Alasdair Macnab

Alasdair Macnab


  • 2.01 Elizabeth Fry Building

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Personal profile


Dr Alasdair Macnab FCMA CGMA was Executive Director of Corporate Services, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh for 18 years until January 2018 where his duties included: providing professional services to internal and external stakeholders in finance and accountancy, human resource management including training and development, ICT, estates and facilities management, capital projects, commercial activities (retail and catering), fundraising and membership. He managed relationships with professional firms, which provided consultancy services to RBGE. He led the RBGE's corporate planning and performance management activities, and acted as Secretary to the Board of Trustees at RBGE. Prior to that appointment Alasdair was a commissioned officer in the Royal Air Force where his duties included: accountancy, human resource management, estates and facilities management, NATO exchange post, management services team leader on exchange with Royal Navy, strategic planning - UK home defence, corporate planning, performance management and budget management. He was appointed Head of Accountancy Profession, Royal Air Force in his last two years of service.

Alasdair has published a number of practitioner and academic articles on outcome costing/budgeting in the public sector. He is currently advising the Government of Malaysia on the implementation of their outcome budgeting process.

Alasdair serves on the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants' Council and recently was appointed to the Chartered Global Management Accountants' Examinations Board. More recently, he served on their Research and Development Panel and Thought Leadership Committee for some 11 years in total. Alasdair is an experienced board member having served on a number of public sector boards in Scotland, notably he chaired the Scottish Government's Steering Board for Shared Services in Procurement. Additionally, he serves as Deputy Chair of the Earlham Institute, Norwich Research Park and is Chair of their Audit Committee.

Key Research Interests and Expertise

Alasdair has developed an outcome costing and budgeting model through his research with both the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and, more recently, with the Government of Malaysia. Alasdair has presented internationally and published a number of practitioner and academic articles on outcome costing/budgeting in the public sector and is frequently asked to present to undergraduate and postgraduate classes at a number of universities in UK and abroad.

Academic Background

Macnab A.J.(2009)  Research Update  Short article on the use of Balanced Scorecard in support of Performance Management.
Macnab, A.J., F. Mitchell, C. Carr (2010 ) Garden designs to improve the line of sight: Implementation of the balanced scorecard and an alternative costing system at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Research Executive summary Series Vol 6 Issue 7 01 Jul 2010
Macnab, A.J. (2010) Strategic Management 01 Aug 2010 Article in Financial Management - CIMA's professional journal
Macnab A.J. (2011) The Balanced Scorecard combined with an alternative costing system: an effective contribution to governance 01 Nov 2010 Article in Sibbaldia, The Journal of Botanic Garden Horticulture No 8
Macnab, A.J. (2011) Reviving the balanced scorecard. Excellence in Leadership Issue 4 2011 published by CIMA.
Advanced Performance Institute (2012) Executing Strategy and Aligning Financial Planning: Balanced Scorecard Best Practice at RBGE Management Case Study – major contributor A.J. Macnab
Macnab, A.J. (2012) Strategic Objective Costing CGMA Magazine (Inaugural Issue) 2012 published by AICPA
Macnab, A .J. & F. Mitchell (2012) Strategic Objective Costing - Supporting the Balanced Scorecard. CGMA Report. London, CIMA/AICPA. (2012)
Macnab, A.J (2012) The Adapted Balanced Scorecard and Strategic Objective Costing: a Solution for Improved Corporate Governance in the Public Sector? Journal of Management Accounting Studies (2012))
Macnab A.J. & F. Mitchell (2014) Outcome Budgeting in the Public Sector: Challenges and Solutions. An Exploratory Empirical Study; WCoA 2014
Yang G, A.J.Macnab, L.Yang, C.Fan  (2015) "Developing performance measures and setting their targets for national research institutes based on strategy maps", Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management, Vol. 6 (2):
Alasdair Macnab (2015) Debate: Would outcome costing and integrated reporting link resources to strategy in the public sector?, Public Money & Management, 35:6, 399-400, DOI: 10.1080/09540962.2015.1083683
Macnab, A.J.; J. McNaughton, & F. Mitchell (2016) Outcome Costing: A Significant Advancement For Determining Public Sector Cost-Effectiveness CIMA FM Special Report ISBN: 978-1-85971-830-8
Macnab, A.J. (2016)  Briefing: Strategic Frameworks, Outcome Costing/Budgeting, and Cost-Effectiveness (

Macnab, A.J.; H. B. Abu; J. McNaughton; W. M. A. B. W. Harun; OUTCOME BUDGETING/COSTING: Theory in Practice, The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and The Government of Malaysia,  A Case Study on Collaboration and Early Implementation

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 May 2011

Award Date: 1 Feb 1998

Master of Arts, Keele University

Award Date: 1 May 1992

Bachelor of Accounting, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jul 1975

External positions

Deputy Chair/Trustee Director, The Earlham Institute

31 Mar 2017 → …

Chair of Audit Committee, The Earlham Institute

31 Mar 2017 → …

Member of Council, CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants)

1 Jun 2015 → …