Ambode tasks accountants on transparency, accountability
• As ICAN lists standards for whistle blowing
Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has charged the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), to respond appropriately to the increasing demand for transparency and accountability, particularly in the public sector.
Ambode, who spoke in Lagos at the investiture of Ismaila Muhammadu Zakari, as the 53rd President of the Institute, noted that at no other time in history of the nation has the need for transparency and accountability been more compelling than now.
The Governor, who was represented by the State Head of Service, Mrs. Olabowale Ademola, stressed the need for the Institute to be in the forefront of ensuring that the profession is properly positioned to meet global standards and best practice. This is in order to meet local expectations, while also keying into the new order through appropriate manpower development strategies and strict compliance with relevant standards.
He said the accounting profession has continued to evolve and adapt to new issues as they emerge, which he attributed as being responsible for the sustained high reputation of the Institute and its products globally.
This comes as ICAN has laid down standards for its members on the whistle-blowing policy.Zakari in his acceptance speech said the International Ethics Standard Board for Accountants has issued new provisions to guide accountants and auditors in responding to actual and suspected non-compliance with laws and regulations, which will become effective from July 15.
He noted that accountants, who were non-auditors, were expected to report suspicious activities to external authorities or resign from their organisations, while auditors were to report to the necessary bodies.
Zakari said the standards expect accountants who are non-auditors to escalate internally to higher levels of authorities if they come across instances of actual or suspected non-compliances with laws and regulations.
“If the upper echelons do not take adequate and timely actions to address the non-compliance, the accountants would have to consider if further action is needed and these may include, inter alia, reporting the matter to an external authority or resigning from the organisations,” he added.
He noted that auditors are subjected to similar requirements, except they will broach the issue with the appropriate level of management and if necessary, the Board of Directors or audit committees of their audit clients.
“The Council will in due course adopt this standard in Nigeria, and the Institute will widely publicise the new standard and accordingly provide guidance to our members,” he said.
According to Zakari, ICAN will build a working relationship with the National Assembly to explore ways of reforming the law in the best interest of Nigerians.
He further said the body will continue to align its syllabus with the needs of industry and commerce, and that the professional syllabus would be reviewed so as to make it comparable to international standards.
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