Dr Frances Miley
Frederick Watson Fellow 2005
Topic: A history of Army financial administration
Dr Miley presented her findings in a public lecture at the National Archives of Australia in Canberra on 18 May 2006.
Dr Frances Miley is a Senior Lecturer in Accounting in the School of Business at the University of New South Wales and the Australian Defence Force Academy. With postgraduate qualifications in accounting, economics and law, she is uniquely qualified to write a history of Army financial administration. She has recently published Managing a Minefield: Financial Management and the Department of Defence.
The strategic and military decisions made by the Army, one of the largest spenders of Commonwealth funds, is documented in the National Archives’ collection. Dr Frances Miley explored these records, using the Frederick Watson Fellowship to write a history of Army financial administration.
Examining how the Army managed its funds and determined budgetary priorities provides a compelling window on accounting practices and how they intersect with broader political and cultural imperatives. Dr Miley describes this history as ‘a lively one’, as it involves forceful personalities, political machinations, royal commissions into misappropriation and events requiring parliamentary intervention.
Until recently Australian research by accounting historians has focused primarily on business history and research of private sector institutions. Dr Miley’s research and resulting work will be a catalyst for increased use of extensive financial records held in the National Archives.
As a Frederick Watson Fellow, Frances Miley researched a history of Army financial administration. How the Army managed its funds and determined budgetary priorities provides a compelling window on accounting practices and how they intersect with broader political and cultural imperatives.