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Expert harps on importance of self-control in organisations

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An expert in accounting, Christian Ekeigwe, has stressed the need for accountants to exercise sufficient self-control as they play their gatekeeping responsibility.  
 
Ekeigwe, who traced audit failures to lack of self control by people holding critical governance and control positions in organisations, made the call in his allocution series to the accounting profession titled, ‘A Letter to My Profession’.  
 
Ekeigwe, who is the chairman, Audit Committee Institute (ACI) and pioneer IT auditing in Nigeria, decried the fact that “self control has been unremarked in the accounting conversation in our society despite recent egregious audit failures and can only be explained by flaws in human judgment due to insufficient self control competence.”  
 

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He asserted that failure of self control was the root cause of what ails modern accounting and that recognising the profound role of self control would have an equally profound impact on the survival and prosperity of individuals, firms and nations. 
 
He recommended that accounting training should use instruction, examples and impressive imagery to inculcate self control in the new generation of accountants to immunise them against the halo effect of hedonic histrionics of modern society. 
 
He pointed out that empires, companies and individuals had collapsed as a result of poor self control, stressing that civilization advanced only after humans started exercising sufficient self control, which made trust and cooperation possible.
 
He regretted that despite the overwhelming scientific evidence that self control was a critical competence, particularly for accountants and auditors in their gatekeeping roles in society, the profession had not recognised and emphasised it in its curriculum, wisdom and practice.
 
He stressed that ethical standards of the profession touched on self control only indirectly and tangentially.  
 
Ekeigwe recommended: “Given its prominent role and benefits, self-control should be institutionally identified as a necessary deliberate competence for accountants and consciously cultivated.
 
“The auditability of self control should be operationalised with appropriate risk assessment methodologies, audit work programmes that help identify reportable conditions and a reporting regime that sends a subliminal message of the primacy of self-control in governance.  
 
“A low rating of self control should be identified as high-risk in organisations and should be an eliminator when selecting management and employees, who would occupy critical and sensitive roles. In particular, job profiles that are associated with oversight of high-value assets or sensitive resources should require a high self control reliability index.”
 
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