Dr James Brackley


Management School

Lecturer in Accounting

Accreditations Officer

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Dr James Brackley
Management School
Sheffield University Management School
Conduit Road
S10 1FL

James Brackley is a Lecturer in Accounting, specialising in Financial Reporting, Audit and Public Sector Accounting. James' PhD was on the transfer of Public Health to Local Authorities following the 2012 Health and Social Care Act. He is an ICAEW Chartered Accountant, qualifying in the Public Sector practice of PwC and member of the Audit Reform Lab.

His research interests including Science and Technology Studies based theorisations of public value, public accountability, and the public interest, via a range of empirical settings. These include the audit industry, local government, healthcare and higher education. His work on both local government and higher education finances has been widely cited in the media, including the Financial Times, The Guardian, BBC Radio 4, and ITV. 

James convenes the Critical Accounting Podcast, which you can follow on Twitter or subscribe to on YouTube. He is also an independent expert advisor to the Sheffield City Council Audit Committee.

  • PhD - University of Birmingham
  • ACA - Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
  • Senior Fellow - Higher Education Academy
  • MSci Mathematics - University of Bristol
Research interests

James is currently pursuing an ICAEW funded multi-method research project on audit failure and the experiences of early career auditors in the Big-4.

He is lead investigator on an ISRF and BAFA funded project on the future of UK Higher Education.

He is also leading a project on local government finances, audit, and accountability, with a particular focus on the Birmingham City Council 'bankruptcy'.

He is a member of the Audit Reform Lab, and contributes to a range of projects on audit reform and audit failure. He is part of a team investigating the use of role play as a pedagogic method for the teaching of business ethics. He also works with colleagues across the field on theoretical developments in critical accounting at the intersection of science and technology studies and political economy.


Journal articles


  • Vollmer H, Bigoni M, Brackley J, Closs-Davies S, Cuckston T, Denedo M, Ejiogu A, Frandsen A-C, Ghio A, Hoskin K , McBride K et al (2024) Encountering accounting in society, Handbook of Accounting in Society (pp. 446-458). Edward Elgar Publishing RIS download Bibtex download
  • Brackley J (2024) Accounting for public value In Vollmer H (Ed.), Handbook of Accounting in Society (pp. 78-90). Cheltenham: Elgar. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Smyth S & Brackley J (2024) Accounting vs. Economic inequality – two cases of critical accounting praxis In Vollmer H (Ed.), Handbook of Accounting in Society (pp. 209-225). Cheltenham: Elgar. RIS download Bibtex download


  • Brackley J, Jose T, Leaver A & Tischer D (2023) Audit failure in the UK energy supply industry RIS download Bibtex download
  • Brackley J (2022) Audit quality: beyond the technical perspective RIS download Bibtex download

Website content

  • Brackley J UK visa crackdown risks universities' future. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Brackley J Institutions at risk due to Covid-19: a tool kit for members and negotiators. RIS download Bibtex download


  • Brackley J (2024) How Birmingham city council’s ‘equal pay’ bankruptcy provided cover for ongoing Oracle IT disaster. RIS download Bibtex download


Research group
  • ISRF - £25,000 grant on the funding arrangements for UK Higher Education (commenced 2024).
  • ICAEW - £2,500 ECR funded project on the experiences of junior auditors in the UK Big-4 Accounting firms (accepted 2024).
  • BAFA - £1,800 the financial risk and resilience of UK Higher Education Institutions (commenced 2024).
  • CRAFiC - £2,000 internally funded seedcorn project on the financial risk and resilience of UK Higher Education Institutions (completed 2023)
  • ESRC - £240,000 secondary data project on the provision of Homecare services in England (under review)
Teaching interests

James had a wide range of teaching experience across Financial Accounting, Financial Statement Analysis, Auditing, Public Sector Accounting and Management Accounting. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

He has led on pedagogic innovations and student engagement activities during the Covid-19 pandemic, and has an interest in developing fully integrated cases and teaching through role play. A key focus of his teaching is making Accounting Education both critical and relevant to real world problems and contemporary practice.

Teaching activities

For the 2023/24 academic year, James will be leading the delivery of 'Advances in Financial Accounting' and 'Auditing' modules on the MSc Accounting and Financial Management programme.

Professional activities and memberships
  • Treasurer of the BAFA Interdisciplinary Perspectives SIG
  • Independent member of the Sheffield City Council Audit and Standards Committee.
PhD Supervision

James would be interested in supporting qualitative or mixed methods PhD applications as assistant supervisor in the areas of Audit, Public Sector Management Accounting or Financial Reporting, Public Value, or Public Accountability.