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Professor Colin Ferguson

inducted 2011 Academia

About Professor Colin Ferguson


"The unwritten ethos (of CBC) was that to achieve anything in life requires effort, considerable effort. There are no short cuts."

Colin Ferguson spent nine years as a student at CBC, commencing in Grade 4 and matriculating in 1967. He was a school prefect and was a member of the College Football team, the Athletics team, and the Swimming team. His most enduring memory of his time at CBC was,
" ...the unwritten ethos that to achieve anything in life requires effort, considerable effort. There are no short cuts."

After completing school, Colin went on to complete a Diploma of Business Studies at the then Warrnambool Institute of Advanced Education (now Deakin University). He followed this by completing a Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University, a Graduate Diploma of Education at the State College of Victoria, a Master of Economics at the University of New England, a Graduate Diploma of Computing and a Doctor of Philosophy at Deakin University. He also became a CPA and a Chartered Accountant.

Colin first commenced work as a graduate auditor in 1971 at the 'Big Four' accounting firm KPMG with a long-term objective of ultimately becoming an academic, such was his enduring inquisitiveness about not only What? and How?, but also Why? So, following a year teaching in the Victorian Education Department, his first job as an academic was in 1975 as a lecturer in accounting at Deakin University Warrnambool when it was still know as WIAE. (In 1980, Colin, accompanied by his wife Yvonne and their baby son, Sam, spent a sabbatical researching and teaching at The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.) Over the years at Deakin he taught many local students who have gone on to become partners in accounting firms across most of the Western District.

With the support of his wife, Yvonne, Colin made the difficult decision to leave the comfortable familiarity of Warrnambool to pursue his career in one of the large sandstone committees. He teaches courses in forensic accounting and is also a Director of the Centre for Accounting and Industry Partnerships which he helped establish in 2008. This Centre engages with industry and the accounting profession on a range of research projects that lead to beneficial outcomes for the Australian economy and the accounting profession.

During his career as an academic, Colin has found himself teaching university courses and presenting research seminars in places like Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Nepal, New Zealand, and Canada.

Colin has also been a strong supporter of the accounting profession. He was a member of the board of the Accounting Association of Australia and New Zealand for five years and served a term as President of the Association. He was a member of the Academic Board of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia for three years and recently stepped down as Chair of the Professional Qualifications Advisory Committee of CPA Australia. Colin spent two terms as the external examiner for the Singapore Polytechnic Business School, and was also a member of the external moderator board of Prime College in Malaysia.

Over his career, Colin has been an active researcher who has focused on research projects that enable him to engage directly with industry and the profession. These research projects have ranged from investigating the supply of and demand for accounting and allied services in rural and regional Australia to the incidence and magnitude of fraud in corporate Australia. He has published the results of his research in many of the leading international business, economic, and accounting journals.

Colin has been engaged in a wide range of consulting projects across his career as an academic. One of the most important and interesting projects was helping to capacity build the accounting profession in the Royal Kingdom of Nepal. This Asia Development Bank project meant that Colin, as part of a small team of experts, made numerous visits to Kathmandu over a period of three years where he worked with the Nepali government agencies and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nepal to establish accounting and auditing training programs that could be used to train and qualify Nepali accountants.

He also worked on an AUSAID project for the government of Thailand to assist the Comptroller General's Department establish training programs to introduce public sector accounting standards into Thai Government agencies. Perhaps the most novel of projects though was providing advice to a Japanese company on where to establish a farm to grow liquorice in Australia!

Without doubt though, the most important and special part of Colin's life has been his family. "My career achievements have only occurred because of the selfless support and encouragement of Yvonne over the past (almost) 40 years."

Colin Ferguson passed away on March 19, 2014 after an illness.