History Of Accounting In Nigeria

In Nigeria, record keeping has antecedents in the ancient kingdoms and empire and prominent then was the periodic contributions which were recorded on the wall.
 
But the granting of royal character to Royal Niger Company was the turning point in record keeping. The governing accounting principles in Nigeria is almost the same as the ones in Britain.

Before the evolution of accounting as a profession, man had old methods of managing resources and determining profits after trading. Based on business objectives, humans adopted their primitive understanding of accounting in controlling their businesses, financial assets and calculating the profit which was made from production/sale of goods and services.

However, professional accounting evolved through man’s awareness that correct summaries of financial transactions should be done so as to determine the status of a business in relation to profit and loss. Thus, the need for sufficient evaluation and control of financial transactions as a result of several factors which include; trade expansion, capital growth, wealth accumulation and increased levels of production.

As a result of this, accountancy is undoubtedly the most efficient answer to the overwhelming demands of individuals, firms, and governments to have correct financial records and economic activities. Therefore, it is obvious that both developing and developed societies need accountants to handle certain aspects of the economy.


In 1965, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) was established and affiliated with the professional institutes in Britain and USA. Many Nigerians came back from overseas after independence as professional accountants and being members. The institute was charged with the responsibilities of regulating procedures and practice in Nigeria.

Chief Akintola Williams influenced the establishment of the first professional accounting body in the country. Infact, Akintola Williams is regarded as the father of accounting in Nigeria.

The institute was established by Act of Parliament No.15 of 1965 to:
  1. determine the standards of knowledge and skills that are necessary for those who want to master the profession; and from time to time to increase these standards when necessary;
  2. provide the establishment and maintenance of the registers of fellows and associates who are licensed to practice in this profession; and publish the list of these persons from time to time;
  3. perform the other functions entrusted to it by the Act through the Council of the Institute.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) was the major accountancy professional body in West Africa. In 1982, ICAN formed the Association of Accounting Bodies in West Africa (ABWA). Except the professional practice, this organization’s members are included in 3 tiers of public and private service.

In 1982, Nigeria Accounting Standard Board (NASB) was established to regulate and set standards to guide accounting operations. Some of its members include Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Ministry of Finance (MoF), Nigeria Accounting Teachers Association (NATA), Chambers of Commerce (CoC), etc.


ICAN had about 250 members when it was established, However, the number of certified chartered accountants grew much to 38,000. This institute was the first and only body that regulated the accountancy profession until first of January, 1979 when the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) was formed in Jos.

As said earlier, ANAN was founded on 1st of January 1979, and became registered on 28th of September, 1983 and on 25 of August, 1993 the organization became chartered by Decree 76 of 1993.

Currently, there are two recognized accounting bodies in the country namely; Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN).

The full history of accounting in Nigeria is complete and rich. The education aspect means the action of giving systematic studying to enlighten the professionals. It gives the directions that are necessary for the future accountants to become professionals. This is necessary for updating and improving skills and knowledge. To become a successful accountant, you need training, learning, consistency, acquisition of skills and just hard work.

This education needs to develop from a continuing relationship between professionals on one side, and academic on the other side. It shouldn’t be considered as a goal itself, particularly in training professionals. It’s necessary to promote accountability in private and public sector of the economy. Our country is developed, so there is an urgent need to get highly skilled accounting professionals for its subsequent growth.

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