FG decries proliferation of accounting bodies, insists on global … – The Sun Nigeria

31st March 2023
From Uche Usim, Abuja 
The Acting Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Sylva Okolieaboh, has charged accountants in Nigeria to work hard to expand their horizons and become more globally competitive.
His advice was contained in an address to members of the newly inaugurated Unit of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) in the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.  He also frowned at the multiplicity of accountancy bodies in the country, which he said had dented the image of both professional standards and public perception of the value of accountants. 

Recalling his contribution during a previous engagement with the leadership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Okolieaboh contended that the profession is confronting two key challenges: the first is “the noticeable disinterest of accountants in intellectual matters affecting the ability of accountants to rise above the routine”; the second being, the diminishing appeal of integrity and ethics among accountants”.
The Acting AGF, therefore, urged public sector accountants to emulate the noble examples of the first generation of Nigerian accountants who embodied “the very best of professional excellence, integrity and modesty”. 

He also condemned the presumption, popular among public sector accountants, that their main function is payment which has led to a focus on a finite number of functions that culminate in payment either by cheque signing or raising online mandate. 
Okolieaboh explained the consequences of this wrong mindset on the work of professional accountants: 
“This reductionist view of the role of the accountant is equally dangerous. It is the reason anyone who can perform any of those routines considers himself an accountant.

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It is the reason everyone believes he can perform accounting duties… It is the reason, ladies and gentlemen, matters of financial management have been relegated to the background. It is the reason that, the new generation of legal and routine accountants, do not reckon with the very essence of our profession and calling: stewardship expressed in financial statements”.  
Revealing that there are currently over six accountancy related bodies recognized by law in the nation and double that number at various stages of the process of seeking registration, Okolieaboh described the proliferation as “a recipe for value degradation”. 

“The more, the merrier” may be a useful adage in the general affairs of society; but in the specific and narrow world of professional accountancy, or any profession for that matter, it is a recipe for value degradation. It is creating a disturbing generation of “legal accountants” instead of well trained and groomed professional accountants. The difference is that while “legal accountants” are covered by law, they lack the requisite training and competence to discharge the duties of true accountants.”
While congratulating the members of the newly elected chapter of ANAN, the Acting AGF urged them to play a role in the urgent task of improving professional standards and contributing to the development of the nation. 
Earlier in his inaugural speech, the Deputy Director, Funds, Dr. James Abalaka, FCNA, said that to guide against aberrations, an average accountant must embrace innovativeness, reliability, (integrity related), Trustworthiness (integrity related), strong organizational skill and vigilance (due diligence related).
Abalaka referred to Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) Unit members as ambassadors of the treasury and advised them as accountants to earn trust of the people. He also urged them to show integrity and trust in the discharge of their duties to project the profession and reverse the already bad impressions about accountants.
The highlight of the ceremony was the unveiling/official inauguration of Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) Unit by the Chairman, ANAN Abuja, Chapter, Mr. Shauah Elisha Andrew. ANAN OAGF Unit has Mr. Fadipe Joseph as the Coordinator, Idode Ohis as Secretary and Wumakalsim Katugwa as Treasurer.

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