SIAO urges accountants to uphold ethical values
A founding partner at SIAO, Ladi Smith has insisted that high integrity and ethical values must be exhibited by practitioners if the profession is to maintain its purpose and relevance.
In an exclusive chat with The Guardian in Lagos recently, Smith noted that ethical values demonstrated by reliable statements form the bedrock of the profession. That is why the accountant is required to append his signature and personal name every statement or report to assure the reader of the confidence reposed in the said statement. This is to ensure that the person signing the statement is conscious of the personal implication of the content of the statement.
Some organised industries like banks, insurance, pension and telecoms companies have governance codes guiding their business practices’. Where a body guided by a code is in violation of any part of the code or the law, ethically these violations should be disclosed to ensure the organisation rectifies the violation.
Professional body like ICAN also plays a huge role in ensuring that ethics of the profession are enhanced and this is can be achieved through constant education of its membership and also the encouragement of mergers of small practices and this tends to enhance ethical values and quality of reportage from audit firms.
Individually and as a firm, at SIAO we try to encourage smaller firms to come together so that more trust and reliance is placed on financial statements coming out from them.
We are advocate of improvement of the quality of reporting within the industry and believe this is better enhanced through mergers of small firms.
On how to revamp the economy, Smith said Nigeria being a mono economy has felt the impact of the recession more than other economies where alternative income sources exist. We have only one item for export.
According to him, we have to multiply and diversify the income levels that we have and translate Nigeria from a mono economy to multiple economies.
He said: “This will involve improving other non-oil exports such as Agriculture and substantially reduce our appetite for imported items. The present administration appears focused on the diversification agenda where special attention such as the provision of loans from Bank of Industry are being extended to SMES, farmers and several other sectors.”
“I believe that things will get better. But it is not a quick fix considering where we are coming from and the amount of damage done to the economy. Agriculture is something that requires patience. Everybody is having a tough time now but it is something we have to go through for things to get better. With the current programme that government has put in place, I believe things will get better shortly,” he added.
On the fall in naira, he said the naira fell because we were only exporting oil and immediately that became challenged in the international market by the fall in price and increased vandalisation of pipelines exchange rate had to suffer the impact.
“I believe if pressure is released on the Dollar where some foreign payments can be made in other currency such as the Chinese yuan, there would be some improvement in the Dollar exchange rate. Trading in the yuan would enable businesses with Chinese companies to be transacted in their currency rather than the dollar as is presently done. We would however also have to increase our trade relations with China in order to fully benefit from this,” he stated.
Reacting to increase in unemployment, he noted that unemployment would reduce when youths start thinking of starting their own businesses.
“I am happy that majority of our youths are now looking inwards. They are creative. When ideas come first, money then follow,” he said.
He stated, SIAO supports Credit Awareness which is a not for profit organisation which runs an Entrepreneurial Academy where aspiring and established businesses are trained to self start and also grow their businesses.