Putting integrated reporting where it was not: The case of the not-for-profit sector

Author/s Laura Girella, Paola Dameri
Publishing Year 2019 Issue 2019/2
Language English Pages 30 P. 111-140 File size 141 KB
DOI 10.3280/FR2019-002005
DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation click here

Below, you can see the article first page

If you want to buy this article in PDF format, you can do it, following the instructions to buy download credits

Article preview

FrancoAngeli is member of Publishers International Linking Association, Inc (PILA), a not-for-profit association which run the CrossRef service enabling links to and from online scholarly content.

Nowadays we are facing a new phase of capitalism. Information that is beyond financial capital and able to provide a more comprehensive picture of the path towards better transparency and accountability is increasingly needed and requested. A remarkable body of evidence already exists on how large, listed companies are facing this change, but very little is known about the not-for-profit sector. This work aims to analyse if and how new forms of reporting, such as integrat-ed reporting, can be adopted by not-for-profit organisations to illustrate their ef-forts towards an improvement in their accountability processes. To this end, through an interventionist approach, the case of an Italian not-for-profit organisa-tion operating in the collection and redistribution of food is examined. It emerges that, integrated reporting can represent a valuable device that can be adopted also by the not-for-profit sector to improve its accountability. However, in order to be successfully implemented, some modifications have to be made in order to better encounter the specificities of these organisational settings.

Keywords: Accountability, integrated reporting, not-for-profit

  1. Adams C.A. (2004), The ethical, social and environmental reporting-performance portrayal gap, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 17(5), pp. 731-757, DOI: 10.1108/09513570410567791.
  2. Adams C.A. (2013), Resources for integrated report preparers and topics for researchers. -- http://drcaroladams.net. [accessed 14.02.19].
  3. Adams C.A. (2015), The international integrated reporting council: a call to action. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 27, pp. 23-28,
  4. Adams C.A. and Evans R. (2004), Accountability, completeness, credibility and the audit expectations gap, Journal of corporate citizenship, 14(Summer), pp. 97-115.
  5. Adams C.A. and Larrinaga-González C. (2007), Engaging with organisations in pursuit of improved sustainability accounting and performance, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 20(3), pp. 333-355, DOI: 10.1108/09513570710748535.
  6. Adams S. and Simnett R. (2011), Integrated Reporting: An opportunity for Australia’s not‐for‐profit sector, Australian Accounting Review, 21(3), pp. 292-301,
  7. Andreaus M. and Costa E. (2014), Toward an integrated accountability model for nonprofit organizations in Accountability and social accounting for social and non-profit organizations (pp. 153-176). (Bingley: Emerald Publishing).
  8. Andrei P., Balluchi F. and Furlotti K. (2018), Collaboration between For-profit and Non-profit Organisations: Some Insights into the Social Doctrine of the Church in Hybridity in the Governance and Delivery of Public Services (pp. 215-242). (Bingley: Emerald Publishing).
  9. Bies A.L. (2010), Evolution of nonprofit self-regulation in Europe, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 39(6), pp. 1057-1086,
  10. Breen O.B. (2013), The disclosure panacea: A comparative perspective on charity financial reporting, Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 24(3), pp. 852-880,
  11. Brody E. (2002), Accountability and public trust in L. Salamon (edited by), The State of Non-profit America (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press).
  12. Buckmaster N. (1999), Associations between outcome measurement, accountability and learning for non-profit organisations, International Journal of Public Sector Management, 12(2), pp. 186-197, DOI: 10.1108/09513559910263499.
  13. Candler G. and Dumont G. (2010), A non‐profit accountability framework. Canadian Public Administration, 53(2), pp. 259-279.
  14. Castillo E.A. (2018), Qualities before Quantities: A Framework to Develop Dynamic Assessment of the Nonprofit Sector. Nonprofit Policy Forum, 9(3),
  15. Chiucchi M.S. (2013), Intellectual capital accounting in action: enhancing learning through interventionist research, Journal of Intellectual Capital, 14(1), pp. 48-68, DOI: 10.1108/14691931311289011.
  16. Connolly C. and Hyndman N. (2003), Performance reporting by UK charities: Approaches, difficulties and current practice (Edinburgh: Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland).
  17. Connolly C. and Hyndman N. (2004), Performance reporting: a comparative study of British and Irish charities, The British Accounting Review, 36(2), pp. 127-154,
  18. Connolly C., Dhanani A. (2009), Narrative Reporting by UK Charities (London: Chartered Accountants Educational Trust).
  19. Costa E. and Goulart da Silva G. (2019), Nonprofit accountability: The viewpoint of the primary stakeholders. Financial Accountability & Management, 35(1), pp. 37-54,
  20. Costa E., Pesci C., Andreaus M. and Taufer E. (2018), Empathy, closeness, and distance in non-profit accountability. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 32(1), pp. 224-254, DOI: 10.1108/AAAJ-03-2014-1635.
  21. Costa E., Pesci C., Andreaus M. and Taufer E. (2019), Empathy, closeness, and distance in non-profit accountability. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 32(1), pp. 224-254, DOI: 10.1108/AAAJ-03-2014-1635
  22. Costa E., Ramus T. and Andreaus M. (2011), Accountability as a managerial tool in non-profit organizations: Evidence from Italian CSVs, VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 22(3), pp. 470-493.
  23. Coupet J. and Berrett J. L. (2019), Toward a valid approach to nonprofit efficiency measurement, Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 29(3), pp. 299-320,
  24. Dainelli F., Manetti G. and Sibilio B. (2013), Web-based accountability practices in non-profit organizations: The case of national museums, VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 24(3), pp. 649-665,
  25. Dhanani A. (2009), Accountability of UK charities, Public Money & Management, 29(3), pp. 183-190. DOI: 10.1080/09540960902891749
  26. Dhanani A. and Connolly C. (2012), Discharging not-for-profit accountability: UK charities and public discourse, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 25(7), pp. 1140-1169, DOI: 10.1108/09513571211263220.
  27. Dumay J. (2011), Intellectual capital and strategy development: an interventionist approach, Vine, 41(4), pp. 449-465, DOI: 10.1108/03055721111188539.
  28. Dumay J., Guthrie J. and Farneti F. (2010), GRI sustainability reporting guidelines for public and third sector organizations: A critical review, Public Management Review, 12(4), pp. 531-548, DOI: 10.1080/14719037.2010.496266.
  29. Dumay J.C. (2010), A critical reflective discourse of an interventionist research project, Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, 7(1), pp. 46-70, DOI: 10.1108/11766091011034271.
  30. Ebrahim A. (2003), Making sense of accountability: conceptual perspectives for northern and southern nonprofits, Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 14(2), pp. 191-212.
  31. Eisenhardt K.M. (1989), Building theories from case study research, Academy of management review, 14(4), pp. 532-550, doi10.5465/amr.1989.4308385.
  32. Eisenhardt K.M. and Graebner M.E. (2007), Theory building from cases: Opportunities and challenges, Academy of Management Journal, 50(1), pp. 25-32,
  33. Fehr M., Calcado M.D.R. and Romao D.C. (2002), The basis of a policy for minimizing and recycling food waste. Environmental Science & Policy, 5(3), pp. 247-253, DOI: 10.1016/S1462-9011(02)00036-9.
  34. Flack T. and Ryan C. (2005), Financial reporting by Australian nonprofit organisations: Dilemmas posed by government funders, Australian Journal of Public Administration, 64(3), pp. 69-77,
  35. Froelich K.A., Knoepfle T.W. and Pollak T.H. (2000), Financial measures in nonprofit organization research: Comparing IRS 990 return and audited financial statement data, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 29(2), pp. 232-254, DOI: 10.1177/0899764000292002.
  36. Gazzola P., Ratti M. and Amelio S. (2017), CSR and Sustainability Report for Nonprofit Organizations. An Italian Best Practice, Management Dynamics in the Knowledge Economy, 5(3), pp. 355-376.
  37. Geer B., Maher J. and Cole M. (2008), Managing nonprofit organizations: the importance of transformational leadership and commitment to operating standards for non-profit accountability, Public Performance and Management Review, 32(1), pp. 51-75.
  38. Ghisellini P., Cialani C. and Ulgiati S. (2016), A review on circular economy: the expected transition to a balanced interplay of environmental and economic systems, Journal of Cleaner Production, 114, pp. 11-32,
  39. Greenlee J., Fischer M., Gordon T. and Keating E. (2007), An investigation of fraud in nonprofit organizations: Occurrences and deterrents, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 36(4), pp. 676-694, DOI: 10.1177/0899764007300407.
  40. Gugerty M.K. (2010), The emergence of nonprofit self-regulation in Africa, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 39(6), pp. 1087-1112,
  41. Gugerty M.K., Sidel M. and Bies A.L. (2010), Introduction to minisymposium: Nonprofit self-regulation in comparative perspective-themes and debates, DOI: 10.1177/0899764010372971.
  42. Guthrie J. and Farneti F. (2010), Italian Public and Not for Profit Organizations: Advancing Sustainable Management Practices, Economia Aziendale Online, (3).
  43. Guthrie J., Ball A. and Farneti F. (2010), Advancing sustainable management of public and not for profit organizations, Public Management Review, 12(4), pp. 449-459, DOI: 10.1080/14719037.2010.496254.
  44. Harris I., Mainelli M. and O’Callaghan M. (2002), Evidence of worth in not-for-profit sector organizations, Strategic Change, 11(8), pp. 399-410.
  45. Harrow J. (2006), Chasing shadows? Perspectives on self-regulation in UK charity fundraising, Public Policy and Administration, 21(3), pp. 86-104, DOI: 10.1177/095207670602100307.
  46. Hopwood A. (1984), Accounting and the pursuit of efficiency in Hopwood A. and Tompkins C. (Eds.), Issues in Public Sector Accounting. (Oxford: Philip Allan).
  47. Hyndman N. and McConville D. (2018), Making charity effectiveness transparent: Building a stakeholder‐focussed framework of reporting, Financial Accountability & Management, 34(2), pp. 133-147,
  48. IPSASB (International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board) (2008), Consultation Paper. Conceptual Framework for General Purpose Financial Reporting by Public Sector Entities. September. International Federation of Accountants. -- Available at http://www.ifac.org/sites/default/files/publications/exposure-drafts/IPSASBED_Conceptual_Framework_Phase_1.pdf . Accessed 15 June 2019.
  49. Irvine H. and Ryan C. (2010), An international comparison of not-for-profit accounting regulation, Sixth Asia Pacific Interdisciplinary Research in Accounting Conference. The University of Sydney, 11-13 July.
  50. ISTAT (2018), Censimento permanente delle Istituzioni non-profit. Primi risultati per la Liguria. [Permanent census on non-for-profit organisations. First results for Liguria region]. -- https://www4.istat.it/it/files/2018/02/Nota-non-profit-Liguria_DEF.pdf. Accessed on 15th June 2019.
  51. Jakkula V., Lyly-Yrjänäinen J. and Suomala P. (2006), December. Challenges of practically relevant management accounting research – the scope and intensity of interventionist research in 5th New Practices in Management Accounting Research Conference, Brussels (pp. 14-16).
  52. Jones K.R. and Mucha L. (2014), Sustainability assessment and reporting for nonprofit organizations: Accountability “for the public good”, VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 25(6), pp. 1465-1482,
  53. Jönsson H. and Lukka K. (2007), There and back again. Doing interventionist research in management accounting in the Handbook of management accounting research. Responses to public sector reform. Management Accounting Research, 12, pp. 437-246.
  54. Jönsson S. (2010), Interventionism–an approach for the future?, Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, 7(1), pp. 124-134,
  55. Jönsson S. and Lukka K. (2006), There and back again: doing interventionist research in management accounting, Handbooks of management accounting research, 1, pp. 373-397, DOI: 10.1016/S1751-3243(06)01015-7.
  56. Kearns K.P. (1994), The strategic management of accountability in nonprofit organizations: An analytical framework, Public Administration Review, pp. 185-192.
  57. Keating E.K., Parsons L.M. and Roberts A.A. (2008), Misreporting fundraising: How do nonprofit organizations account for telemarketing campaigns?, The Accounting Review, 83(2), pp. 417-446,
  58. Khumawala S.B. and Gordon T.P. (1997), Bridging the credibility of GAAP: Individual donors and the new accounting standards for nonprofit organizations, Accounting Horizons, 11(3), pp. 45-68.
  59. Kong E. and Prior D. (2008), An intellectual capital perspective of competitive advantage in nonprofit organisations. International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, 13(2), pp. 119-128, DOI: 10.1108/14691930710830864
  60. Kong E. and Ramia G. (2010), A qualitative analysis of intellectual capital in social service non-profit organisations: A theory – practice divide. Journal of Management & Organization, 16(5), pp. 656-676, DOI: 10.1017/S1833367200001796
  61. Krishnan R., Yetman M.H. and Yetman R.J. (2006), Expense misreporting in nonprofit organizations, The Accounting Review, 81(2), pp. 399-420.
  62. Labrey J. (2019), The world’s business model is changing – are you ready, -- Available at http://www.luminous.co.uk/blog/guest-blog-iirc/, accessed on 12th February 2019.
  63. Lewandowski M. (2016), Designing the business models for circular economy – Towards the conceptual framework, Sustainability, 8(1), p. 43,
  64. Low C. (2006), A framework for the governance of social enterprise, International journal of social economics, 33(5/6), pp. 376-385,
  65. Lumley T., Rickey B. and Pike M. (2011), Inspiring impact: Working together for a bigger impact in the UK social sector (London: New Philanthropy Capital).
  66. McCarthy J.H., Shelmon N.E. and Mattie J.A. (2012), Financial and accounting guide for not-for-profit organizations (Vol. 6) (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons).
  67. McConville D. and Cordery C. (2018), Charity performance reporting, regulatory approaches and standard-setting, Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, 37(4), pp. 300-314,
  68. McDonnell D. and Rutherford A. C. (2019), Promoting charity accountability: Understanding disclosure of serious incidents. Accounting forum, 43(1), pp. 42-61, DOI: 10.1080/01559982.2019.1589903
  69. McDowell E.A., Li W. and Smith P.C. (2013), An experimental examination of US individual donors’ information needs and use, Financial Accountability & Management, 29(3), pp. 327-347,
  70. Moore M.H. (2000), Managing for value: Organizational strategy in for-profit, nonprofit, and governmental organizations, Nonprofit and voluntary sector quarterly, 29(1_suppl), pp. 183-204.
  71. Moreau V., Sahakian M., Van Griethuysen P. and Vuille F. (2017), Coming full circle: why social and institutional dimensions matter for the circular economy, Journal of Industrial Ecology, 21(3), pp. 497-506,
  72. Mourad M. (2016), Recycling, recovering and preventing “food waste”: competing solutions for food systems sustainability in the United States and France, Journal of Cleaner Production, 126, pp. 461-477
  73. Munro R. and Mouritsen J. (1996), Accountability: Power, ethos and the technologies of managing (Cengage Learning Emea).
  74. Mussari R. and Monfardini P. (2010), Practices of social reporting in public sector and non-profit organizations: An Italian perspective, Public Management Review, 12(4), pp. 487-492.
  75. Nissan E., Castaño M.S. and Carrasco I. (2012), Drivers of non-profit activity: a cross-country analysis, Small Business Economics, 38(3), pp. 303-320,
  76. O’Dwyer B. and Unerman J. (2008), The paradox of greater NGO accountability: A case study of Amnesty Ireland, Accounting Organizations and Society, 33(7/8), pp. 801-824.
  77. O’Dwyer B., Unerman J. and Hession E. (2005), User needs in sustainability reporting: perspectives of stakeholders in Ireland, European Accounting Review, 14(4), pp. 759-787, DOI: 10.1080/09638180500104766
  78. Palmer P.D. (2013), Exploring attitudes to financial reporting in the Australian not‐for‐profit sector, Accounting & Finance, 53(1), pp. 217-241,
  79. Papaspyropoulos K.G., Blioumis V., Christodoulou A.S., Birtsas P.K. and Skordas K.E. (2012), Challenges in implementing environmental management accounting tools: the case of a nonprofit forestry organization, Journal of Cleaner Production, 29, pp. 132-143,
  80. Parsons L.M. (2003), Is accounting information from nonprofit organizations useful to donors? A review of charitable giving and value-relevance, Journal of Accounting Literature, 22, pp. 104-129.
  81. Parsons L.M. (2007), The impact of financial information and voluntary disclosures on contributions to not-for-profit organizations, Behavioral research in accounting, 19(1), pp. 179-196,
  82. Poole D.L., Nelson J., Carnahan S., Chepenik N.G. and Tubiak C. (2000), Evaluating performance measurement systems in nonprofit agencies: The program accountability quality scale (PAQS), American Journal of Evaluation, 21(1), pp. 15-26, DOI: 10.1177/109821400002100102.
  83. Quarter J. and Richmond B.J. (2001), Accounting for social value in nonprofits and for‐profits, Nonprofit management and leadership, 12(1), pp. 75-85,
  84. Raynard P. (1998), Coming together. A review of contemporary approaches to social accounting, auditing and reporting in non-profit organisations, Journal of Business Ethics, pp. 1471-1479.
  85. Richmond B.J., Mook L. and Jack Q. (2003), Social accounting for nonprofits: Two models, Nonprofit management and leadership, 13(4), pp. 308-324,
  86. Ryan C., Mack J., Tooley S. and Irvine H. (2014), Do not‐for‐profits need their own conceptual framework?, Financial Accountability & Management, 30(4), 383-402,
  87. Salamon L.M. (2012), The state of nonprofit America (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press).
  88. Sargeant A. and Kaehler J. (1998), Benchmarking charity costs (Kings Hill: Charities Aid Foundation).
  89. Sasso P. (2002), Searching for trust in the not-for-profit boardroom: Looking beyond the duty of obedience to ensure accountability, UCLA L. Rev., 50, p. 1485.
  90. Sauvé S., Bernard S. and Sloan P. (2016), Environmental sciences, sustainable development and circular economy: Alternative concepts for trans-disciplinary research, Environmental Development, 17, pp. 48-56,
  91. Saxton G.D. and Guo C. (2011), Accountability online: Understanding the web-based accountability practices of nonprofit organizations, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 40(2), pp. 270-295, DOI: 10.1177/0899764009341086.
  92. Schafer A. (1999), A wink and a nod: a conceptual map of responsibility and accountability in bureaucratic organizations, Canadian Public Administration, 42(1), pp. 5-25.
  93. Schneider J.A. (2009), Organizational social capital and nonprofits, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 38(4), pp. 643-662,
  94. Sennett R. (1997), The new capitalism, Social Research, pp. 161-180.
  95. Sennett R. (2007). The culture of the new capitalism (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press).
  96. Sidel M. (2010), The promise and limits of collective action for nonprofit self-regulation: Evidence from Asia, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 39(6), pp. 1039-1056, DOI: 10.1177/0899764010371514.
  97. Simnett R., Vanstraelen A. and Chua W.F. (2009), Assurance on sustainability reports: An international comparison, The Accounting Review, 84(3), pp. 937-967,
  98. Sinclair A. (1995), The chameleon of accountability: forms and discourses, Accounting, Organizations and Society, 20(2-3), pp. 219-237, DOI: 10.1016/0361-3682(93)E0003-Y.
  99. Smith A.D. (2011), Corporate social responsibility implementation: Comparison of large not-for-profit and for-profit companies, International Journal of Accounting & Information Management, 19(3), pp. 231-246,
  100. Stubbs W. and Higgins C. (2014), Integrated reporting and internal mechanisms of change, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 27(7), pp. 1068-1089, DOI: 10.1108/AAAJ-03-2013-1279
  101. Sunding L. and Odenrick P. (2010), A method for action research interventions to improve joint problem solving in operational teams in the Swedish construction industry, Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, 7(1), pp. 97-123, DOI: 10.1108/11766091011034299.
  102. Suomala P. (2009), Interventionist research – contributing to management accounting through industry-university collaboration, Research Update, (March), pp. 10-11.
  103. Tinkelman D. and Mankaney K. (2007), When is administrative efficiency associated with charitable donations?, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 36(1), pp. 41-64, DOI: 10.1177/0899764006293176.
  104. Tooley S. and Hooks J. (2019), Accounting for Volunteers: Enhancing Organizational Accountability and Legitimacy. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly (First Published, June 10), DOI: 10.1177/0899764019853041.
  105. Torres L. and Pina V. (2003), Accounting for accountability and management in NPOs. A comparative study of four countries: Canada, the United Kingdom, the USA and Spain, Financial Accountability & Management, 19(3), pp. 265-285, DOI: 10.1111/1468-0408.00174
  106. Tuckman H.P. and Chang C.F. (1991), A methodology for measuring the financial vulnerability of charitable nonprofit organizations, Nonprofit and voluntary sector quarterly, 20(4), pp. 445-460, DOI: 10.1177/089976409102000407.
  107. Unerman J. and O’Dwyer B. (2006), On James Bond and the importance of NGO accountability, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 19(3), pp. 305-318, DOI: 10.1108/09513570610670316.
  108. Unerman J. and O’Dwyer B. (2006), Theorising accountability for NGO advocacy, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 19(3), pp. 349-376, DOI: 10.1108/09513570610670334.
  109. Valentinov V. (2011), Accountability and the public interest in the nonprofit sector: a conceptual framework. Financial Accountability & Management, 27(1), pp. 32-42.
  110. Veltri S. and Bronzetti G. (2014), Intellectual capital reporting in the Italian nonprofit sector. An image-building or an accountability tool? in E. Costa, L.D. Parker and M. Andreaus (Eds.), Accountability and social accounting for social and non-profit organizations (Bingley: Emerald Publishing).
  111. Weerawardena J., McDonald R. and Mort G. (2010), Sustainability of non-profit organizations: An empirical investigation, Journal of World Business, 45(4), pp. 346-356,
  112. Yin R.K. (2015), Qualitative research from start to finish (New York: Guilford Publications).

  • The Human Capital for Value Creation and Social Impact: The Interpretation of the IR’s HC Definition Maurizio Cisi, Francesca Alice Centrone, in Sustainability /2021 pp.6989
    DOI: 10.3390/su13136989
  • Does the Adoption of Planning and Control Tools Influence Performance? Opinions of Grantors and Grantees About Non-profit Projects Giacomo Boesso, Fabrizio Cerbioni, Andrea Menini, in FINANCIAL REPORTING 2/2022 pp.35
    DOI: 10.3280/FR2022-002002

Laura Girella, Paola Dameri, Putting integrated reporting where it was not: The case of the not-for-profit sector in "FINANCIAL REPORTING" 2/2019, pp 111-140, DOI: 10.3280/FR2019-002005