Professional accountants in Nigeria are regulated by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC) and at the professional level by two professional accountancy organizations operating in the jurisdiction- The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN)
In accordance with the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) Act of 2011, FRC has oversight authority of the profession with respect to registration of professional accountants, quality assurance (QA) review inspections for audits of public interest entities (PIEs), and enforcement of sanctions for non-compliance with applicable standards and breaches of professional misconduct.
FRC is also responsible for adoption of accounting standards that are to be consistent with the IFRS as well as for the development or adoption and maintenance of auditing standards issued by relevant professional bodies and ensuring consistency between the standards issued and the auditing standards and pronouncements of the IAASB. Lastly, FRC is also authorized to issue a Code of Ethics for auditors and other professionals providing services to PIEs.
The FRC Act requires professional accountants in Nigeria to be registered with the FRC to be authorized to prepare financial statements and conduct statutory audits of PIEs. A practicing certificate issued by any one of the abovementioned national PAOs is required as part of the registration process to deliver services in a public practice.
Both ICAN and ANAN offer their own qualifications to individuals pursuing careers in accountancy. ANAN offers the designation of Certified National Accountant (CNA). To qualify as a CNA, candidates must hold a University degree or a Higher National Diploma in accountancy and then enroll in the Nigerian College of Accountancy for a one year educational program and pass the professional exams at the end of the one-year training period.
Subsequently, individuals must then complete two years of practical training through an Accountant-in-Training (AIT) program either with a practicing ANAN member or an approved professional in the respective sector. After completing practical experience requirements, individuals are eligible to receive the CNA designation and may begin practicing after receiving a practicing certificate from the Council.
ICAN offers the designations of Chartered Accountant (CA) or Associate Accounting Technician (AAT)— which are protected titles under the ICAN Act of 1965—upon fulfillment of education and certification requirements for either stream. These requirements include completing a professional accountancy education program, passing the qualifying examination, and completing a three-year internship with a firm of chartered accountants. CAs are permitted to practice as auditors once licensed by ICAN and once registered with FRC if they will serve as auditors for PIEs.
Through their respective founding legislations, both PAOs have the authority to determine initial professional development and continuing professional development (IPD and CPD, respectively) requirements for their members; determine examination and certification requirements for members; maintain membership registers; enforce rules of professional conduct as well as ethical and technical standards for their members; and carry out quality assurance reviews for members.