About Derek

Derek is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. He obtained  his degree in Economics and Mathematics at Nottingham University. After working for Price Waterhouse he became a Management Consultant with the P.E. Group, where his assignments were in the UK, Italy, Cyprus and Nigeria.

His  first appointment as a lecturer was at the newly formed Manchester Business School, where he taught in the areas of Financial and Management Accounting.

From there he went as  ‘Foundation for Management Education Fellow’ to  Stanford Business School, where he specialised in Behavioural Studies in order to learn how  the control aspects of accounting were likely to affect the actions of managers, often in unintended ways.

He returned to the UK  in 1971 to become Teaching Fellow in Accounting at the London Business School where he has taught on all the major programmes, including those especially designed for general managers.

In his private capacity, he has designed and taught on programmes for many international companies including: The Bank of America, Barings International Securities, British Aerospace, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Courtaulds, Hambros, Hilton, ING, Paribas, S. G. Warburg & Co, 3M, and Unilever. These programmes took place in Europe, the Far East, Africa, Russia and South America.

In 1984, he co-authored the first edition of “Understand Accounting!” with Claude Hitching and subsequently went on to write the later editions on his own. Many of the concepts that they developed together are still applied in the current edition and Derek is very grateful to him.

Currently Derek is researching and presenting papers at conferences on how Pacioli, the Father of Accounting, may have used his skills in algebra to analyse how the double entry system was developed and used in Venice in the fifteenth century.

It is by returning to Pacioli’s original, very simple approach, and incorporating it into an unfolding story that makes “Understand Accounting” such an easy book to read.


Are you puzzled by double entry accounting? Do you wonder why assets and expenses are treated in the same way? Why you have to debit one thing and credit another? Why debits increase some accounts and decrease others? Never fear! Click here to read about ‘ Pacioli’  and you will never be puzzled again!


In Understand Accounting we also meet Andrew’s better half, Joan, who is keen  to keep up with what he is learning. She is based on a real person, Joan Skyrme, who left her cookbook  to me when, alas, she passed on.

Although you shouldn’t ‘cook the books’, you can cook these recipes! Click here to go to Joan’s ‘Mice pies’ and then read some more in the recipe section of the menu bar. I will be adding add more recipes now and then.