Neferirkare's nomen "Kakai" on the Abydos king list.
Neferirkare is well attested in sources contemporaneous with his reign. Beyond his pyramid complex, he is mentioned in the tomb of many of his contemporaries such as his vizier Washptah, the courtier Rawer and the priest Akhethetep. Neferirkare also appears in the nearly contemporaneous Giza writing board, a short list grouping six kings from different dynasties dating to the later Fifth or early Sixth Dynasty. The writing board was uncovered in the tomb of a high official named Mesdjerw, who may have composed it for his use in the afterlife.
Neferirkare is attested in two ancient Egyptian king lists, both dating to the New Kingdom. The earliest of these is the Abydos King List written during the reign of Seti I (fl. 1290–1279 BC). There, Neferirkare's nomen "Kakai" occupies the 28th entry, in between those of Sahure and Neferefre. During the subsequent reign of Ramses II (fl. 1279–1213 BC), Neferirkare's prenomen was recorded on the 27th entry of the Saqqara Tablet, but this time as a successor of Sahure and predecessor of Shepseskare.
Neferirkare was also given an entry on the Turin canon, a document dating to the reign of Ramses II as well. Neferirkare's entry is commonly believed to be on the third column-19th row; unfortunately this line has been lost in a large lacuna affecting the papyrus and neither his reign length nor his successor can be ascertained from the surviving fragments. The Egyptologist Miroslav Verner has furthermore proposed that the Turin canon makes a new dynasty start with this entry and thus that Neferirkare would be its founder. The division of the Turin canon list of kings into dynasties is a currently debated. The Egyptologist Jaromír Málek for example sees the divisions between groups of kings occurring in the canon as marking transfers of royal residence rather than the rise and fall of royal dynasties as this term is currently understood, a usage which only began in the Egyptian context with the 3rd-century BC work of the priest Manetho. Similarly, the Egyptologist Stephan Seidlmeyer, considers the break in the Turin Canon at the end of the Eighth Dynasty to represent the relocation of the royal residence from Memphis to Herakleopolis. The Egyptologist John Baines holds views that are closer to Verner's, believing that the canon was divided into dynasties with totals for the time elapsed given at the end of each, though only few such divisions have survived. Similarly, Professor John Van Seters views the breaks in the canon as divisions between dynasties, but in contrast, states that the criterion for these divisions remains unknown. He speculates that the pattern of dynasties may have been taken from the nine divine kings of the Greater and Lesser Enneads. The Egyptologist Ian Shaw believes that the Turin Canon gives some credibility to Manetho's division of dynasties, but considers the king lists to be a form of ancestor worship and not a historical record.
This whole problematic could be mooted in another of Verner's speculations, where he proposed that Neferirkare's entry may have been located on the 20th line rather than the 19th as is usually believed. This would credit Neferirkare with seven years of reign, and would make Sahure the dynasty founder in the hypothesis that the canon records such events. Archaeological evidences have established that the transitions from Userkaf to Sahure and from Sahure to Neferirkare were father–son transitions, so that neither Sahure nor Neferirkare can be dynasty founders in the modern sense of the term.
Neferirkare was mentioned in the Aegyptiaca, a history of Egypt written in the 3rd century BC during the reign of Ptolemy II (283–246 BC) by Manetho. No copies of the Aegyptiaca have survived to this day and it is now known only through later writings by Sextus Julius Africanus and Eusebius. The Byzantine scholar George Syncellus reports that Africanus relates that the Aegyptiaca mentioned the succession "Sephrês → Nefercherês → Sisirês" for the early Fifth Dynasty. Sephrês, Nefercherês and Sisirês are believed to be the hellenized forms for Sahure, Neferirkare and Shepseskare, respectively. Thus, Manetho's reconstruction of the Fifth Dynasty is in agreement with the Saqqara tablet. In Africanus' epitome of the Aegyptiaca, Nefercherês is reported to have reigned for 20 years.