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Volume 23, 2023


Corporate digital responsibility: bibliometric landscape – chronological literature review
Michaela Bednárová and Yuliia Serpeninova
Published January 2023
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Over the last decade, we have witnessed how new technologies, such as AI in the form of automation or machine learning, have proliferated in business processes. Although digitalisation has led to a significant increase in efficiency, it raises certain concerns related to privacy, data protection and other human rights, which might be at stake when huge amounts of data are being collected and processed or when AI is used for decision making. Digitalisation, apart from increasing efficiency, has a strong potential to contribute to sustainable development if responsibility and trust are guaranteed. Therefore, companies should critically reflect upon different ethical criteria to avoid compromising democratic rights and values when engaging in digitalisation. In our study, we wanted to draw attention to and increase awareness of an evolving area of corporate digital responsibility. In addition to the bibliometric analysis of the CDR literature, a summary of the definitions is provided.

Hope or hype? Blockchain and accounting
Michael Alles and Glen L. Gray
Published March 2023
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Gartner’s hype cycle of technology famously progresses from the “peak of inflated expectations” to the “plateau of productivity” via the “trough of disillusionment”. Accounting researchers and practitioners—like researchers and practitioners in many other fields—have jumped onto the blockchain bandwagon for fear of missing out on what has been hailed as a world changing technology. Unfortunately, there is a pervasive lack of understanding of what blockchain is, and misconceptions about what it can do. A fundamental problem is that blockchain was derived from bitcoin and there is a great deal of difficulty in defining what blockchain is, and how suitable the methodology for a trustless, public cybercurrency application is to a public blockchain between trusted partners. It is time, we believe, to look at blockchain in accounting with more objectivity. We undertake a detailed exploration of blockchain and identify several key factors that will defines the uses of this technology, namely, the distinction between public and private blockchains and the importance of processing costs as a validating mechanism.

Exploring a new business model for lending processes in the banking sector using Blockchain technology: An Italian case study
Giuseppina Iacoviello and Elena Bruno
Published May 2023
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Blockchain is a decentralized information technology (IT) architecture that has garnered significant attention across various sectors of the global economy. In the banking sector, blockchain was initially used for cryptocurrency trading and later expanded to encompass smart contracts, peer-to-peer transactions, and other banking services. In recent years, blockchain technology (BT) has been applied to streamline less standardized credit processes and to successfully support mortgage credit through decentralized recording on ledgers. Employing a qualitative research approach, this paper proposes a novel business model for small banks that utilizes new-generation information technologies to enhance loan profitability. While previous research has linked BT to lending processes, this study is the first to propose a BT application for reshaping traditional banking practices, especially for commercial banks. The research findings demonstrate that blockchain implementation offers advantages in containing information asymmetries, managing credit rationing, and driving business innovation.

The value relevance of digitalization disclosure in integrated reports: A South African perspective
Aneetha Sukhari, Daniël Coetsee and Abejide Ade-Ibijola
Published September 2023
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The inevitable disruptions in the Fourth Industrial Revolution necessitates that companies provide investors with digitalization disclosure in integrated reports. This paper investigated whether digitalization disclosure in integrated reports affects the share prices of South African listed companies. The relationship between digitalization disclosure and share prices is examined using the Ohlson (1995) Model through the application of panel data. A new proxy for the “other information” variable in the Ohlson (1995) Model was created for digitalization disclosure by developing a disclosure index to measure the scope of digitalization disclosure in integrated reports. The disclosure index was incorporated into a new text analysis software named the Fourth Industrial Revolution Disclosure Analysis Tool (4IRDAT), which uses algorithms based on natural language processing techniques to facilitate the content analysis of digitalization disclosure in integrated reports. Two scenarios were evaluated: including loss-making companies and excluding loss-making companies. The sample size, including loss-making companies and excluding loss-making companies, was 90 (270 observations) and 72 (216 observations), respectively, for three years from 2018 to 2020. It was established that there was an increase in digitalization disclosure over three years. The results indicated that digitalization disclosure had yet to be incorporated in the share price of South African listed companies for both scenarios. This study is indispensable to regulators, practitioners, standard setters, and academics because it provides empirical evidence on the value relevance of digitalization disclosure in integrated reports. This area has not been interrogated in a South African context.

Infusing Blockchain in accounting curricula and practice: expectations, challenges, and strategies
Hrishikesh Desai
Published October 2023
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Blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, is acknowledged as the most significant and disruptive innovation in accounting since the double-entry system. All the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms and several major S&P500 companies have invested considerable resources in developing blockchain technologies. Some maximalists of this technology have even hinted that it will fundamentally change accounting and auditing if all transactions can be captured in an immutable blockchain. It is a daunting task for accounting academics to determine how to infuse blockchain in accounting curricula since the body of knowledge in this area spans several disciplines, such as, accounting, economics, finance, computer science, and engineering. It is also difficult for accounting practitioners to know what aspects of this technology are relevant to accountants for the same reason. In this paper, using the diffusion of innovation theory, I help explain why we need to incorporate the accounting-relevant aspects of blockchain in accounting curricula and practice and how we can accomplish that goal without introducing unnecessary technological complexity and jargon. I also provide eight case studies, which were successfully trialled by me at CPA organization/association conferences, that can be used to communicate the accounting relevant aspects of blockchain in the domains of accounting, tax, and audit services.

Professional skepticism for green reputation clients: A mixed method study of technology enabled audits
Ashish Varma, Daniela Mancini and Shreya Kaushik
Published November 2023
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The research investigated auditor’s Professional Skepticism (PS) mindset while auditing the “integrated financial statement” of green reputation clients in a technology enabled audit environment. The study tries to understand the difference in thought and action of auditors based on perception of their client as sustainability responsible or not. Subsequently, the study offers meaningful insights about the nuances that upholds this distinction. This research comprises two studies using the mixed method procedure as per Creswell and Clark (2017). The first study is a 2 x 2 between subject experiment. The second study uses the Theories in Use (TiU) methodology by analyzing qualitative interviews of practicing auditors in an emerging market setting. The findings of study 1 (comprising the experiment) highlight that auditors are more professionally skeptical while auditing clients with a green reputation. Study 2 (utilizing qualitative interviews) points out that technology assists the PS mindset by enhancing the audit effectiveness and audit efficiency of green client’s audit. The study offers an in-depth understanding of the level of auditor’s PS mindset toward clients with a green reputation, and therefore demystifies the inherent forces at play during such a phenomenon. Although the setting of the study is an emerging market, the study offers transferable findings to improve the overall understanding of auditor’s mindset. The study has implications for multiple actors engaged in the audit process, viz., auditors, audit firms, regulator of the audit profession, audit committees, academia, and policy makers.

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