The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) was established by Act of Parliament No. 15 of 1965 to among other things determine what standards of knowledge and skills are to be attained by persons seeking to become members of the accountancy profession and to raise those standards from time to time as circumstances may permit;Secure in accordance with the provision of the Act, the establishment and maintenance of the registers of fellows, associates and registered accountants entitled to practise as accountants and auditors and to publish from time to time a list of those persons; Perform, through the Council of the Institute, all other functions conferred on it by the Act.
As the foremost professional accounting body in the West African sub-region, in 1982, ICAN initiated and contributed significantly to the formation of the Association of Accounting Bodies in West Africa (ABWA).
In fulfilling its mission, the Institute has over the years certified 38,000 Chartered Accountants who are engaged in value creation in various sectors of the economy.
In acceptance of the pivotal role that accountancy plays in organisation and national development, ICAN has over the years embarked on a number of far-reaching initiatives designed to enhance the realisation of its mission which is to produce world-class Chartered Accountants, regulate and continually enhance their ethical standards and technical competence in the public interest.
The institution in order to facilitate the production of middle level manpower needed by the nation in the development process introduced the Accounting Technicians Scheme in 1989. Under the Scheme, about 13,000 Accounting Technicians have been trained and issued the Associate Accounting Technicians’ (AAT) certificate which the Federal Ministry of Establishment has certified as the equivalent of the National Diploma of Polytechnics and Colleges of Technology in the Federal Scheme of Service.
In addition, the institution as part of its responsiveness to the Nigerian people makes representations to the government on annual budgets, rolling plans and other relevant economic issues. It regularly submits memoranda to the government to enhance policy formulation in the country. It also organises awareness seminars on economic, tax and other accounting-related issues as part of the Institute’s proactive efforts to create awareness and raise compliance levels of economic agents to universally accepted standards and statutory regulations.
Chidi Ajaegbu, the 50th president of the institution noted that the Institute would continue to play leadership role in influencing public policy, standards and regulations in the public interest.
“As the conscience of the nation, our institute will be at the forefront of the crusade to curb sharp practices in the society, by promoting compliance to global best practices and proactively raising the bar of accountability and transparency in governance.
“We will continue to provide technical support to government to ensure that the on- going transition to International Public Sector Accounting Standards, as the new financial reporting framework, is pursued to its logical conclusion. We shall sensitise the public and private sectors about the irreversible match towards accrual accounting (IPSAS) and IFRS respectively,” he added.
Ajaegbu further opines that as a responsible and responsive professional body committed to excellence and in compliance with the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) guidelines on specialisation, the Institute has evolved ways of providing adequate technical support to members by creating six Faculties, namely: Audit, Investigations and Forensic Accounting; Taxation and Fiscal Policy Management; Consultancy and Information Technology; Insolvency and Corporate Re-Engineering; Public Finance Management; and Corporate Finance Management. The Faculties bring together experts committed to the expansion of the frontiers of knowledge in a particular field and cater for the specialised needs of members of the Institute.
He further said the institute, as driver of positive change, believes in capacity training of its members and non-members and has taken it upon itself not only to organise capacity development programmes for members but also to assist and equip members.
“Our goal of enhancing and sustaining the confidence of stakeholders in our attestation obligation is non-negotiable. Indeed, the driving philosophy for this year shall be the conscientious defence of the public interest essentially a strong advocacy disposition.
“We will enhance the global profile of the ICAN brand by strengthening our network of professional and technical relationships with PAFA and IFAC. As foundation and active member of these bodies, ICAN will remain innovative and a voice in the global accountancy family to be cherished by many and envied by competitors” he said.