The Rise of Non-financial performance Measures in Annual Reports. An Analysis of ATX-listed Companies

Publikation: Wissenschaftliche FachzeitschriftOriginalbeitrag in FachzeitschriftBegutachtung

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Purpose of the article: In the past, annual reports only included financial measures. More recently, this
shareholder value approach has been criticized of leading to a strategic short-term orientation. Consequently,
the use of strategic performance measurement systems (SPMSs), namely the Balanced Scorecard (BSC), is
proposed to communicate non-financial measures to investors and stakeholders. Besides the distribution of
critical information, the disclosure of non-financial measures should strengthen the employees' commitment
to the long-term strategy. The purpose of the article is thus to reveal whether Austrian companies disclose their
strategic performance measures in their annual reports.
Methodology/methods: Two observation points, 2002 and 2012, were chosen to analyse the annual reports of
companies listed on the ATX. This period of time allows to observe changes as well as new trends. The annual
reports have been downloaded from the companies' homepages or received via email or post. A document and
content analysis, followed by a frequency analysis, has been applied to identify several non-financial measures
with regard to the following BSC-derived perspectives: Customer perspective, internal business perspective
and innovation and learning perspective.
Scientific aim: The scientific aim of the following study is to examine the extent to which non-financial
performance measures are displayed in annual reports.
Findings: The analysis of the annual reports showed a tremendous increase in non-financial measures in
the time period between 2002 and 2012, which solely arose from the augmented disclosure activities of the
innovation and learning perspective. On the other hand, the customer and internal perspectives decreased
in importance. Moreover, the top ten measures in 2002 have changed and are dominated by diversity and
environmental issues in the year 2012.
Conclusions: Similar findings in the literature as well as the influence of legal disclosure requirements are
discussed. Possible limitations are the sole use of the Balanced Scorecard as a SPMS or the chosen time period
of ten years.
Seiten (von - bis)9 - 21
FachzeitschriftTrends Economics and Management
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2016