The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) was established by Act of Parliament No. 15 of 1965 to:
(i) determine what standards of knowledge and skill 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;
(ii) 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;
(iii) perform, through the Council of the Institute, all other functions conferred on it by the Act.
ICAN is the only accountancy body in Nigeria recognised by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). 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 more than 32,000 Chartered Accountants who are engaged in value creation in various sectors of the economy. Apart from being in professional practice, ICAN members are engaged in the three tiers of public service as well as the private sector.
Accounting Technician Scheme
In order to facilitate the production of middle level manpower needed by the nation in the development process, ICAN 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.
The Institute conducts two examinations: the Professional Examinations (PE) and the Accounting Technicians' Scheme (ATS) Examinations. Holders of a Bachelor's degree or Higher National Diploma in any discipline obtained from recognised tertiary institutions and holders of the ICAN AAT qualification are eligible to sit the Institute's Professional Examinations. Candidates for the ATS examinations must have five Ordinary Level credits (including English and Mathematics) obtained at not more than two sittings. ATS examinations are now being conducted under the auspices of ABWA as ATS West Africa (ATSWA) to enhance mobility of middle level manpower within the West African sub region.
Code of Conduct
The Institute has a strict Code of Conduct and Professional Ethics, the breach of which is sanctioned through a Disciplinary Tribunal assisted by an Investigating Panel. The panel investigates cases of alleged professional misconduct by members and where prima facie cases are established, the matters are referred to the Accountants' Disciplinary Tribunal. The Tribunal has the status of a Federal High Court. Appeals from the tribunal go to the Federal Court of Appeal and, thereafter, the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Nigerian Accounting Standards Board (NASB)
In 1982, the Institute founded the Nigerian Accounting Standards Board (NASB) and funded it till 1992 when it was taken over by the Federal Government of Nigeria. ICAN currently has representatives on the Board of NASB. As part of its quality control measures designed to promote standards and value creation by its members in public practice, the Institute issues auditing guidelines and Nigerian Standards on Auditing (NSAs).
The Institute has District Societies for effective coordination of the social and professional activities of members in all the sectors of the economy. Currently, there are 46 District Societies, and the Society of Women Accountants of Nigeria (SWAN), which initiates laudable programmes aimed at empowering women in the Accountancy profession. Of these 46 district societies, 44 are in Nigeria while there is one each in the UK and USA.
Accounting Research Foundation
The Institute established the Accounting Research Foundation in 1989 and charged it with the responsibility of providing grants in support of research into accounting and related fields. In addition, the Institute gives a grant to qualified candidates pursuing doctoral degree in accountancy or related fields in a recognised University.
Mandatory Continuing Professional Education (MCPE)
A Continuing Professional Education programme was introduced in 1986 and subsequently made compulsory for all members in 1996 to ensure their technical competence at all times. The Institute is the first professional body in Africa to have successfully introduced the Mandatory Continuing Professional Education (MCPE) programme for its members.
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 specialized needs of members of the Institute.
Students' Special Project(SSP)
The Institute initiated the Students Special Project (SSP) to provide opportunities for indigenes of areas perceived to be educationally disadvantaged by reaching out to the governments and philanthropists in those areas to partner with the Institute to grant scholarships to indigent ICAN students from their localities; provide training facilities to motivate tuition houses to locate in such environments; and partner with accredited tertiary institutions in their localities to enhance the quality of facilities at such institutions. Since the first ICAN Centre was launched in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State and subsequent ones in Kano, Kaduna and Calabar, the response across the nation has been impressive.
Technology Competence Initiative (TCI)
The Technology Competence Initiative (TCI) programme of the Institute was launched to accelerate the training of Chartered Accountants the use of Information Technology. The TCI programme consists of three modules, the first two of which are compulsory for all members who are not computer literate and new members to be inducted into ICAN. Computer Training Centres have been accredited all over the country for the first two modules in order to ensure that training venues are as close as possible to members' location.
Contribution to National Development
As part of its responsiveness to the Nigerian people, the Institute 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 organizes 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.
Major activities of the Institute include: Bi-Annual Examinations; Special Candidates' Course; Bi-Annual Inductions into membership; Annual Investiture of the President; Annual Accountants' Conference; Zonal Accountants' Conferences; Annual Dinner & Awards; Bi-Annual Past President's Luncheon; Annual General Meeting; as well as all-year-round MCPE and Seminars.
SOME PUBLICATIONS OF THE INSTITUTE
• Membership Year Book
• The Nigerian Accountant (quarterly), the official journal of the Institute
• ICAN Students Journal (quarterly)
• Members' Handbook contains the ICAN Act, all auditing and accounting standards, members' code of ethics, syllabus, policies on Branch Offices of Practising Firms, etc
• Study Packs on all subjects for the benefit of students, teachers and all who are interested in accounting information
• Tax Aide-Memoir which provides information on current fiscal and tax policies of the government
• Nigerian Standards on Auditing which provide information to members in practice, regulators and other stakeholders on auditing issues.
• Scale of Professional fees
• Pathfinders and Insights
• Research Journal