ICAN Reviews Its Enabling Legislation to Reflect the Changing Realities of the Accountancy Profession


The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) has approached the National Assembly for the amendment of its Enabling Act.

A public hearing was held at the House of Representatives in Abuja on Wednesday, February 2, 2022.

1. The Institute was established by Act of Parliament No. 15 of 1965 to regulate the practice of accountancy in Nigeria, to determine the skills to be acquired by persons wishing to become members of the profession and to update the skills sometimes.

2. Since its inception, ICAN has helped various governments across the country to entrench transparency and accountability in policy. Members of the Institute have contributed to national growth and development in the various sectors they operate, both public and private.

3. During these years, members of the Institute have engaged in accounting practices within the limits of its enabling statute. More specifically, it was the members of the Institute who engaged in tax practice as early as 1965. The dynamics of the operating environment require that the Act establishing the Institute evolve with current realities. ICAN therefore calls for a change to the law establishing the Institute to enable our members to operate more effectively while continuing to act in the public interest.

4 It is also relevant to specify that the Institute’s study program has evolved over the years to adapt to the evolution of the accounting profession; hence one of the needs of the amendment. We conducted a thorough review of the current law, in the context of emerging issues, and identified key areas that have been amended and require the blessing and passage of the National Assembly and the assent of Mr. President.

5. These amendments would further bring current practice into line with global standards and international best practice where tax practice within accounting practice does not require professional accountants to register with a separate body in order to to practice taxation as is the case in the United States. UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand, India, South Africa, Kenya, etc. to name just a few countries in international best practice.

6. We are particularly interested in the report that ICAN wants to regulate tax practice in Nigeria. We wish to inform all stakeholders that ICAN DOES NOT WANT TO REGULATE TAX PRACTICE IN NIGERIA. ICAN ONLY REQUESTS ITS MEMBERS TO CONTINUE TO PRACTICE TAX AS THEY HAVE HAD SINCE 1965. Tax has been an integral part of accounting since its inception in Nigeria and around the world. Accountants, lawyers and other qualified professionals practice taxation worldwide and in Nigeria. The tax calculation starts from the profit or loss that the accountants determine through the financial statements. As shown in point (6) above, accountants around the world practice taxation without hindrance or being forced to belong to another professional body to engage in the practice.

7. For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to assure other allied professional bodies that ICAN does not intend to assume their liability, we are only interested in regulating our members practicing the various branches of the accountancy profession as it exists in other climates.

8. We leave it to the wisdom of the legislators to decide whether tax regulation and practice in Nigeria should be left to the exclusivity of one professional body or subject to more than one body as is the case with the accounting profession where ANAN and ICAN are two recognized professional bodies to regulate accounting practice in Nigeria. We do not claim to have such wisdom.

9. A Chartered Accountant is trained to practice or hold themselves as an auditor, reporting accountant, financial accounting and business information services practitioner, financial management practitioner, business services practitioner, Risk and Compliance Management, Tax Practitioner, Investigations and Forensic Practitioner, Accounting Information Systems Practitioner, Insolvency Practitioner, Public Finance Practitioner, Management Consultant, Financial Advisory Services Practitioner and other related practice areas.

To set the record straight, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria seeks only to enhance the professional competence of its members given the dynamic nature of the profession, to keep them abreast of new developments, to enable them to function better in the public service. Get interested and compete favorably with other professionals around the world.
We believe this will improve our nation’s economic growth and prospects by attracting the best investors to the country, help provide jobs for Nigerians, raise the country’s international rating for transparency and ease of doing business as well as to curb corrupt practices in the country among several other benefits.

Registrar/General Manager

Olubunmi Owolabi
Senior Director, Corporate Communications.
08023326272, [email protected]

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