Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Clifford Werlin Andersen (1906–1972)

by Norman J. Marshall

This article was published:

Clifford Werlin Andersen, c1967

Clifford Werlin Andersen, c1967

State Library of Victoria, H38849/63

Clifford Werlin Andersen (1906-1972), accountant, was born on 23 May 1906 in Adelaide, ninth child of Danish parents Adolph Otto Andersen, corporation ganger, and his wife Marie Emilie Augustus, née Werlin. The family was closely knit, but poor. Clifford left school at an early age and could only study part time at Adelaide Technical High School and at the University of Adelaide (Dip.Comm., 1927) where he was president of the Students' Representative Council. In 1928 he was admitted to membership of the Commonwealth Institute of Accountants. At St Augustine's Anglican Church, Unley, on 26 December 1932 he married a teacher Caroline Everard Verco.  

In that year he moved to Melbourne to take up an appointment as assistant-registrar of the Commonwealth Institute which co-operated with the Institute of Chartered Accountants to hold the first Australasian Congress on Accounting in Melbourne in 1936: as its secretary, Andersen established his reputation as a first-rate administrator. The congress kindled his lifelong interest in furthering the professional development of accounting in Australia. In 1938 he succeeded R. J. Oehr as general registrar of the Commonwealth Institute. Having been declared unfit for military service, Andersen was seconded in 1942-44 to the Department of War Organisation of Industry.

Convinced that the profession was being weakened by the proliferation of accounting bodies, he played a major role in moves which led to the amalgamation of the Commonwealth Institute with the Federal Institute of Accountants to form the Australian Society of Accountants in 1953. Andersen was appointed first general registrar of the A.S.A. and became executive director in 1968. In response to the Martin and Vatter reports, in the 1960s he supported wide-ranging changes in the society's membership policy. Largely as a result of his interest, the society gradually built up what was to be named the C. W. Andersen Library, one of the best accounting repositories outside Britain and the United States of America. In 1957-69 Andersen also served as general registrar of the Australasian Institute of Cost Accountants and was instrumental in its merger with the A.S.A.

During this time he became increasingly involved in advancing the international standing of the profession. As part of the Colombo Plan, he had been invited by the Commonwealth government in 1957 to lead a mission to promote the development of accounting bodies in South East Asia. In 1961 he assisted in drafting legislation to establish the Singapore Society of Accountants. Andersen regularly represented Australia at regional conferences and presented papers at international conferences in Manila (1957), Canberra (1960), Tokyo (1962), New Delhi (1965) and New Zealand (1968). A delegate to the eighth and ninth international congresses of accountants in New York and Paris, he did much to secure the tenth congress (1972) for Australia.

Of middle height and medium build, with dark, straight hair parted in the middle, Andersen dressed neatly and conservatively; in his dealings with people he had an easy manner, and was tactful and a good listener. He was a devout member of the Catholic Apostolic Church, Carlton. His interests included tennis, classical music, carpentry and debating. President of the council of the Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne and a life member of the Bush Nursing Association of Victoria, Andersen was appointed O.B.E. in 1971. On his retirement that year, he was made a life member of the A.S.A. He died of complications of aortic stenosis on 29 April 1972 at Parkville and was buried in Springvale cemetery. His wife, two sons and two daughters survived him.

Select Bibliography

  • N. J. Marshall, A Jubilee History, The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia (Victorian Branch), 1928-1978 (Melb, 1978)
  • Australian Accountant, Dec 1971, June 1972
  • Chartered Accountant in Australia, June 1972
  • private information.

Citation details

Norman J. Marshall, 'Andersen, Clifford Werlin (1906–1972)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1993, accessed online 24 May 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, (Melbourne University Press), 1993

View the front pages for Volume 13

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Clifford Werlin Andersen, c1967

Clifford Werlin Andersen, c1967

State Library of Victoria, H38849/63

Life Summary [details]


23 May, 1906
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia


29 April, 1972 (aged 65)
Parkville, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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