B Com/LLB (UNSW), DPhil (Oxon)

Accounting, auditing and accountability

My research interests lie in the related areas of management control, corporate governance and accountability, and fraud as well as the use of qualitative fieldwork as an investigative method. My recent work has focused on the areas of white-collar crime, auditing and risk management. I have also conducted work in the area of the platform economy. This work has sought to inform policy and practice in relation to board performance as well as the detection and prevention of white-collar crime.

I have undertaken a number of studies involving interviews with fraud offenders conducted in prisons in Australia and the United States to explore issues relating to co-offending, rationalisation and motivation. This work has been published in academic journals as well as reports for national crime authorities.

I am committed to engaged scholarship and disseminating research to a broad public audience. My work has been widely communicated through popular business podcasts including The Australian’s ‘Who the Hell is Hamish?’ and The Australian Financial Review’s ‘The Sure Thing’.

Deputy Dean and Head of School, University of Sydney Business School

American Accounting Association Best Paper Award, Forensic and Investigative Accounting section (2014)

ARC Future Fellowship (2011-2014)

Rhodes Scholar

  1. Free, C, Trotman, A, & Trotman K. (2021). How Audit Committee Chairs Address Information-Processing Barriers. The Accounting Review, Volume 96 Number 1, pp. 147–169.
  2. Free, C., Radcliffe, V., Spence, C. & Stein, M. (2020). Auditing and the development of the modern state, Contemporary Accounting Research, Volume 37, Number 1, pp. 485-513.
  3. Andon, P. & Free, C. (2020) Strain, coping and sustained fraud offending. Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, No. 596, pp. 1-14.
  4. McDaid, E., Boedker, C. & Free, C. (2019). Close encounters and the illusion of accountability in the sharing economy, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Volume 32, Number 5, pp. 1437-1466.
  5. Free, C. & Murphy, P. (2015). The ties that bind: The decision to co-offend in fraud, Contemporary Accounting Research, Volume 32, Number 1, pp. 18-54.