Sir Andrew Likierman profile
What do you bring to the post of NAO Chair?
What I hope is a good combination of experience, expertise and independence. I’ve worked with Parliament as advisor to several Select Committees, in government for many years and in the private sector. I’ve also specialized at different times on public spending, on government accounting, on corporate governance and – in recent years – on performance measurement. My academic role means that I am, and will remain, independent. This combination will help to form judgments necessary for the job.
Going back to your time in the Treasury, how significant has the adoption of resource accounting and budgeting (RAB) been for central government?
Very significant. For example, it has revealed the government’s asset and liability base and provided the basis for them to be properly managed. Working capital was simply not recognised before, so couldn’t be managed. Another big benefit has been to give the basis for costs to be differentiated from cash flow. I could go on….
What behaviourial change do you believe RAB has induced?
A number. Of these I would pick the way resource budgeting has helped to develop a greater awareness among non-accountants of the importance of better financial information in the way decisions are taken.
Has the GFP initiative succeeded in making the finance in government more professional?
Yes, and this is an important part of the move to make the whole of government more professional. Finance has led the way here. The quality of people in central government finance has also risen markedly. But there is still much more to do in spreading understanding of finance among non-professionals.
Sir Andrew Likierman FCCA is the newly appointed Chairman of the National Audit Office. He is Professor of Management Practice at the London Business School and a non-executive director of Barclays Bank. He was a Managing Director of HM Treasury and Head of the UK Government Accountancy Service from 1993 to 2004, where he was responsible for the project to introduce resource accounting and budgeting. Until his NAO appointment, he was a Director of the Bank of England.