetite in banks' reports
Silvia Panfilo, Chiara Mio , Marisa Agostini
AbstractRisk appetite is defined as the broad-based amount of risk an entity is willing to accept in the pursuit of its vision (COSO, 2004). Starting from this definition, the present paper aims to investigate entities’ ability and willingness to define and disclose their risk appetite, focusing in the banking industry where it should especially be part of decision- making processes in the pursuing of such entities’ mission. Both the quality and the focus of risk appetite disclosure are examined in different banks’ reports. The results emphasize the role of banks’ integrating reporting in defining and assessing risk appetite, comparing this disclosure with that provided in annual reports (of a matched sample) and in banks’ specific documentation about risks (Pillar 3 reports). Preliminary results show an increasing amount of RA information in all reports (Integrated Reports, Annual reports, Pillar 3) along the years. Moreover, in line with agency and signaling theories’ expectations, risk appetite disclosure quality – i.e. disclosure completeness, tone, temporal perspective – is found to be higher in Integrated Reports than in annual reports.

Fair Value Illiquid Assets and the Opacity Discount in Banks’ Valuation
Giulio Anselmi
AbstractThe paper investigates the impact of illiquid fair value (Level 2 and Level 3) assets on banks’ valuation, with a focus on the change in the ratio between holdings of Level 3 assets (the most opaque and illiquid fair value asset category) and holdings of Level 2 assets. The boundary between Level 3 and Level 2 assets is blurred and less clear than the one between Level 1 and Level 2 assets. This unclear border provides room for opportunistic behavior by management which can opt for the less transparent Level 3 instrument instead of Level 2. The paper introduces changes into Level 3-to-Level 2 assets ratio as new measure for capturing an increase in the opacity of fair value assets and suggests a negative relationship between the increase of this ratio and price-to-book-value for European banks. The rationale behind this intuition is that market participants understand a growth of Level 3-to-Level 2 assets ratio as an increase of the opacity of firm’s fair value assets, since Level 3 assets might offer similar features as extremely illiquid Level 2 assets, though relying on an entirely proprietary model-based valuation. With a sample of 35 European banks and a time horizon from 2009 to 2018, I find that an increase of 100 bps in Level 3-to- Level 2 assets ratio drives a decrease of 67.5 bps (81.3 bps with firm-year fixed effects) in price-to-book value. Results are robust when compared with different measures of firm relative valuation and with another measure of illiquidity in fair value assets holdings (Level 2-to-Level 1 assets ratio).

L’IMPATTO DELLA SOSTENIBILITÀ SUI NUOVI MODELLI DI BUSINESS E SULLA MISURAZIONE DEI RISULTATI. LA STIMA DEL VALORE ECONOMICO E SOCIALE GENERATO DALL’ALBERGO DIFFUSO
Barbara Iannone, Antonietta Cosentino
AbstractIl nostro lavoro analizza le peculiarità di un nuovo modello di business, l’albergo diffuso, una delle risposte più interessanti alla domanda turistica sensibile ai contenuti della sostenibilità e del rispetto per l'ambiente. Tale diversa concezione del “fare impresa” in un settore così fortemente caratterizzante l’economia del nostro paese, ci induce ad interrogarci sull’opportunità di utilizzare degli strumenti di valutazione delle performance economico-sociali alternativi a quelli propri dell’accountability tradizionale o prevalente. In particolare, useremo il metodo del Social Return on Investiment (SROI) per valutare il ritorno economico-sociale, appunto, del capitale investito nell’albergo diffuso. Il nostro approccio mira ad evidenziare da un lato, l’impatto che le istanze di sostenibilità provenienti da diverse categorie di stakeholder hanno avuto sulla definizione del nuovo modello di business, dall’altro, in che modo il sistema di management accounting ne viene influenzato. Dopo aver descritto le caratteristiche dell’albergo diffuso e dell’indicatore SROI, applicheremo il modello ad un caso studio italiano e metteremo a confronto i risultati rilevati con i tradizionali indicatori di performance economico-finanziaria-patrimoniale per offrire un quadro più completo del valore creato dallo specifico modello di business.

 

A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Volkswagen Letter to Shareholders after the Diesel Scandal
Alice Francesca Sproviero, Cristina Florio
AbstractCorporate scandals are events frequently followed by public distrust, intensified scrutiny and corporate measures aimed at explaining the wrongdoing. In the attempt to cope with these adverse consequences, companies may adopt a responsibility-driven approach to reporting and leverage on voluntary reporting to fulfil share/stakeholders’ informational rights. Letter to shareholders (LS) is one of the most important form of voluntary reporting that facilitates the company (in the person of the signer) to address a message to share/stakeholders. Drawing on Gray et al.’s (1996) definition of accountability, this study aims to inspect how LS helps discharge the duty to provide explanations in time of scandals. It particularly focuses on the Volkswagen “dieselgate” and critically examines the discourses that dominate the LS issued in the annual report 2015. The findings point out that the LS serves as an official document to openly apologise about the occurrence and refers to the scandal through metaphors and value assumptions. In particular, Volkswagen Chief Executive Officer writes about the scandal throughout the LS, however without mentioning the word “dieselgate”, and represents all the social actors involved in, and affected by, the scandal. This study contributes to prior literature on the Volkswagen dieselgate by providing insights on the company communication behaviour. It also contributes to extant literature on the LS by adding understandings of the discourses that may help companies discharge accountability through this document, especially in time of scandals.

CbCR disclosure in the European Banking Sector. Does foreign cash holding really matter?
Sara Longo, Antonio Parbonetti, Michele Fabrizi
AbstractUsing Country-by-country Reporting (CbCR) disclosure at bank-level data on listed European banks, we examine first how investors react to the announcement of the disclosure about the exactly amount of foreign cash according to the country where it is held distinguishing between tax haven countries and not. Our results show cash is valued overall positively by investors every time they know exactly where and how much it is held in other countries different from the headquarters’ country. However, every time investors know exactly where foreign cash is held, they have a different reaction. Foreign cash held in tax haven countries is not positively valued and the reasons can be found in tax considerations as well as in managerial benefits. Overall, our findings document that the new disclosure imposed by the CbCR assumes positive connotations according to the need to increase transparency in the banking industry. This study contributes to the literature in the way that thanks to the CbCR banks can facilitate information production by maintaining incentives for markets participants to specialize in analysing information about the bank.

Has the disclosure of alternative indicators by digital companies changed in recent years?
Francesca Cappellieri, Rosa Vinciguerra, Anna Gravante
AbstractThis study will aim at understanding whether the companies operating in the digital sector, taking into account their specific business model, use alternative indicators (both financial and non-financial) to supplement those that can be deduced from the economic-financial disclosure. The investigation will be carried out on two main research fields: ? Alternative Performance Measures (APM), metrics “generally derived directly from GAAP results and thus easy to reconcile” () to the latter, such as Operating Profit, EBIT, EBITDA - with their adjusted versions -, Adjusted Net Profit and Adjusted Earnings Numerator; ? Key Performance Indicators (KPI) (), both financial - not defined by an authoritative standard setter, that can be based on GAAP information - and nonfinancial – such as number of stores, number of employees, and number of subscribers or advertisers APM is understood as a financial measure of historical or future financial performance, financial position, or cash flows, other than a financial measure defined or specified in the applicable financial reporting framework (). The measurement of APM indicators is not standardized and the discretion used for their definition and basis of calculation can lead to the widespread of these measures that do not present the trustworthiness of GAAP metrics. The constraints that distinguish the mandatory financial statement could therefore, push the administrators to use the voluntary disclosure on alternative performance indicators for the sole purpose of communicating – through the changes made to the main GAAP parameters - economic-financial results in line with market expectations or consistent with the contractual conditions explicitly and implicitly established with the various categories of stakeholders/shareholders and creditors in the first place. Unlike before, there is no unambiguous definition of Key Performance Indicators (KPI). indicators. Some literature limits the scope of these metrics to non-financial measures (i.e. “it may be the number of visits to contacts with the key customers who make up most of the profitable business” ()). On the other hand, other authors include both financial and non-financial measures in this set of indicators. In line with the latter perspective, KPIs could represent a tool for directors to assess the impact of their implemented strategies on the firm value (internal function) () and, when reported externally, they could allow readers to carry out a critical evaluation on the company’s performance (external function) (). As regard disclosed measures, the empirical evidence has shown that there are different types of KPI, which change, taking a different label and meaning, depending on the industry (). For this reason, it appears complex to define the boundaries of the analysis and to provide a clear and univocally acceptable definition. This recent proliferation of these non-GAAP categories has led both regulators and practitioners to reemphasize the importance of consistency and comparability in financial reporting. Therefore, while there are no rules that aim to regulate the disclosure of KPI, in 2015 the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) issued its Guidelines on Alternative Performance Measures. On June 30, 2015, the ESMA issued new guidelines on APMs, substituting the advisory note issued in 2005 by CESR. The CESR issued its first document on APMs to define a high-level APM framework, but the document is not detailed and its application was not consistent. These guidelines, pertaining to entities issuing listed stocks and bonds, require the disclosure of financial information, according to the Transparency Directive, and the submittal of an informative prospectus, according to the Prospectus Directive. Entities would have had to adopt the guidelines starting from June 3, 2016 onwards, and the national stock exchange regulators were to enforce them. In Italy, CONSOB performs this duty and, as previously mentioned, has already adopted ESMA guidelines in December 2015. The guidelines refer to all the APMs regularly used in financial communications and prospectuses, including management reports and press releases issued according to the Transparency Directive and communications about financial results according to the Market Abuse Regulation. However, these guidelines are not compulsory for financial statements (composed of balance sheet, income statement and notes). This intervention aims to achieve an increase of usefulness and transparency of APMs and an improvement of comparability, reliability, and comprehensibility of these figures. According to ESMA Guidelines, firms should report APM in a clear and readable way, using meaningful labels adequately reflecting their contents and calculation basis to avoid the detriments of users and to improve shareholder protection. These names should not be overly optimistic or confusingly similar to GAAP figures. Furthermore, the ESMA requires a reconciliation between non-GAAP indicators and its closest GAAP measures. In alignment with these Guidelines, companies should clarify the usefulness of APM to better show to users their relevance and reliability and also the reasons for which they can integrate the GAAP information improving comprehensibility of the financial position, cash flows and financial performance of the company. The ESMA regulation shall provide that APM should not be presented with more prominence, emphasis, or authority than the GAAP figures. In order to enhance the comparability and to ensure consistency, when a company discloses an APM, it should always provide the value of previous periods - in order to observe its change over time - and it should demonstrate that the definition and calculation of this APM is always consistent over the years. This study aims to deepen these themes, first by giving a theoretical framework and then investigating the effect that the ESMA Guidelines have had on the Non-GAAP disclosure in European listed companies operating in digital sector. This study contributes to the limited theoretical and empirical research on these particular events, analysing, specifically, the degree of compliance of companies with the rules recently issued by the ESMA and investigating the level of communication through KPI.

Religious social norms as a General Contextual Factor: the Influence on Environmental, Social, and Governance Disclosure
Libero Mario Mari, Simone Terzani, Teresa Turzo
AbstractThis study examines the relationship between ESG disclosure and local religious norms of firms’ stakeholders. It is not too much known about how religiosity influences firms’ ESG disclosure process. We use a country-level measure of religiosity estimated through three different variables provided by WVS. Country-weight least squares regression tests for a relevant relation between religiosity and ESG disclosure. Also, clustering regression analysis assesses the strength of each religious affiliation on ESG disclosure. Since religions rely on different beliefs, we expect differences regarding the influence of each faith on ESG disclosure.

L’APPLICAZIONE IN ITALIA DELLA NORMATIVA RELATIVA ALLA RENDICONTAZIONE SULLE INFORMAZIONI NON CONTABILI (NON FINANZIARIE): ALLA RICERCA DELLA CONFRONTABILITA’
Claudio Sottoriva, Andrea Cerri
AbstractCon il decreto legislativo 30 dicembre 2016, n. 254 è stata attuata nel nostro ordinamento la direttiva 2014/95/UE in materia di informazioni non contabili (non finanziarie) e di informazioni sulla diversità (c.d. dichiarazioni non finanziarie, DNF). La ricerca svolta, e tutt'ora in corso, confronta a livello europeo le DNF 2017 con quelle del 2018 di società operanti nel settore della produzione energetica.

 

CEOs temporal orientation and risk propensity in earnings conference calls: the use of language as determinant of financial corporate policies.
Eleonora Monaco, Serena Iacobucci, Loreta Cannito, Riccardo Palumbo
AbstractIn this paper we investigate the relation between CEOs temporal orientation expressed in spoken language and policies related to corporate risk. We demonstrate a relation between CEOs temporal orientation - measured with linguistic dimensions of temporal focus and forward vs. backward-looking - and corporate risk taking. Specifically, we show the existence of a significant negative (positive) relationship between future (past) orientation and book leverage, meaning that future (past) oriented CEOs engage in low (high) leverage choices as they are less (more) prone to rely on external financing acquisition. Moreover, we find a negative (positive) relation between future orientation and cash-to-assets, so that highly future (past) oriented CEOs have a tendency of maintaining less (more) cash and therefore a higher (lower) propensity towards investment activities.

Corporate Governance structure and CSR disclosure: some insights into Italian Listed Companies
Veronica Tibiletti, Pier Luigi Marchini, Katia Furlotti, Alice Medioli
AbstractThe issue of corporate governance has long been the subject of interest and study by researchers in business administration with regard to the importance of good management and administration for business success from various perspectives: legislation, self-regulatory codes, characteristics and rules that guide the actions of governing bodies. Some studies have investigated the effect of the composition of the governing bodies with reference to the value of the company, focusing on particular features of the board, such as the number of executive directors (i.e., Agrawal and Knoeber, 1996; Hermalin and Weisbach, 1991; Weisbach, 1988; Kini et al., 1995; Vafeas, 1999; Brick and Chidambaran, 2010). In recent years, these insights have been pointed in a development-oriented direction to emphasize the importance of characteristics and composition of governing bodies in order to determine more accurate and effective business management. Board of directors is one of the most important elements of corporate governance mechanism in overseeing the conduct of the companies’ business is being properly managed by their agents. Some studies analysed that board size effects will impact on communication and coordination problems, influencing the ability of the board to control management. In the same way, independent directors are perceived as an important tool for monitoring management behaviour (Rosenstein and Wyatt, 1990).. Another important Corporate Governance characteristic is the presence of CEO Duality, that occurs when the same person holds both the CEO and board chairman positions in corporation (Rechner and Dalton, 1989). The combination of CEO and chairman positions reflects leadership and governance issues. Many contributions have also analysed the relationship between the board diversity, in terms of heterogeneity in the composition of the bodies, and specific business success variables, such as performance (i.e., economic, financial or organizational), market price or value of the company. Often, these studies consider the diversity on boards under different perspectives including gender differences but also differences in terms of age, race, culture, competence, professional background, personal characteristics of managers, etc. (Erhardt et al., 2003; Adams and Funk, 2010; Anderson et al., 2011; Maznevski, 1994; Milliken and Martins, 1996; Boeker, 1997; Watson et al., 1998; Burke, 2000; Fondas, 2000; Kilduff et al., 2000; Timmerman, 2000). Recently, in particular, several studies focused on analyzing the quality of CG, also through a rating score able to summarize the heterogeneous dimensions of the phenomenon, like the ones before mentioned, has become a crucial point of interest (Jiang et al, 2008; Bhagat and Bolton, 2008; Ben, 2014; Black et al., 2017; Cosma et al., 2018). And this for many reasons, like the possibility for the companies to signal their own structure and their governance quality to stakeholders with a synthetic ratio, as well as to allow investors to have more accurate investment decisions. In the same time, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) developed by the decision of the Boards become an extremely relevant and strategic issue in the decision making process of the companies. Specifically, CSR can be defined as the responsibilities of a company towards society and the environment; a “concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis” (EU, 2001, p. 7). In recent years, the quantity of studies devoted to corporate social responsibility has increased (Geng-qing Chi, 2019, p. 1). In particular, ample CSR researches have focused on the relationship between business and society, or the role of business with regard to CSR (Garriga and Melé, 2004; Scherer and Palazzo, 2007). In this context, despite the strategic role that communication can act for CSR activities, little attention has been paid to CSR communication aspects (Kim, 2019, p. 1143; Brammer and Pavelin, 2006; Ihlen et al. 2011). The commitment to inform and involve stakeholders, in-fact, necessitates an adequate flow of communication, focusing on relevant content. In this respect, many companies have gradually implemented social and sustainability reporting in order to establish a positive channel of communicating their corporate social responsibility to stakeholders (Hsu et al., 2013, p. 142; see also Lozano, 2013). Non-financial reporting, in-fact, has become one of the best way for communicating CSR initiatives, making the stakeholders aware of CSR efforts (Morsing and Schultz, 2006). Nowadays, in Italy, Legislative Decree N. 254 of 2016 requires “public interest entities” to integrate statutory financial statements with disclosure of environmental, social and governance strategies with regard to documents from financial year 2017 onwards. CSR disclosure (CSRD) is thus moving from a voluntary to a legislative perspective. About CSRD, a widespread literature exists, developed on different perspective. Several studies analyse the importance of a good CSRD. Some researches analyse the importance of gaining returns from companies’ CSR, such as company reputation, customer loyalty and customer-company identification (e.g. Calabrese et al., 2015; Du, Bhattacharya & Sen, 2010; Morsing & Schultz, 2006; Nielsen & Thomsen, 2007; Schmeltz, 2012). Other studies analysed the impact of CSRD on the relationship between company and its stakeholders (Searcy and Buslovich, 2014; Bouten et al., 2011). Other researches are focused on the reasons that move a growing number of companies in reporting about their CSR commitment by means of sustainability reports, websites and other CSR communication activities (e.g. Kolk & Pinkse, 2010; Perrini, 2005); other papers analyse the effectiveness of CSR disclosure (e.g. Castaldo et al., 2009; Weber, 2008). Therefore, a sizeable part of the literature offers many approaches to the measurement of company disclosed CSR commitments (e.g. Bouten et al., 2011; Guthrie & Abeysekera, 2006; Longo et al., 2005). Among these works, many studies are focused on the importance of the engagement in order to ensure a good and effectiveness disclosure. Font et al. (2016) suggest different frameworks to clarify the reasons for CSR engagement, which can explain the shift towards more material CSR practices, and therefore communication such as Reputation and risk management theory, (Bebbington et al., 2008; Adams, 2008); Resource-based view of the firm (Russo & Fouts, 1997); Stakeholder Theory (Wood, 1991); Creating Shared Value (CSV) (Porter & Kramer, 2006; Wheeler et al., 2003). To close with research about CSR disclosure, several studies, are concentrate on the specific instrument of accountability used by companies; in the recent years, these studies consider mainly the integrated report (e.g. Villiers et al., 2016; Fifka, 2013; Frias-Aceituno et al., 2013; Frias-Aceituno et al., 2014; Jensen & Berg, 2012; Lai et al., 2014; Stacchezzini et al., 2016). In this very wide scenario, it results extremely interesting to focus on the relationship between the Corporate Governance characteristics, structure and composition (such as size of the Board, independence, CEO duality, gender diversity) and functioning of the Boards and the CSR disclosure policies as the result of a “strategic view” of the board of directors of the company. In particular, it is important to understand how the characteristics of the Corporate Governance System influences and impact on the CSR disclosure and in particular on typology, characteristics and completeness of CSR reports. The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between corporate governance characteristics on the extent of corporate social responsibility disclosure. Paper aims to analyse the following research hypothesis: H1: Corporate Governance characteristics and functioning of the Boards are positively associated with the presence of CSR disclosure. H2: Corporate Governance characteristics and functioning of the Boards are positively associated with the level of assurance of CSR disclosure. H3: Corporate Governance characteristics and functioning of the Boards are positively associated with the level of detail provided on CSR key elements disclosed in the report. H4: Corporate Governance characteristics and functioning of the Boards are positively associated with the relevance of stakeholder engagement disclosed in the CSR report. The analysis is proposed in the Italian context with particular reference to the Italian listed companies in 2016. In this respect, the recent legislation comes from a debate rooted in time and space on CSRD, of which the numerous studies and researches are really indicative. The analysed period allow to link the quality of CG system to CSR disclosure before the EU Directive 2014/95 that lays down the rules on disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by large companies, that was

THE RELATION BETWEEN EARNINGS QUALITY AND EQUITY BETA: EVIDENCE FROM ITALY
Claudia Frisenna, Daniele Greco, Davide Rizzotti
AbstractObserving a sample of 153 non-financial firms listed on the Milan Stock Exchange, we investigate the relation between earnings quality (EQ) and equity beta. We suppose that earnings quality, as a determinant of the information risk, influences the cost of capital, through the equity beta. We also examine the EQ-beta relation considering how it is affected by the ownership concentration. Using the Dechow-Dichev model, modified by McNichols, to measure EQ, our results support the prediction of a significant relation between earnings quality and cost of equity, and they show that the EQ-equity beta association is stronger for the firms with a higher ownership dispersion, suggesting that in Italy investors give more weight to the “quality” of the financial information provided by this kind of firms, while they follow other information channels to form their portfolio decisions for the firms with a high ownership concentration.

Hybrid models for hybrid projects: the development of accountability tools and processes in crowdfunding campaigns
Alessia Pedrazzoli, Ulpiana Kocollari, Maddalena Cavicchioli
AbstractHybrid organizations require integrated models and adequate mechanisms to deal with multiple accountability demands that are able to bring a new equilibrium in the trade-offs between their social and economic purposes. Accountability is particularly relevant in the funding process where organizations’ stakeholders need to asses value-creation of both economic and social objectives. The aim of this study is to investigate how the development of hybrid accountability tools and processes in reward-based crowdfunding campaigns can foster the funding of hybrid projects and the sizing of their social mission. Using advanced statistical techniques, we analyse a sample composed of 798 hybrid projects collected on three crowdfunding platforms: StartSomeGood, Indiegogo and Chuffed. Results identify three different dimensions of crowdfunding accountability mechanisms: organizational identity, performance accountability and participation. Each of them has different and remarkable effects on both the amount raised involved and on the number of backers. Results contribute to the individuation of hybrid accountability models that can be used for the funding purposes of the social entrepreneurs engaged in crowdfunding campaigns. These hybridization features are crucial for the scalability of the multi-purposes’ projects addressing social problems.

L’innovazione organizzativa nella Pubblica Amministrazione ed il contributo di SVIMAP
Massimo Bianchi
AbstractScopo di questo paper è quello di tracciare il quadro del trentennio di attività di SVIMAP, Network di Docenti e Ricercatori di Area Pubblica, e del contributo da esso dato all’innovazione organizzativa nella pubblica amministrazione con , nell’ultimo decennio, l’introduzione delle problematiche legate alla digitalizzazione di strutture e procedure organizzative. In questo quadro, che si sviluppa parallelamente all’evoluzione di AIDEA, emergono i contributi dati da SVIMAP attraverso l’attività dei suoi membri, non solo per la promozione della managerializzazione della Pubblica Amministrazione Italiana ma anche per le iniziative rivolte a promuovere all’estero la modernizzazione dei servizi ai cittadini ed ai sistemi locali.

 

Workforce reduction in private family firms: a Socio Emotional Wealth perspective
Alessandro Cirillo, Fernando Muñoz-Bullón, María J. Sánchez-Bueno, Salvatore Sciascia
AbstractEmployee downsizing is a significant managerial topic that transcends the firm’s boundaries and has profound social implications. While the topic has been on researchers’ agenda for a long time, literature is still looking for a finer understanding of downsizing in family firms, i.e. the majority of employers worldwide. Using the Socio-Emotional Wealth perspective, this study investigates family firm status as an antecedent of employee downsizing in private firms and explores the contingency effect of export propensity and financial vulnerability. Based on a large sample of private Spanish firms, our results, partially unexpected, suggest that private family firms downsize less than their nonfamily counterparts, no matter what their financial vulnerability level is, and that this effect is mitigated by export intensity.

Female directors on corporate boards in the Italian family businesses
Elisa Raoli, Barbara Sveva Magnanelli, Luigi Nasta
AbstractThe purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of female corporate board presence on firm performance with a focus on family firms. The analysis is conducted on a sample of 165 Italian listed firms from 2011 to 2016, the period during which the mandatory gender quota was introduced in Italy. The results show a positive association between the presence of women on boards and firm performance, especially if the firm is owned by a family. This study enriches the literature on female directors and their effects on firm performance in a context that has not yet been investigated due to the recent introduction of the mandatory gender quota regulation. Moreover, the study provides some baselines for analyzing the effects of female directors within the family firm governance system. KEYWORDS: female quota, female directors, firm performance, family firms, Italian context.

La natura "familiare" dell’impresa e l’influenza sulla qualità dell’informativa non finanziaria
Enrico Maria Bocchino, Valter Gamba
AbstractL’attenzione riservata dai ricercatori alle imprese familiari si è tradotta in una consistente produzione scientifica, che ne ha definitivamente sancito il rilievo in ambito accademico. Tale interesse trova giustificazione nel ruolo di assoluta egemonia delle imprese familiari nel panorama economico mondiale, in termini anzitutto di numerosità, ma anche dei tassi di occupazione e di ricchezza espressi. Parallelamente, la crescente consapevolezza e la critica sull’impatto ambientale e sociale delle attività d’impresa hanno coinciso con una spinta a soddisfare in modo efficace la necessità di informazioni provenienti da una gamma più ampia di soggetti rispetto ad azionisti e creditori. Oltre al consolidato (e risalente) filone sulla possibilità di attribuire alla disclosure di informazioni non finanziarie un carattere di volontarietà, ovvero di obbligatorietà, la ricerca in materia ha, negli ultimi anni, registrato il levarsi la voce di diversi studiosi che hanno espresso preoccupazione per il significativo aumento delle informazioni finanziarie e non. La natura familiare dell’impresa costituisce un elemento di estremo interesse per la ricerca, tanto nell’ambito delle imprese familiari, quanto per le tematiche connesse all’informativa non finanziaria. Infatti, l’informativa non finanziaria risulta intimamente influenzata dal valore che i diversi stakeholder dell’impresa conferiscono a questo tipo di informazione. In questo ambito, l’identificazione della famiglia nell’impresa familiare, e con l’ambiente, nonché la presenza di obiettivi tipicamente non finanziari e di lungo periodo, possono stravolgere le regole che reggono l’informativa nelle imprese non familiari. Cionondimeno, la tematica dell’informativa non finanziaria delle imprese familiari, ancorché di natura volontaria, rappresenta un percorso di studio tuttora relativamente inesplorato. Questo studio è peranto volto a determinare, attraverso l'utilizzo di metodi di ricerca quantitativi, se e in quale misura la natura familiare influenza la qualità dell’informativa non finanziaria. Tale obiettivo si declina in tre ipotesi di ricerca: H1. la natura familiare dell’impresa influenza in modo positivo la qualità dell’informativa non finanziaria; H2. la presenza nell’organo amministrativo del fondatore influenza in modo positivo la qualità dell’INF; H3. la qualità dell’INF diminuisce all’avvicendarsi delle generazioni al comando dell’impresa. Il campione di riferimento comprende tutte le aziende quotate sul Mercato Telematico Azionario (MTA) gestito dalla Borsa Italiana; e le osservazioni si riferiscono al quinquennio 2014-2018. La ricerca si propone di contribuire al dibattito sull’informativa non finanziaria nelle imprese familiari, nel confronto con i rilievi sulle imprese non familiari, concorrendo ad arricchire la comprensione dei meccanismi che regolano tale informativa. Sotto un profilo pratico, la ricerca potrebbe inoltre supportare l’individuazione di best practice di settore, compatibilmente con l’assunto che una migliore informativa non finanziaria sia in grado di creare valore aggiunto nell’indirizzare le decisioni di investimento nelle imprese.

MAPPING THE LITERATURE ON IPO IN FAMILY BUSINESS: ANTECEDENTS, PROCESS AND CONSEQUENCES
Emmadonata Carbone, Alessandro Cirillo, Sara Saggese, Fabrizia Sarto
AbstractThe transition from private to public ownership through the going public process (i.e. IPO) has attracted the scholarly attention due to the governance, strategic and financial challenges/changes that firms face to gain favourable valuations by equity markets. This is especially true for family companies as witnessed by the growing interest that family business scholars have devoted to the topic. With this in mind, the paper systematically reviews the existing studies on IPO in family business and assesses the state of the art of the research field. To this aim, it examines the scholarly articles published in academic peer-reviewed journals from 1995 to April 2019 and identifies the research streams on the topic. By providing an overview on the main trends of the studies in the research field, findings map the extant knowledge on IPO in family firms and identify the existing gaps in the literature. The article contributes to both research and practice. Indeed, it provides a useful framework to guide future research efforts on IPO in family business and suggest specific policymaking interventions able to support the listing process of family firms.

Designing the Accounting Profession in Italy from the past to the new emerging challenges.
Chiara Crovini, Pier Luigi Marchini, Giovanni Ossola
AbstractThis research represents a complex theoretical study using an interpretive approach, which explicitly recognises the critical elements that in Italy have influenced the accounting profession and those that has brought to an evolution. This contingent analysis would shed light on external and internal factors strictly linked to the evolution of accounting and socio-political context in Italy, by providing a different prospective to the current state of the accountancy profession. The decline in relevance of the accounting profession and the efforts to bring change entailed authors to concentrate on the progress needed by the accountancy profession. Progress that must be addressed by both professionals, government and accounting bodies. The study refers to small accountancy firms and independent professional accountants, as in Italy most professionals mainly provide services and consulting activities to small entrepreneurs, families, public institutions and SMEs. The value of this research lies in the choice of the topic, which is as current today as never been and can be analysed with multidisciplinary perspective. The Italian tradition of research can be considered of particular interest also for the international community of accounting historians because of the abundance of archival materials and the linguistic abilities to understand the ancient Italian. In addition, there should be much more awareness about the evolution of the accounting profession in Italy because of the particular historical development and the belated recognition by the Government.

Assessing the transparency of Sustainability Reporting of sustainability leader companies: Evidence from the fast fashion industry.
Imane Allam, Simone Scagnelli
AbstractSince achieving a sustainable future is an essential ethical goal, a credible and transparent sustainability reporting is required from companies to have effective steps on the implementation of sustainable development goals. Therefore the need to assess the quality of sustainability reporting. Purpose: The objective of this research is to critically exanimate the credibility and transparency of information disclosed by sustainability driver and leader company based on the social dimension. Methodology: We are comparing the sustainability disclosure of a multinational company ranked as one of the best sustainability performing company on global sustainability indices with the actual performance by employing qualitative content analysis. This research will cover reports starting from 2012 until the present. Findings: The comparison of the sustainability reporting, CSR policy and code of conduct of this company with the actual performance reveal that there is a gap between the declaration and the reality. Conclusion: This research shed light on the quality of information reported by a leading company where sustainability reports were used to maintain legitimacy and avoid bad publicity.

 

La finanza inclusiva per la riqualificazione e valorizzazione di un bene culturale ad opera di una cooperativa sociale: un caso studio sul social impact investing
Andrea Cuccia
AbstractIl presente lavoro, avvalendosi della strategia di ricerca del caso studio, mira a scandagliare le potenzialità del social impact investing quale forma di finanza inclusiva a sostegno delle imprese sociali che si spingono ad intraprendere attività di tipo capital-intensive, quale la riqualificazione e valorizzazione di un bene culturale. Nel caso di specie, la ricerca ha riguardato il progetto di riqualificazione e valorizzazione della Tonnara dell’Orsa, complesso monumentale situato nel territorio di Cinisi (comune della Città Metropolitana di Palermo), risalente al XIV secolo e da tempo in stato di abbandono. Tale caso studio ha messo in evidenza l’utilità di ricorrere ad atipiche architetture finanziarie e strutture organizzative per favorire l’afflusso di investimenti a impatto sociale. Quest’ultimi hanno permesso alle cooperative sociali scelte come assegnatarie dal comune di Cinisi, proprietario della Tonnara, di portare a compimento la riqualificazione e valorizzazione del complesso monumentale. Muovendo dal particolare ad un piano di massima astrazione, appare imprescindibile l’ancoramento ad una prospettiva ecosistemica, cosicché occorre adottare soluzioni finanziarie, organizzative e forme di sostegno quanto più possibile concertate, prendendo atto della natura del bene culturale quale punto nodale delle interconnessioni fra tutti gli attori dell’ecosistema territoriale.

Il community engagement nelle fondazioni bancarie: strumenti e gradi di applicazione
Bettina Campedelli, Chiara Leardini, Gina Rossi, Sara Moggi
AbstractLa conoscenza dei bisogni della comunità destinataria dell’attività dell’azienda non profit passa necessariamente attraverso la ricerca continua di un coinvolgimento della comunità locale sia nei processi strategico-decisionali sia nelle attività di reporting. Sviluppare un’attività di stakeholder engagement attraverso strumenti che consentano di realizzare diversi livelli di partecipazione diviene, pertanto, un elemento cruciale per la continuità nel tempo dell’azienda. Il presente lavoro esplora se e come le non profit coinvolgono la comunità locale di riferimento e propone uno strumento (stakeholder engagement dashboard) in grado di rendicontare le attività di stakeholder engagement svolte da ciascuna azienda. Focalizzandosi sull’intero mondo delle fondazioni di origine bancaria, il paper mappa attraverso una survey gli strumenti che favoriscono il dialogo con il territorio e li inserisce all’interno di un dashboard che ne evidenzia il livello di coinvolgimento che essi permettono di ottenere. Il dashboard rappresenta, ad un tempo, uno strumento manageriale in grado di guidare le scelte strategiche di coinvolgimento delle comunità di riferimento e uno strumento di accountability delle pratiche di engagement adottate dall’azienda non profit nei confronti di tali comunità.

IL CONTRIBUTO DELLE BANCHE EUROPEE ALLO SVILUPPO SOSTENIBILE: UN’ANALISI DELLA DISCLOSURE
Simona Cosma, Andrea Venturelli, Paola Schwizer, Vittorio Boscia
AbstractNel percorso verso gli SDGs, le istituzioni finanziarie sono chiamate a svolgere un ruolo di assoluto primo piano alla luce della loro possibilità di indirizzare i comportamenti delle imprese, delle amministrazioni e delle famiglie verso gli obiettivi considerati prioritari. Tale ruolo è ribadito con forza dalle autorità di vigilanza europee. In particolare, la Commissione europea, il 24 maggio 2018, ha adottato le prime misure concrete che assegnano al settore finanziario dell'UE un ruolo predominante nella lotta ai cambiamenti climatici e nell'attuazione dell'accordo di Parigi. Alla luce dell’impegno richiesto al settore finanziario, questo paper si propone di contribuire al dibattito sul rapporto tra settore finanziario dell’UE e sviluppo sostenibile cercando di comprendere se, e in che modo, le banche europee stanno avanzando nel percorso verso gli SDGs. L’obiettivo del lavoro è valutare su quali SDGs le banche europee siano prevalentemente impegnate e il contributo effettivamente fornito allo sviluppo sostenibile, rilevando eventuali tratti di uniformità/difformità nelle scelte compiute e individuando i fattori che sembrano essere associati ai comportamenti più virtuosi. L’approccio delle banche agli SDGs viene valutato attraverso un’analisi della non financial disclosure delle banche europee che hanno recepito la direttiva 2014/95/EU nell’anno 2017. Il campione è di 262 banche, quotate e non quotate, appartenenti a 22 Paesi UE. La metodologia si avvale della content analysis e il contributo viene valutato attraverso l’analisi di 4 dimensioni sintetizzate attraverso uno score. L’individuazione di aspetti associati con contributi/orientamenti più o meno “comprehensive” avviene attraverso l’applicazione di vari test statistici volti a rilevare l’esistenza di differenze statisticamente rilevanti tra due o più campioni di banche aventi in comune gli aspetti indagati.

Green Bonds nel settore agricolo per contrastare i cambiamenti climatici
Federica De Leo, Stefania Massari, Benedetta Coluccia, Valeria Stefanelli
AbstractA fronte di una ormai consolidata evidenza scientifica di un modello di sviluppo insostenibile, negli ultimi anni sta emergendo sul mercato finanziario la sfida di cogliere l’opportunità dettata dall’interesse verso investimenti sostenibili. In questo lavoro si analizzerà il ruolo strumentale della finanza sostenibile per la protezione e la valorizzazione dell’ambiente alla luce dei sempre più evidenti squilibri naturali generati soprattutto dai cambiamenti climatici e dall’eccessivo utilizzo delle risorse. La scelta da parte delle imprese di comportamenti virtuosi secondo i criteri ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) genera vantaggi ambientali, sociali ed economici che a loro volta influiscono positivamente sulla reputazione, competitività e solidità economica dell’impresa. Gli strumenti finanziari a supporto di tale strategia sono molteplici, ma in questo lavoro è stata approfondita la funzione dei Green Bonds. Questi sono dei titoli di debito che consentono di finanziare progetti con effetti positivi sull’ambiente e di incrementare la disponibilità di capitali necessari per la transizione verso modelli economici sostenibili. Tra i principali obiettivi sostenibili perseguiti dal mercato dei Green Bonds vi sono: efficienza energetica, energia da fonti pulite, uso sostenibile dei terreni, gestione dei rifiuti. I settori globalmente finanziati rientrano nelle seguenti macro-aree: trasporti, energia, acqua, infrastrutture e industrie, rifiuti e agricoltura. Proprio su quest’ultimo settore si è concentrata la nostra attenzione; settore caratterizzato dalla più scarsa emissione di obbligazioni verdi. Per soddisfare la crescente domanda mondiale di cibo, l’agricoltura ha causato ingenti danni sull’ambiente in termini di crescente sfruttamento del suolo (Land Use), di eccessivo utilizzo di risorse idriche, d’inquinamento delle acque sotterranee e di emissioni di gas serra, principali responsabili del riscaldamento globale. Quest’ultimo rappresenta una delle sfide ambientali, sociali ed economiche più importanti che il nostro secolo si trova ad affrontare e può essere considerato come il fine ultimo dei progetti sostenibili finanziati con l’emissione di Green Bonds.

Le donne nei CdA delle imprese di capitale in Italia: quali implicazioni per la struttura finanziaria?
Mariasole Bannò, Graziano Coller, Giorgia Maria D'Allura
AbstractObiettivo del lavoro è indagare la relazione tra struttura finanziaria e presenza della donna nei ruoli decisionali. Alcuni studiosi hanno sostenuto l’influsso positivo della presenza delle donne, altri l’esatto opposto. Attraverso l’analisi empirica di un campione di 642 imprese italiane viene misurata la presenza femminile sia in termini di presenza delle donne in ruoli decisionali nel CdA sia in termini di massa critica e composizione percentuale di genere femminile nel CdA. L'influsso della componente femminile viene analizzata rispetto al costo del debito, al livello del debito e ai vincoli finanziari registrando un impatto significativo.

La disclosure della tecnologia nei bilanci: informazione finanziaria o non finanziaria?
Sabrina Pucci, Maura Campra, Marco Venuti, Valerio Brescia, Umberto Lupatelli
AbstractLa tecnologia sta nel tempo, assumendo sempre più importanza in termini di spese e investimenti fatti dalle società e rappresenta, per i risvolti che essa può avere in termini di opportunità e rischi sulla vita aziendale, una delle più grandi sfide che le imprese sono chiamate a fronteggiare. Di fronte a questa realtà, con la presente ricerca si vuole iniziare a rispondere ai seguenti quesiti: - quale informativa è, o deve essere, data agli stakeholders circa la tecnologia e il suo impatto (anche in termini di rischi) sulla società, garantendo un giusto bilanciamento fra conoscenza e tutela delle informazioni sensibili? - le informazioni relative alla tecnologia che sono o saranno presentate in bilancio sono o devono essere considerate come effetto dell’applicazione di correnti e/o futuri principi IFRS oppure sono informazioni non IFRS? In questo secondo caso, come sono collocate in bilancio? Per rispondere a questi quesiti la ricerca è articolata in due fasi distinte. In questa prima fase si è svolta un’analisi di tipo qualitativo incentrata sulle 115 risposte provenienti da tutte le parti del mondo che sono state fornite al Discussion Paper Disclosure Initiative – Principles of Disclosure emanato dallo IASB nel 2017 al fine di raccogliere le opinioni degli stakeholder con l’obiettivo di migliorare la qualità e l’utilizzabilità delle informazioni di bilancio. Dai risultati che sono emersi risulta un’attenzione da parte degli operatori (soprattutto europei) sia con riguardo agli aspetti connessi alla tecnologia, come strumento di comunicazione, sia al contenuto dell’informazione da produrre. Sotto il profilo tecnologico, vi è un’attenzione crescente al bilancio digitale e ai link tra i documenti che sostituiscono il report annuale, anche se non mancano preoccupazioni su come tale bilancio si coniughi con quello tradizionale, inoltre sono espressi dubbi sull’opportunità di creare collegamenti tra documenti aventi natura e finalità diversi. Sotto il profilo contenutistico, vi è un’attenzione di rilievo sul fatto che le società possano integrare le informazioni prodotte con dati altri non IFRS, dove il tema dei costi, dei rischi e delle opportunità della tecnologia non può che avere la sua importanza. Anche qui, tuttavia, vi è cautela da parte di un certo numero di stakeholders per il timore che si crei confusione tra dati IFRS e dati non IFRS, dal momento che, ad esempio, solo i primi sarebbero oggetto di revisione. Basandosi sui risultati di questa prima fase, si creano le condizioni per poter passare, in un successivo studio, ad una seconda fase incentrata su un’indagine empirica e quantitativa da effettuarsi sui bilanci delle società quotate italiane ed europee in parallelo con le società statunitensi; per queste ultime la Security Exchange Commission (SEC) ha iniziato a chiedere una informativa specifica in tema di tecnologia e dei rischi della stessa.

 

WHAT IS BEHIND THE CHOICE OF THE QUALITY OF LEGALITY RATING BY ITALIAN PRIVATE FIRMS?
Fabio La Rosa, Sergio Paternostro, Francesca Bernini
AbstractLegality rating (LR) is an under-investigated topic, due to its recent introduction. Moreover, it is difficult to interpret univocally the LR and to frame it within a well-defined theoretical framework. However, since a few years, data are available to be empirically analysed. To explain the reasons leading to the choice of companies’ LR quality, we aim to investigate the determinants of LR through an econometric analysis that includes governance and economic variables. The requirements that allow to obtain a high LR must only be verified and not evaluated, so that firms that require the LR already know their future score. However, our hypothesis is that companies require LR to signal their good behaviour to reach or maintain their legitimacy or to divert attention from an unsatisfactory economic and financial situation. To address this issue, we use a unique sample of 1,104 Italian private firms that obtained a LR in 2016. Focusing on governance variables, we find that board size, ownership concentration and family-owned companies and cooperatives are positively related to quality of LR. As to economic variables, Roa is negatively related to quality of LR. These results show that where the governance features make the firms more inclined to look after its reputation the LR is higher. The LR, rather than encouraging the respect for the principles of legality, principally makes to emerge companies that already behave in a virtuous manner, i.e. firms tend to report a behaviour they already hold rather than modify it according to the objective of obtaining the LR.

Corruption and false accounting: a dichotomous relationship or one of functional interdependence?
Paolo Esposito
AbstractThe issue of corruption is of great importance in the current development of studies on public administration. The present contribution is characterized by the attempt to systematize the business literature on corruption and false accounting, in order to clarify and outline the nature of this relationship; that is, whether it should be considered a dichotomous one or rather one based on functional interdependence. To public management scholars and to sector employees and practioners, this analysis could constitute a theoretical basis for reflection, relevant to identify strategies for overcoming public disvalue factors based on findings that are related not only to accounting but also on management practices. False accounting is seen here as a crime-indicator, or crime-means with relation to corruption, something mending the connective tissue between business and civil law models regarding conscious policies aimed at altering accounting data (earning management) either through omissions or through false corporate communication and the presentation of unfaithful corporate deeds and facts, thus finding slowly room into a new, more tolerant and indulgent accounting paradigm. Not much attention has in fact been paid, particularly by Italian authors, to the existence, size and quality of the connective tissue of this relationship, which after the new rules on false accounting and corruption sees more and more the conceptual space between public and private thinning and the relevant need for observation growing.

Does Structural Capital affect Risk-related Disclosure Quality? An empirical investigation of Italian large listed companies
Francesco De Luca, Ho-Tan-Phat Phan
AbstractPurpose: This paper discusses the possible relationship between intellectual capital (IC) and non-financial information. Given the growing attention of regulators for the content of mandatory companies’ non-financial information, the study investigates the role of Structural Capital (SC), as one of the components of IC, in the Risk-related Disclosure Quality (RDQ) requested by the set of Italian laws. Methodology : The empirical analysis is based on a sample made of 51 large undertakings and groups. The study uses content analysis to assess the RDQ from firms’ corporate reports. We use regression analysis to examine if there is an influence of SC toward RDQ. Findings: Results reveal that a positive association exists between RDQ and SC. Moreover, we provide some support for the positive correlation between SC and the firm’s size. Implications: Our paper contributes to existing risk reporting literature as a pioneering study identifying an IC driver to determine the quality of risk and risk management information. For practitioners, the paper helps in understanding the role of IC in enterprise risk reporting to afford the business an opportunity to thrive and ultimately enjoy the fruitful success.

Can audit be trusted (again)?
Valentina Beretta, Maria Chiara Demartini, Sara Trucco
AbstractCritical accounting research demonstrated that financial audit can hardly be conceived of as a trust engendering technology yet. In order to gauge if and how audit can be trusted again, this study investigates the current audit industry through the lens of the sociological theory of trust (Sztompka, 1999). Accordingly, trust in audit(ors) is divided into first-order and second-order trust. First-order trust aims at identifying the factors that primarily contribute to the auditor’s trustworthiness, whereas second-order trust mirrors the capability of the trust on audit(ors) to be transferred to their clients, in a ‘pyramid of trust’. Results from a panel data analysis show that audit professionalism, commercial orientation and market concentration are the main determinants of first-order trust. Moreover, findings from this study highlight that an audit firm’s trustworthiness is negatively transferred to its client. Overall this study adds knowledge to the theory of trust developed by Sztompka (1999), by providing evidence of which factors impact on the primary object of trust, and how and if it is possible to transfer them on the secondary object of trust. Indeed, our empirical evidence supports that part of the literature arguing that auditing is primarily aimed at reproducing social order, whereas limited support is found to the trust engendering role of financial audit.

Firm features affecting forward-looking risk information in companies’ financial reports. Findings from the Italian financial market.
Mauro Romano, Marco Taliento, Christian Favino, Antonio Netti
AbstractThe main objective of the article is to investigate the influence of firm characteristics on forward-looking risk disclosure in financial reports. In order to fulfil this aim, it has been analysed a sample of Italian companies listed on Borsa Italiana and a logit regression model was run to examine the relationship of some company features on risk disclosure. Findings show that two of the selected determinants (size and presence independent directors) are positively related to forward-looking risk information. On the other hand, contrary to expectations, no significant impact of the other examined variables was found. The results support the view that, in the Italian context, the level of financial disclosure is different between large and small companies: large companies, characterized by a more complex governance structure (including the independence of the board of directors), reduce asymmetry information and attract potential investors disclosing a wider range of forward-looking information with recpect to smaller entities. This study contributes to the current accounting literature and it could be helpful to regulators and policy makers, in order to enhance information quality and to increase transparency in the annual report as well.

Product market competition and bankruptcy prediction
Velia Gabriella Cenciarelli, Marco Maria Mattei, Giulio Greco
AbstractIn this paper we investigate whether product market competition provides useful explanatory variables for bankruptcy prediction. Specifically, using a sample of Italian private firms over the period 2007-2014, we test if more intense product market competition is associated to a higher likelihood of bankruptcy. We also investigate whether including measures of product market competition in bankruptcy prediction models improves their predictive ability. The findings show that product market fluidity has a positive significant association with the likelihood of financial default. The results also show that the prediction model augmented with fluidity is more accurate and display lower levels of either Type I and Type II errors. Type I errors are particularly important as they are related from misclassification of bankrupt firms as healthy firms, which result in investment losses and banks’ non-performing loans. Finally, out-of-sample estimations and the use of alternative measures of product market competition confirm our findings.

 

Valutazione di impatto sociale di una azienda non profit: il caso "AUSER Piemonte"
Davide Maggi, Sara Marinello, Paolo Rossi
AbstractIl lavoro presentato offre uno spunto di riflessione per valorizzare il lavoro realizzato da AUSER Piemonte nel territorio della Regione, negli ultimi 10 anni, attraverso il Progetto “I Pony della solidarietà”. Nel corso dei suoi 30 anni di vita, AUSER Piemonte ha sviluppato nel territorio in cui opera una struttura organizzativa complessa e ben radicata, che permette ad essa di essere presente in modo capillare su tutto il territorio regionale attraverso 8 sedi a livello provinciale e 50 sedi locali, chiamate Ali, oltre a diversi centri di incontro e centri ricreativi e culturali. Per la sua forte capacità di motivare e rimotivare, dare conforto, coinvolgere generazioni che oramai hanno sempre meno opportunità di scambio e di relazione, il progetto ha raggiunto proporzioni e risultati di indubbio valore, coinvolgendo negli anni oltre 20.000 persone che, a vario titolo, hanno beneficiato delle attività porposte da questa organizzazione, come testimoniano le numerose storie raccolte dai Pony coinvolti e intervistati. AUSER Piemonte ha avuto la lungimirante visione di garantire nel progetto il giusto mix di competenze, professionalità, valori e di porre sempre “l’altro” al centro di tutto, creando valore in silenzio, con umiltà e attraverso la passione profusa dai numerosi volontari che quotidianamente operano per il bene comune. Ma come poter quantificare tutto il lavoro svolto e, soprattutto, come restituire a donatori - in primis alla Compagnia di San Paolo che ha creduto e sostenuto per 10 anni tale progetto - una misura in termini economici del lavoro svolto, che permettesse la confrontabilità con quanto investito in altre progettazioni? Come può essere quantificato il risparmio di spesa delle pubbliche amministrazioni nell’ambito dei servizi sociali? Come valorizzare quanto acquisito da tutti coloro che hanno fatto parte dell’ecosistema dell’intervento oggetto di analisi? Per cercare di rispondere a queste domande si è optato per una analisi SROI al fine di quantificare il ritorno sociale dell’investimento fatto. Nel caso analizzato, per ogni Euro investito, il progetto ha prodotto un ritorno sociale dell’investimento pari a 1:12. AUSER Piemonte, dunque, ha ben investito i “talenti” messi a sua disposizione e la Compagnia di San Paolo ha visto ben remunerato l’investimento economico e sociale effettuato sul proprio territorio di afferenza.

Accountability in social services provision: Three cases from the sixteenth century Republic of Venice
Chiara Pancot, Maria Lusiani, Marco Vedovato
AbstractBy adopting a historical perspective, this paper addresses the role of accounting in enabling “hybrid organizing”, a phenomenon involving those organizations which operate between the market and the public service logics. The empirical setting of this research is the Republic of Venice throughout the sixteenth century: that is, a time and a place of diffuse forms of welfare organization, between the Church, the State and private initiatives. The paper analyses three cases of charities variously involved in social services provision; it identifies evidence of their hybrid nature and explores, for each, the governance system as well as their accounting and accountability practices. The authors wish to thus contribute to the research on organizational responses to institutional complexity by theorizing about the role of accounting and accountability in this endeavour.

The Italian National Healthcare System contribution to Sustainable Development Goals: an accounting perspective
Fabio Caputo, Simone Pizzi , Stefano Adamo
AbstractDuring the last years, the social role of the companies changed considerably due to the global financial crisis and the specific attention paid by the regulators concerning their social responsibility activities. This scenario was favoured by the introduction of several initiatives to achieve a higher level of accountability by them through the presence of non-financial reports. The United Nations focused on these topics into its Agenda 2030 thanks to the introduction of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs consists of 17 goals and 169 targets to favour the achievement before 2030 of a higher level of sustainability into the world. The full achievement of these goals needs support by other entities, such as public sector firms and NGOs (Bebbington and Unerman, 2018). The Italian context is a typical example of a country with a high level of investment in public services. Particularly, one of the most supported sectors in Italy is represented by the Italian National Healthcare System (INHS). In fact, the health expenditure made by the Italian Government consists in on average expense of 140 billion of euro for a year (EUROSTAT, 2018) and its weight into the entire healthcare system represents about the 75% of the total (ISTAT, 2017). These expenses are driven by several factors that define the Italian context from the other like the provisions of free access for medical services, free drug distribution and the free access to all services. According to this evidence, the role of the Italian public sector is relevant to the achievement of the SDG3 “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”. Since 2007, the Italian context was characterized by a quick increase in terms of SDG3’s achievement and by a partially achievement of some targets due to the improvement of the results connected to the reduction of death rates, accidents and caesarean sections (ASVIS, 2018). However, even if in the presence of these results, the INHS is characterized by disapprovals such as for instance an inconsistent per capita expense, long waiting lists and geographical and social inequality in terms of access to the services (OCSE, 2017). Furthermore, the role of the INHS is controversial due to the existence of asymmetric information between INHS and citizens regarding service’s quality (Berta et al., 2016). This evidence, as denoted in prior studies about social reporting in the public sector, can be reconducted to their interest to engage the internal stakeholders (Guthrie and Farneti, 2009). In this sense, the Italian citizens don’t perceive the quality of the services and the subsequentially contribution by the INHS to SDG3. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the current debate about social reporting in the public sector (Monfardini et al., 2013; Fusco and Ricci, 2019). In particular, our analysis is about the specific field of study about SDG’s reporting that represents an unexplored research’s area that needs contribution by management and accounting’s academics (Bebbington and Unerman, 2018).

Unpacking dialogic accounting: a systematic literature review and research agenda
Giacomo Manetti, Marco Bellucci, Stefania Oliva
AbstractThis article aims to contribute to the critical accounting literature by reviewing how previous studies have addressed the topic of dialogic accounting, synthesizing and clustering the main themes investigated, and discussing potential further developments of the dialogic accounting research agenda. To this end, we present and discuss a systematic literature review of 62 research articles indexed on Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar that were published between 1997 and 2018 in 21 different accounting or non-accounting scientific journals. A content analysis of each contribution informs a classification in terms of research methodology, theoretical framework, definition of dialogic accounting, main findings, conclusions, and further research. A comprehensive literature review summarizes the contributions of the included articles based on the following six bibliographic clusters obtained in VOSviewer software using the technique of bibliographic coupling (the larger the number of references two publications have in common, the stronger the bibliographic coupling relation between the publications): 1. A dialogic approach to sustainability accounting; 2. A pedagogic perspective on heteroglossic accounting; 3. Critical dialogic accounting and agonism; 4. Emancipation and critical accounting; 5. New challenges for dialogic accounting; 6. Dialogic accounting and social media. The main contribution of this manuscript is twofold. In addition to providing a systematic and bibliometric review of the evolution of more than two decades of literature on dialogic accounting, the present study intends to collect ideas for further research and discuss how the advent of new technologies and the peculiarities of different institutional contexts can shape the future research agenda on this critical form of accounting.

Related Party Transactions Disclosure Determinants: Empirical Evidence from Italy
Guido Giovando, Stefano Venturini, Giovanni Ossola
AbstractThis preliminary research deals with related party transaction disclosures (RPTD). The study analyses the overall transparency level of related party transaction disclosures in the financial reports of the listed Italian entities included in the FTSE MIB index and to investigate the determinants of the disclosure. Starting from the financial reports of the entities, a disclosure index is built following previous studies in the Literature and according to the IAS 24 Related party disclosure. In order to verify the determinants of the Index and their influence over the transparency, some variables are analysed involving the Corporate governance Mechanisms related to the Board of Directors, to the Board of Statutory Auditors and to the auditing firm. The Index is also verified from some company-specific characteristics such as dimension, leverage, industry type and profitability that may affect the transparency of disclosure. Findings show that the Italian listed companies included in the sample present high level of related party transaction disclosure. Moreover, significant positive relation emerges between related party disclosure and independence of board of Directors while negative relation emerges between the presence of the Board of Statutory Auditors and the disclosure. Applying OLS regression models though no significant result is obtained and therefore it is not possible to generalize these relations. Findings suggest that the strong legislative environment forces Companies to provide minimum level of information reducing the Board of Directors discretion over the disclosure items. Further studies on the topic may involve different markets and non-listed companies that may present different results.

Corporate reporting and web-based communication media for business model disclosure: Do they matter?
Diego Valentinetti, Patrizia Di Tullio, Matteo La Torre, Michele A. Rea
AbstractThis paper investigates the use of different communication media for business model disclosure. Specifically, we analyse the extent of business model information disclosed by a sample of global listed companies in their financial reports, non-financial reports and corporate websites. Additionally, the concept of institutional isomorphism is used to explain how corporate reports and websites are used as media to disclose business model information. Findings confirm that coercive, mimetic and normative pressures shape the disclosure practices in different ways for each communication channel.

 

INTELLECTUAL CAPITAL AND FIRM PERFORMANCE. EVIDENCE BEFORE THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DIRECTIVE EU/95/2014
Antonio Corvino, Silvio Bianchi Martini, Federica Doni
AbstractRecently, disclosure of nonfinancial information is attracting the attention from managers, investors and regulators leading companies to implement relevant changes in several key areas of corporate reporting. This study stems from the interest shown by the European Commission that is determining a radical shift from voluntary to mandatory nonfinancial disclosure (EU/95/2014). The aim of this study is to investigate whether nonfinancial information can influence corporate financial performance evaluating the potential effects of Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) disclosure on Intellectual Capital Performance (ICP). Using data from the Italian listed companies, we find that the environmental or overall (ESG) disclosures are positively associated with firm’s enterprise value. Conversely, there is no statistically significant relationship between nonfinancial disclosure and ICP. Our results suggest that investors can use nonfinancial disclosure in assessing the value of shares. Furthermore, listed companies cannot influence the performance of intangible resources using nonfinancial disclosures.

Non-financial performance indicators: the power of measures to operationalize the law
Daniela Rupo, Domenico Raucci, Lara Tarquinio, Salvatore Loprevite
AbstractIn Italy, the 254/2016 Legislative Decree, which implemented the Directive 2014/95/EU on Non-Financial Information (NFI), has made it mandatory to convey NFI in order to improve economic, social and environmental corporate communication. An effective means to operationalize the law is the use of Sustainability Performance Indicators (SPIs). These are a powerful tool for communicating companies’ NFI in a synthetic, consistent and comparable way, as confirmed also by the widespread use of the GRI standard and guidelines that have their strength in the presence of SPIs. With the aim to investigate the effects produced by the new regulation, our paper aims to analyse the SPIs disclosed in non-financial reporting produced before and after the 254/2016 Legislative Decree by a sample of Italian companies belonging to the “sensitive sectors”. We use a content analysis and a disclosure index of non-financial reports referring to the 2015-2017 financial years. The longitudinal analysis performed, documented a decrease of the overall quantity of NFI disclosed via SPIs and a general reduction in their average value, which was more evident in the first year in which the Decree entered into force. Keywords Non-Financial Information; EU Directive on Non-Financial Information; Sustainability Performance Indicators; Italy.

The value relevance of information disclosed through the Integrated Report
Stefania Veltri, Antonella Silvestri
AbstractOn December 2013, the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) published its International Framework (IIRC, 2013a). The purpose of this Framework is to establish Guiding Principles and Content Elements that govern the overall content of an Integrated Report (IR), and to explain the fundamental concepts that underpin them. The IIRC explicitly considers the framework the point of arrival of decades of developments in financial, intangibles and sustainability reporting and the foundation for the future. However, after several years, the Framework is ‘adopted’ by a very limited number of companies. Furthermore, many of these companies are selectively applying only certain aspects of the Framework in their reporting practices. Our paper would contribute to the debate of usefulness of IR framework for investors, by reviewing the empirical studies conducted until now addressed to provide evidence of the value relevance of both financial and non-financial information disclosed through the IR framework. In this way, our paper also contributes to fill a void in literature review on IR, mainly concerned with the appreciations or criticisms of integrated reporting or, alternatively, normative advice regarding the implementation of this practice. ?

The approach of Italian PIEs to "comply or explain" principle in non-financial reporting
Rossella Leopizzi, Andrea Venturelli, Stefano Coronella
AbstractSince 2017, the European context has been characterized by the introduction of the EU Directive 95/2014. The transposition of the Directive into the national legal systems was covered by scepticism regard its real impact by academics and practitioners. From the perspective of the academics, this scepticism could be reconducted to the absence of specific requirement and to the coexistence of voluntary and mandatory items into the rule (Johansen, 2016) while for the practitioners the problems are represented by its different type of transposition into the national legal systems. These differences represent a barrier to the effective harmonization due the absence of a specific reporting standard and a set of common contents. A typical problem connected to the harmonization of the non-financial reporting in Europe is the possibility for the companies to omit part of their information through the adoption by the Member State of the “Comply-or-Explain” principle. This principle consists in the possibility for the companies involved by the Directive to exclude certain information from their non-financial statement through an explanation about the reason behind the choice (Ho, 2017). As evidenced above, the different degree of sensibility of the countries involved by the Directive about the non-financial reporting could represent a determinant for a large adoption by the companies of this principle. Furthermore, prior studies evidenced how the differences in terms of quality and quantity of information disclosed by the firms are consistent even in the same country. According to these evidences, the aim of this paper is to evaluate the impact of the “comply-or-explain” principle on the reporting strategies implemented by the Italian PIEs during the 2017 through the application of the theoretical model proposed by Siedl et al. (2013). Specifically, we evaluated which kind of explanation were adopted by the companies during 2017 with attention on their sector of activity and about the Global Reporting Initiative standard omitted. To this aim, in according to CONSOB (2018), the 202 firms involved by the Italian Legislative Decree 254/2016 have been analysed.

DO INVESTORS USE OPTION-BASED COGNITIVE CONSTRUALS? THE CASE OF OIL RESERVES
Véronique Blum, Richard Baker, Marco Venuti
AbstractAccording to construal level theory perspective, being spatially and cognitively distant from the operations of the companies they invest, investors could rely on high-level construals to assess values. We study the case of extractive activity accounting, for which accounting representation issues has remained a controversy for about five decades. During the same period, the sector adopted real options methodologies to price natural resources. Such methodology advantageously links near and remote information. We test their usefulness as a means to capture people intuition by addressing the following question: Do market participants use real-options-like-reasoning to assess long-term strategic assets? To answer, we study the value relevance of oil reserves optional values over 11 years (1996-2006), before the sector has been disrupted by shale explorations. Our model combines the Ohlson’s with the Black Scholes models and the Hotelling hypothesis. Our findings highlight the value relevance of cognitive valuation models blending historical values and prospective risk (dispersion) as captured in a non-deterministic valuation model.

The predictive ability of legitimacy and agency theory after the implementation of the EU Directive on non-financial information
Silvia Panfilo, Chiara Mio, Marco Fasan, Carlo Marcon
AbstractDirective 2014/95/EU (EU Directive) requires large companies to disclose information on the way they operate and manage social and environmental challenges, thus upgrading non-financial information (NFI) disclosure from the voluntary to the mandatory realm. This paper hypothesizes and empirically finds that legitimacy theory loses its ability to predict NFI disclosure after the EU Directive implementation, thus after NFI become mandatory. Conversely, agency theory is still a valid theoretical framework. We test our hypotheses by relying on a hand collected dataset, which measures (before and after the EU Directive implementation) NFI disclosure. Empirical results also suggest that after the implementation of the Directive the average level of NFI disclosure increased, particularly in those European countries that required NFI to be assured by an independent provider.