Default modelling is a general term used for several interrelated fields of risk management. Bond defaults, credit (loan) defaults, firm defaults and country defaults are examples of this kind. The scope and reason for existence of this study is to focus mainly on firm default. The purpose of this review is to shed light on the development and evaluation of the models proposed for predicting bankruptcy in terms of conceptualization, country distribution, sector specification, time dimension, variables used and findings reported. The current review includes firm default studies published in business fields such as accounting, economics, finance and management science. This review is distinct in that it seeks (i) to give a comprehensive examination of the models, (ii) to compare and contrast the features of the models and (iii) to show with a solid argument where future research should be focused. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.