Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria
|Formation||1 September 1965|
|Purpose||Encourage professionalism in accountancy in Nigeria|
|Alhaji Razak Adeleke Jaiyeola|
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) is a professional accountancy body in Nigeria. It is one of the two professional accountancy associations with regulatory authority in Nigeria, the other being the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN). The relationship between the two organizations has been tense. In 2007 ICAN attempted to have the bill establishing ANAN declared void.
Foundation and growth
The Association of Accountants in Nigeria (AAN) was formed in 1960 with the goal of training accountants. Chief Akintola Williams playing a leading role in establishing the organization. ICAN was created by an Act of Parliament No. 15 of 1 September 1965 from existing accounting and auditing organizations including the AAN. At time of foundation, ICAN had 250 members.
ICAN has the mission statement: "To Produce World-Class Chartered Accountants, Regulate and Continuously Enhance Their Ethical Standards and Technical Competence in the Public Interest". It has headquarters in Lagos. By 2003 ICAN had over 12,000 members. In August 2004 the ICAN began providing training on Information Technology for its members. On 11 May 2011, ICAN admitted 1,494 new members who had successfully passed their qualifying examination, bring total membership to 32,722.
In May 2011 Major General Sebastian Achulike Owuama (retired), the 46th President of ICAN and the 16th President of the Association of Accountancy Bodies in West Africa, was elected President of the newly created Pan-African Federation of Accountants (PAFA), or Fédération Panafricaine des Experts-Comptables (FEPEC). He was elected during the inaugural meeting of PAFA in Dakar, Senegal. The International Federation of Accountants described creation of PAFA, which includes professional accountancy organizations from 35 countries, as a "historical event for the accountancy profession and the African continent".
ICAN has based its practices on those of British chartered accountancy institutes. Nigeria adopted International Accounting Standards with little modification. ICAN is a member of the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC) and periodically adopts IASC standards. Any deviation from these standards must be disclosed in a company's financial statements. In the 1990s ICAN was dominated by members holding qualifications from the London-based Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). Although the ICAN claimed complete independence of the ACCA, it was under attack for defending the status quo in accountancy practices and for suppressing changes to address local requirements.
In August 2010 the Federal Government approved migration to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by 2012. In May 2011 Joshua Okeowo, chairman of the Ikeja District of ICAN, said adoption of the IFRS would encourage foreign investment in Nigeria. He said IFRS would also "reduce cash transactions in the economy, thereby reducing the incidence of armed robbery".
The Companies Act of 1968 required that all limited liability companies are audited by a duly recognized auditor. As of 1993, only members of the ICAN qualified to be auditors. They had to pass ICAN examinations to gain a practicing certificate. In effect, the ICAN had full control over entry to the profession. Although a growing number of financial analysts in Nigeria are designated Certified Financial Analysts, there is no body in Nigeria that certifies analysts to produce research reports. Most such reports are prepared by members of ICAN or the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers. A consultant offering financial services in Nigeria must be a member of either ANAN or ICAN. In March 2011 Professor Oladapo Afolabi, Head of the Civil Service, said that professional certificates of associations such as ICAN and ACCA could be used in recruitment and advancement in the public service, but could not be required.
Relationship with ANAN
The Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) was chartered on 25 August 1993. The government had given ANAN the mandate to compete with ICAN, and by 1994 the two organizations were fighting for control of the Chartered Accountants profession in Nigeria. In 2002 ICAN applied to the courts to disqualify and/or bar Mr Clement Akpamgbo from representing ANAN, and the matter was referred to a lower court. ANAN appealed the decision, but the appeal was dismissed for lack of merit. In November 2007 a Federal High Court in Lagos dismissed a suit by ICAN requesting the court to declare that the decree establishing ANAN was void.
In March 2009, ANAN President Dr Samuel Nzekwe rejected an attempt by ICAN to set auditing standards for its members. He said that the Nigerian Accounting Standards Board (NASB) Act 2003 said that only the board could set standards for the accounting profession. In June 2010 Mr. Godson Nnadi, Executive Secretary of Nigeria Accounting Standards Board, spoke in favor of a new body to set accounting and auditing standards for Nigeria and other African nations. The new body would be independent of both ANAN and ICAN. ANAN ICAN are now set to settle dispute out of court.
Other professional bodies
In May 2008 the House of Representatives rejected a bill to establish the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants of Nigeria (CIMA) as an alternative to ANAN and ICAN. The House was concerned about proliferation of accounting bodies. ICAN was strongly opposed to establishment of CIMA, while ANAN said it supported the proposal given the dynamics of the profession.
In December 2009 there were delays in passage by the Senate of bills on the Institute of Chartered Public Accountants (CPA) and the Chartered Institute of Management and Cost Accountants (CIMCA). The bills had been approved by both houses during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo, but he had failed to sign them into law before the end of his term. As a result, President Umaru Yar'Adua had to resubmit the bills when he took office in 2007. ANAN did not object to the new organizations but ICAN expressed concerns on the grounds of proliferation. As of March 2010 the bills had still not cleared the Senate.
In May 2011 Sebastian Owuama, President of ICAN, attended the annual tax conference of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) in Abuja where he called for an end to the squabble between ICAN and the CITN. The move was welcomed by CITN president Rasaq Adekunle Quadri.
A storm over banking malpractices blew up in 2009, with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) leading investigations that led to bank closures and dismissal of directors, some of whom were arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Olutoyin Adepate, the ICAN registrar, said "the current crises should be fully investigated and persons found guilty sanctioned according to the laws of the nation... the larger interest of the national economy and the Nigerian people must be defended at all cost". In October 2009 Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, governor of the CBN, addressed the ICAN annual conference. He revealed a number of improprieties in direction of eight of the banks, including loans made to directors with inadequate security. Sanusi said "While these were happening, where were the accountants, the auditors? While these were happening, someone was reporting profits, paying dividends out of operations that could not by any standards be said to be profitable. That is why we are where we are". Speaking later Elizabeth Adegite, President of ICAN, called on chartered accountants to play a more critical role in ensuring good corporate governance.
As of 2010 Emmanuel Ikhazobor, sole administrator of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), was threatening to delist companies that did not comply with legal and regulatory requirements. Companies were failing to submit their audited reports when auditors noted the possibility of misappropriation of funds. For example, FAMAD Plc, which had the first female president of ICAN as chairman of its board, had not held annual general meetings for about four years because the auditors had queried financial transactions and therefore the annual reports had not been submitted. Apparently there had been massive asset stripping in the company before it was finally de-listed in 2008.
- Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN)
- Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria
- Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN)
- Nigerian Accounting Association (NAA)
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