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Mr Mark Billings

Mr Mark Billings

Senior Lecturer in Accounting and Business History

2658

+44 (0) 1392 722658

1.12
Streatham Court, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4PU, UK

Mark Billings joined the Business School in December 2011.  He was previously Lecturer in Accounting and Risk at Nottingham University Business School, where he was co-director of the Centre for International Business History.  Before this he held positions in banking, business and the accounting profession and at Sheffield Hallam University and City University Business School.  He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.  His research interests are in financial reporting, and banking, financial and accounting history.  His teaching has covered several areas, mainly financial reporting, auditing, corporate governance, financial accounting theory and risk management in corporates and financial institutions.

Qualifications

MSc (London), BA (Sheffield), PGCLT (Sheffield Hallam), FCA

Research

Research interests

  • British banking history in the twentieth century
  • Financial reporting of corporate pensions obligations

The continuing financial crisis has exposed British banks to considerable criticism, resulted in full or partial state ownership for some institutions, and stimulated significant reforms to the banking system.  But the recent problems in the banking sector are the continuation of a long tradition in the complex relationship between the British government and the country’s large commercial banks.  In my research on banking and financial history I try to convey the message that there are no simple answers to such problems and that we have seldom found permanent solutions.

The reporting of corporate pensions obligations is one of the most technically difficult areas in financial reporting and arguably has significant consequences for pensions provision by employers.  Reporting in this area has improved dramatically in recent years but my research on this topic shows that considerable scope remains for further improvement.

Research projects

I am currently working on a series of papers with Alan Booth, Professor of Economic History at the University of Exeter’s Cornwall campus, on banking in post-World War Two Britain.  We are particularly interested in the interaction between rising affluence, improvements in technology and the changing attitudes of government and financial institutions to regulation and competition.

With former colleagues at Nottingham University Business School we continue our work originally undertaken for the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) on how sponsoring companies report the risks arising from their defined benefit pension schemes.  Risk reporting benchmarks do exist in this area, but reporting practice varies widely, which is not helpful for the users of financial statements.  The scope for managerial discretion in pensions reporting raises the possibility of the manipulation of reported pensions liabilities, and we are working with a large data set covering several years to identify whether there is evidence of such manipulation.

Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year

Publications by category


Books

Billings M, Cowdell P, Cowdell J (2001). Investment Management. Canterbury, Kent, Financial World Publishing. Abstract.

Journal articles

Billings M, O brien C, Woods M, Vencappa D (2016). Discretion in accounting for pensions under IAS 19: using the ‘magic telescope’?. Accounting and Business Research, 1-21. Abstract.  Full text.
Billings M, Tilba A, Wilson J (2016). ‘To invite disappointment or worse’: governance, audit and due diligence in the Ferranti–ISC merger. Business History, 58(4), 453-478.
Billings M (2015). Book Review: Banking in crisis: the rise and fall of British banking stability 1800 to the present. Economic History Review, 68(3), 1072-1073.
Billings M (2014). Book Review: When Wall Street Met Main Street: the Quest for an Investors' Democracy. Enterprise and Society, 15(1), 168-171.
Billings M, Oats L (2014). Innovation and pragmatism in tax design: Excess Profits Duty in the UK during the First World War. Accounting History Review, 24, 83-101. Abstract.
Billings M (2013). Book Review: Unsettled Account: the Evolution of Banking in the Industrialized World Since 1800. Economica, 80(320), 795-796.
Billings M, Bátiz-Lazo B (2012). Accounting Regulation and Management Discretion - a Case Note. Abacus: a journal of accounting, finance and business studies, 48(3), 414-437. Full text.
Billings M (2012). Book Review: Financial centres and international capital flows in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. BUSINESS HISTORY, 54(5), 811-813. Author URL.
Billings M, Bátiz-Lazo, B (2012). New Perspectives on Not-for-profit Financial Institutions: Organisational Form, Performance and Governance. Business History, 54(3), 309-324. Full text.
Billings M (2011). Book review: Creative accounting, fraud and international accounting scandals. BUSINESS HISTORY, 53(7), 1185-1186. Author URL.
Billings M, Capie F (2011). Financial crisis, contagion, and the British banking system between the world wars. Business History, 53(2), 193-215. Full text.
Billings M, O'Brien C, Woods M (2010). Accounting for Pension Risk. The Actuary, 24-25.
Billings M, O'Brien C, Woods M (2010). Bring Risk into the Open. The Treasurer, 32-33.
Billings M (2010). The Rise of the International Treasury Profession. The South African Treasurer, 18-20.
Billings M, Capie F (2009). Transparency and Financial Reporting in Mid-twentieth Century British Banking. Accounting Forum, 38-53. Full text.
Billings M, Capie F (2007). Capital in British banking, 1920–1970. Business History, 49(2), 139-162.
Capie F, Billings M (2004). Evidence on competition in English commercial banking, 1920-1970. Financial History Review, 11(1), 69-103+1-5.
Billings M, Capie F (2004). The development of management accounting in UK clearing banks, 1920-70. Accounting, Business and Financial History, 14(3), 317-338.
Billings M, Capie, F (2001). Accounting Issues and the Measurement of Profits - English Banks - 1920-68. Accounting, Business & Financial History, 11(2), 225-251.
Billings M, Capie F (2001). Profitability in English Banking in the Twentieth Century. European Review of Economic History, 5(3), 367-401.

Chapters

Billings M (2016). A historical perspective on risk management. In Woods M, Linsley P (Eds.) The Routledge Companion to Risk and Accounting, Abingdon: Routledge.
Billings M (2016). Financial Reporting, Banking and Financial Crisis: Past, Present and Future. In Hollow M, Akinbami F, Michie R (Eds.) Complexity and Crisis in the Financial System: Critical Perspectives on American and British Banking, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 287-305.  Full text.
Billings M, Oats L, de Cogan D (2015). The Board of Referees: “A Most Useful Addition to Fiscal Machinery”. In Harris P (Ed) Studies in the History of Tax Law, Oxford: Hart Publishing, 107-132.  Abstract.
Billings M, Booth A (2010). Techno-Nationalism, the Post Office and the Creation of Britain’s National Giro. In Batiz-Lazo B (Ed) Technological Innovation in Retail Finance, Routledge, 155-172.

Reports

Billings M, O'Brien C, Woods M (2010). Pensions Risk Disclosures by FTSE 100 Companies. Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.

Publications by year


2016

Billings M (2016). A historical perspective on risk management. In Woods M, Linsley P (Eds.) The Routledge Companion to Risk and Accounting, Abingdon: Routledge.
Billings M, O brien C, Woods M, Vencappa D (2016). Discretion in accounting for pensions under IAS 19: using the ‘magic telescope’?. Accounting and Business Research, 1-21. Abstract.  Full text.
Billings M (2016). Financial Reporting, Banking and Financial Crisis: Past, Present and Future. In Hollow M, Akinbami F, Michie R (Eds.) Complexity and Crisis in the Financial System: Critical Perspectives on American and British Banking, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 287-305.  Full text.
Billings M, Tilba A, Wilson J (2016). ‘To invite disappointment or worse’: governance, audit and due diligence in the Ferranti–ISC merger. Business History, 58(4), 453-478.

2015

Billings M (2015). Book Review: Banking in crisis: the rise and fall of British banking stability 1800 to the present. Economic History Review, 68(3), 1072-1073.
Billings M, Oats L, de Cogan D (2015). The Board of Referees: “A Most Useful Addition to Fiscal Machinery”. In Harris P (Ed) Studies in the History of Tax Law, Oxford: Hart Publishing, 107-132.  Abstract.

2014

Billings M (2014). Book Review: When Wall Street Met Main Street: the Quest for an Investors' Democracy. Enterprise and Society, 15(1), 168-171.
Billings M, Oats L (2014). Innovation and pragmatism in tax design: Excess Profits Duty in the UK during the First World War. Accounting History Review, 24, 83-101. Abstract.

2013

Billings M (2013). Book Review: Unsettled Account: the Evolution of Banking in the Industrialized World Since 1800. Economica, 80(320), 795-796.

2012

Billings M, Bátiz-Lazo B (2012). Accounting Regulation and Management Discretion - a Case Note. Abacus: a journal of accounting, finance and business studies, 48(3), 414-437. Full text.
Billings M (2012). Book Review: Financial centres and international capital flows in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. BUSINESS HISTORY, 54(5), 811-813. Author URL.
Billings M, Bátiz-Lazo, B (2012). New Perspectives on Not-for-profit Financial Institutions: Organisational Form, Performance and Governance. Business History, 54(3), 309-324. Full text.

2011

Billings M (2011). Book review: Creative accounting, fraud and international accounting scandals. BUSINESS HISTORY, 53(7), 1185-1186. Author URL.
Billings M, Capie F (2011). Financial crisis, contagion, and the British banking system between the world wars. Business History, 53(2), 193-215. Full text.

2010

Billings M, O'Brien C, Woods M (2010). Accounting for Pension Risk. The Actuary, 24-25.
Billings M, O'Brien C, Woods M (2010). Bring Risk into the Open. The Treasurer, 32-33.
Billings M, O'Brien C, Woods M (2010). Pensions Risk Disclosures by FTSE 100 Companies. Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.
Billings M, Booth A (2010). Techno-Nationalism, the Post Office and the Creation of Britain’s National Giro. In Batiz-Lazo B (Ed) Technological Innovation in Retail Finance, Routledge, 155-172.
Billings M (2010). The Rise of the International Treasury Profession. The South African Treasurer, 18-20.

2009

Billings M, Capie F (2009). Transparency and Financial Reporting in Mid-twentieth Century British Banking. Accounting Forum, 38-53. Full text.

2007

Billings M, Capie F (2007). Capital in British banking, 1920–1970. Business History, 49(2), 139-162.

2004

Capie F, Billings M (2004). Evidence on competition in English commercial banking, 1920-1970. Financial History Review, 11(1), 69-103+1-5.
Billings M, Capie F (2004). The development of management accounting in UK clearing banks, 1920-70. Accounting, Business and Financial History, 14(3), 317-338.

2001

Billings M, Capie, F (2001). Accounting Issues and the Measurement of Profits - English Banks - 1920-68. Accounting, Business & Financial History, 11(2), 225-251.
Billings M, Cowdell P, Cowdell J (2001). Investment Management. Canterbury, Kent, Financial World Publishing. Abstract.
Billings M, Capie F (2001). Profitability in English Banking in the Twentieth Century. European Review of Economic History, 5(3), 367-401.

Awards and Honours

  • My 2009 article with Forrest Capie in Accounting Forum was cited as one of the Top 50 Papers in Emerald’s Citations of Excellence for 2010.

External positions

  • Member of the Board of Studies for the Association of Corporate Treasurers - Advanced Diploma qualification which confers full membership of the Association
  • Trustee of the Economic and Business History Society. Associate Editor of the Society’s journal ‘Essays in Economic and Business History’; Program Chair-elect for the Society’s 2014 conference held in the UK.’  The Associate Editor post is with effect from May 2012
  • Independent examiner (effectively honorary auditor) of the Association of Business Historians.
  • Honorary Treasurer, Devon and Cornwall Record Society.

Much of my teaching has been in areas key to professional accountants such as auditing and financial reporting.  These areas can sometimes appear dry or irrelevant to students, but the reality is different.  The business world is not perfect and there are numerous scandals and frauds which can illustrate governance and accounting problems.  I also draw on my experience in the accounting profession and in business for many examples and insights relevant in understanding such topics.

Taught modules

Modules

2016/17