Financial reporting quality during a crisis: a systematic review

Amitav Saha*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose This paper presents a systematic literature review, including content and bibliometric analyses, of the impact of a crisis on financial reporting quality. In addition, this review identifies emerging research themes and provides future directions. Design/methodology/approach The adopted systematic literature review approach finds 29 highly cited articles on the effect of a crisis on financial reporting quality, with an additional seven studies for analysis identified in a review of emerging literature. Findings This study consolidates prior research findings on financial reporting quality during a crisis under four major themes: (1) earnings quality and its determinants; (2) audit quality around a crisis; (3) conservatism, valuation effects and corporate governance; and (4) financial stability and regulations. Mixed and inconclusive findings are documented for most themes, suggesting that this literature is still in its infancy and that room exists for further theoretical refinement. Practical implications The study's findings potentially have important ramifications for managers, standard setters, government regulators and policymakers. By highlighting examples of changes in firms' reporting practices during a crisis, the study provides a context in which to understand the influence or potential influence of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on firms' financial reporting practices. Originality/value To the best of the author's knowledge, this is the first study to systematically review and synthesise prior research findings on the quality of financial reporting during economic crises. The study identifies many unexplored research areas regarding crises, with possible direct implications for financial reporting practices. The impact of these issues needs to be carefully considered and understood, with the current coronavirus pandemic demonstrating that firms have the opportunity to compromise ethical aspects of their decisions as they experience pressure to maximise profits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-176
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Accounting Literature
Issue number2/3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2022


  • Accounting quality
  • Reporting quality
  • Crisis
  • COVID-19
  • Bibliographic analysis


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