David Heald is Professor of Public Sector Accounting at the Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow. His main research interests are: public expenditure; public sector accounting and public audit, particularly central government; the financing of decentralised government; and the financing of public infrastructure. Recent research has concerned the internationalisation of public sector accounting, accounting for government guarantees, and the governance of UK public bodies. He became a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS) in October 2014 and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in May 2016.
Born in 1947 and educated at Nunthorpe Grammar School, York, he took a BA in Economics at the University of Leicester and then qualified as a Chartered Management Accountant (ACMA) while working at Raleigh Industries and British Steel. He became a lecturer in economics at Glasgow College of Technology (1972-78), obtaining his further education teaching qualification at Jordanhill College, Glasgow. He taught at the University of Glasgow (1978-90), briefly in the Department of Social and Economic Research and then in the Department of Management Studies.
At the University of Glasgow he teaches, inter alia, taxation and public sector accounting to undergraduate Honours and public sector financial management on postgraduate degrees. Previously, he held Chairs at the University of Aberdeen over two discrete time periods. From April 1990 to August 2003 he was Professor of Accountancy, a post to which he returned in the Business School in August 2007. From September 2003 until October 2007 he was Professor of Financial Management at the University of Sheffield Management School, where he completed his three-year term as Head of the Accounting & Financial Management Division in September 2006. From September 2005 to October 2007 he was Associate Dean of the Management School, with special responsibility for RAE 2008. At Sheffield, he taught auditing, management accounting and public sector accounting, and also supervised doctoral work.
High profile journal outlets for his research include Abacus, Accounting & Business Research, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, British Accounting Review, Economic Journal, Financial Accountability & Management, Fiscal Studies, International Review of Administrative Studies, Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management, Management Accounting Review, Political Studies, Public Administration, Public Money & Management and Regional Studies. He co-edited the landmark 'Transparency: The Key to Better Governance?' (Proceedings of the British Academy 135, OUP, 2006) with Christopher Hood (Gladstone Professor of Government, All Souls College, Oxford). Later, he published 'When the Party's Over: The Politics of Fiscal Squeeze in Perspective', Proceedings of the British Academy 197, OUP, 2014), with Christopher Hood and Rozana Himaz (Oxford Brookes).
His research has been funded, inter alia, by: the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants; the British Academy; Chief Scientist Office of the (then) Scottish Office Department of Health; the Economic and Social Research Council; HM Treasury; the Leverhulme Trust; the Ministry of Defence; the Northern Ireland Economic Council; the Nuffield Foundation; the Royal Society of Edinburgh; and the Scottish Foundation for Economic Research.
From 1989 to 2010 he was specialist adviser on public expenditure and government accounting to the Treasury Committee of the House of Commons, having earlier worked for this Committee's predecessor on the financing of nationalised industries (1981). In that capacity, he was heavily involved in inquiries into Estimates reform, Resource Accounting and Budgeting, and the Private Finance Initiative. From 2003 to 2010 he was a member of the Technical Advisory Group of the Audit Commission. He was a member of the Research Advisory Board of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales from 2003-09. For a five-year term beginning 1 August 2004 and ending on 31 July 2009, he was a member of the Financial Reporting Advisory Board which advises HM Treasury on the application of commercial accounting standards to governmental bodies.
He was also specialist adviser on public expenditure to the Scottish Affairs Committee (1980; 1982-83; 1993-96). He was a public witness at Procedure Committee and Treasury Committee evidence sessions and assisted the Health Committee in private session with revisions to the form of the Department of Health's Estimates; and presented at a private seminar in January 2009 held for the House of Lords Select Committee on the Barnett Formula. He was a member of the NHS Executive's Market Forces Factor Sub-Group (1997) and of its NHS Accounting Review Group (1999). He was a member of the Financial Issues Advisory Group, which proposed financial procedures for the Scottish Parliament (1998). From July 2002 to July 2008 he acted as specialist adviser to the Public Accounts Commission of the House of Commons on the
He has consulted for many organisations, both in the United Kingdom and overseas: Audit Scotland (Schools' PFI Expert Group, 2001-02); Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (public expenditure framework of local government finance, 1981-82); Electricity Consumers' Council (investment and pricing policies, 1981-89); National Audit Office (sponsoring arrangements for nationalised industries, 1984-85; and value-for-money strategy in Scotland, 1996-97); Asian Development Bank (academic organiser of conference on the relevance of privatisation to six member countries, 1984-85); Overseas Development Administration (privatisation in Sri Lanka, 1986-87); National Association of Health Authorities (RAWP funding formula, 1986); Australian Council of Trade Unions (public sector reform and privatisation, 1986); United Nations Development Programme (privatisation in Pakistan, 1989); World Bank (review of privatisation experience in monopolistic sectors, 1990); the European Commission (communication under the 1980 transparency Directive, 1991; cross subsidies in public utilities, 1992-94; and employment-related public expenditure in Eastern Europe, 1992-93); and the French Government's Commissariat Général du Plan (utility regulation, 1993-94).
Corporate Plan and Supply Estimates of the National Audit Office. From 2020, he is a member of the UK Treasury’s User-Preparer Advisory Group on government financial reporting.
Glasgow, May 2021