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Raising corporate governance bar through accounting, diaspora needs

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[FILE PHOTO] President of ANAN, Shehu Ladan

Notwithstanding the institutions in which they operate, accounting professionals are most times regarded as those in the front line of the battle against fraud, corruption and corporate governance issues.

In acknowledging this role, stakeholders in many parts of the world, decided to set aside, November 10, to celebrate accountants for their contributions to the economy. It was first celebrated in 1972 as “Accounting Career Day” to promote the accounting profession.

Established in honour of the Italian Mathematician, Luca Pacioli, who published “The Summa”, the first book about double-entry book keeping, on November 10, 1494, the accounting career day acknowledges efforts to promote strong governance structures through accountants.

For the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), established in 1979, developing capacities of professional accountants underscores one of its major objectives as well as the need for the professionals to fulfil their roles in Diaspora environments.

In commemoration of the International Accountants Day, the President of ANAN, Alhaji Shehu Ladan, said that with the intensive training and collegiate system, the association has now firmed its grip on exporting talents –professional accountants.

The Nigerian College of Accountancy (NCA), which is the training arm of ANAN at Kwall, near Jos, has turned out thousands of professional accountants since its establishment in 1994.

The College, patterned after the Nigerian Law School, draws its intake from graduates with a BSc/HND in accounting and other allied disciplines; that are trained to become well rounded, well blended, and well-honed professionals.

Ladan explained that the founding fathers of ANAN realised that the accounting profession was moving at a “snail’s speed” compared to professions like Law, Engineering and Medicine.

“So, in order to meet the contemporary accounting needs of the economy, ANAN came up with a collegiate system where accountants are professionally trained and examined. That gave rise to the increase in number of accounting professionals in the country.

“During the 3rd African Congress of Accountants in Mauritius, ANAN announced scholarships to prospective students from Franco-phone countries through Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA). The offer has been sustained and many candidates from these countries benefited.

“Additionally, during our last Annual Conference in Abuja in October, 2018, we discussed with some members of ANAN in diaspora on establishment of branches to coordinate their activities in the U.S., UK, and other European countries. ANAN is also putting a mechanism in place to strengthen the membership of those in diaspora and their impact across the world”, he added.

The ANAN President explained that members of the association were fully engaged in accountancy jobs abroad through Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) with the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) member bodies, so that such members could practice the profession in other countries of the world.
The ANAN President gave kudos and congratulated Accountants worldwide, saying that, “We need to reflect on our performances as individual Accountants and also as Professional Accountancy Organisations (PAO) world over”.

In reflecting on the International Accountants Day, Ladan urged all professional Accountants in Nigeria not to leave the fight against corruption to the Federal Government alone, adding that all hands should be on deck.

According to him, this we can start with ourselves as individuals by reflecting on what are you doing right and what are you doing wrong, because any attempt to skip due process or not give fair hearing to issues, you are moving toward corruption.

The Association also appealed to its members to be bold enough to expose corruption and any corrupt tendency with verifiable facts. In the event of any ANAN member found wanting, the Association also has a mechanism with which it disciplines erring members and has keyed into government’s fight against corruption by ensuring it promotes good governance.

One of such is that financing democracy is very expensive which does not permit ordinary citizens to participate in elections. The association suggested that political parties should be funded by their members through crowd-funding rather than by states or few wealthy individuals.

ANAN equally realised that economic growth could only be achieved with a well-motivated and remunerated workforce that could offer greater productivity.

ANAN observes that the monthly allocation accruing to 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja from the Federation Account has dwindled due to the fall in oil prices and other related reasons.
The association said that these precipitated economic crisis resulting from budget deficit, balance of payment difficulties, budget under-performances, and dwindling external reserves.

The ANAN president also reacted to the proposed N8.73 trillion 2019 budget and noted that the Federal Government must have studied the situation and the trend over the recent years before deciding on the benchmarks.

“As Accountants, we need to be conservative so that we do not give imaginary benchmarks, which are not realistic and are not achievable.

“You can see that the trend of budgets in the last three years has been toward providing infrastructure for the economy but the major challenge has to do with the revenue aspect which precipitated borrowing to finance the budget.

“It is good to borrow to finance the component of capital budget aimed at accelerated delivery of public works,” the ANAN President said.

In order to keep quacks away from the profession, Ladan explained that ANAN members licensed to practice are normally provided with Practicing Seal of ANAN, so that any work they do, they would append their seal on the job.

“Before you are given practising licence, you have to undergo some procedures and evaluation and when you are found fit and suitable, having met all the requirements, recommendations will be sent to the Council of ANAN for approval of such practicing members.

“Even with that, we encourage ANAN members and the public to expose any of our members not living up to expectations. Such a member would be tried through our disciplinary mechanism because we have the rules and ethics for members to comply with,’’ the ANAN President said.


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