HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF ACCOUNTING PROFESSION IN NIGERIA .

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International Journal of Business and Management ReviewVol.5, No.10, pp.89-100, December 2017Published by European Centre for Research Training and Development UK (www.eajournals.org)HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF ACCOUNTING PROFESSION IN NIGERIA:THREATS AND ISSUESAgbi Eniola Samuel1, Muhammad Buba Mamman2, and Lateef Olumide Mustapha11Department of Accounting and Management, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, NigerianDefence Academy, Kaduna, Nigeria2Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, 417 Tigris Crescent, Off Aguiyi Ironsi WayMaitama, Abuja, NigeriaABSTRACT: The study focuses on the history of the early development of accountingprofession in Nigeria by carefully looking at the roles played by state in the evolution ofaccounting bodies. The approach also examined the role played by functionalist andinteractionist theories in the evolution of accounting profession and describes the organizationof professional accountancy bodies, concentrating particularly on the events that followed theformation of the first accounting body in Nigeria, The Institute of Chartered Accountants ofNigeria (ICAN). In addition, the study critically examines the state dynamism that havefacilitated in shaping the outcome of the various events in the history of the accountingprofession in Nigeria. An important element in this undercurrent is the nature of governmentin place. The issues and threats that riddle the various accounting bodies are sublimely plantedby the state dynamics which created the loop holes in the Company and Allied Matters Act(CAMA)for the formation of multiple professional accounting bodies ranging from the firstone, ICAN, to Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, ANAN, Chartered Institute ofTaxation of Nigeria (CITN). Considered is the different classification of issues and threats thatpinged on professional accounting development in Nigeria, as well as factors which areextracted or specially emphasized in works, some of them, the level of differences of eachinfluential factor between countries implicates the intensity of accounting differences at theinternational level are described.KEYWORDS: Accounting Development, Historical Accounting, Government funding andAccounting Profession, Accounting Education in Nigeria, Threats to accounting developmentin Nigeria.INTRODUCTIONAs a social science, accounting is affected by the environment in which it operates, but at thesame time, Accounting is one of the factors impacting on this same environment. This is a factthat points to the interdependency of accounting and its environment. A country’s accountingsystem is affected by a variety of historical, economic, socio-cultural, institutional, and othernon-accounting factors, so it is highly unlikely for the influential factors of any two countriesto be exactly the same. It is in no doubt that accounting plays a major role in the economicdevelopment of a country. Just as it could strongly be argued that professional associations playa significant role in shaping and controlling accounting practice, in the same vein accountantsbear a major responsibility for the development and regulation of modern economies. In acommentary on the roles of accounting in organizations and society (Burchell, Clubb,Hopwood, Hughes, & Nahapiet, 1980) and supported by (Willmott, 1986) note how little isknown about the organization of the accountancy profession and of the broader social and89ISSN: 2052-6393(Print), ISSN: 2052-6407(Online)

International Journal of Business and Management ReviewVol.5, No.10, pp.89-100, December 2017Published by European Centre for Research Training and Development UK (www.eajournals.org)economic contexts of its development. Despite the major roles and responsibility accountantsplay in the development and regulation of modern economies (Stacey, 1954) still little researchefforts have been put to the study of evolution of professional associations in shaping andcontrolling accounting practice. Although historical scholarships of the accountancy professionhave gone far beyond the confines of functionalism, steps have been taken towards criticalinterpretations of what professional behavior is to focus on the identification of diversity inoccupational experiences. It is now accepted that there are manifold paths to professionalstatuses and considerable historical variation in occupational projects (Walker, 2004). The ideaby (Wilmot,1986) and supported by (Uche, 2002) that there is a widespread view thatprofessional associations are largely political bodies whose purpose is to define, organize,protect and advance the interest of their members. Perhaps the most important factor in thedetermination of the ability of professions to achieve their objectives is the influence of theState. Uche (2002) asserted that reaction of the State to the objective of professions coulddepend on the type of government in place, public expectations, and developmentalrequirements of the State, problem solving ability of the profession, social relationships andprofessional lobbying. The American Accounting Association (AAA, 1986) states that thefunction of accounting is to provide qualitative information, primarily financial in nature, abouteconomic entities that is intended to be useful in economic decisions. This information allowsusers to make reasoned choices among alternative uses of scarce resources in the conduct ofbusiness and economic activities. The need for accounting therefore arose in response to thedesire to make judicious use of scarce resources, accumulate wealth and produce high qualityof goods and services in a competitive economy. To perform these roles, accountants areneeded both in number and in quality and this is a function of the level of accounting educationavailable (Armstrong, 2010; Ksenija, 2009; Okolie & Arowoshegbe, 2014).The objective of the paper is to identify the factors that have hindered the adequate and rapiddevelopment of accounting profession in Nigeria. These factors were highlighted under thesection of threats facing accounting education in Nigeria. Also the dearth of accountingeducation in Nigeria is examined and recommendations were made. The study concluded thatthere is urgent need for effective training and retraining of practicing Accounting professional,adequate provision of funds for the education sector, and regular review of accountingcurriculum in tertiary education sector to catch up with modern trends in accountingdevelopment.Using objectives as trajectory to development of accountancy profession is reflective ofbroader paradigmatic swings in the sociology of professions. In the 1970s and 1980srevisionists were so critical of profession that they likened it to monopolization and a quest forpower in the class system. Subsequent historical studies of a range of occupations in differentspatial contexts (especially continental Europe) identified professionalization trajectories noteasily accommodated within blanket and Anglo-American theorizations (Walker, 2004). It isforeseen that the identification of different experiences across nations and occupations informbroadly conceived and grounded theorizations of professionalism. This richer contextualizationalso renders visibly the interfaces between professionalization and economic, social, politicaland cultural developments (Collins, 1990).According to Crompton (1990), in her article which featured in the British SociologicalAssociation noted that “Commentaries on the professions' have long reflected a tensionbetween two, apparently conflicting perspectives. On the one hand, professions are viewed asuniquely ethical occupations and on the other, as powerful groups who have masked their90ISSN: 2052-6393(Print), ISSN: 2052-6407(Online)

International Journal of Business and Management ReviewVol.5, No.10, pp.89-100, December 2017Published by European Centre for Research Training and Development UK (www.eajournals.org)pursuit of self-interest behind essentially spurious ethical codes. It is argued that this paradoxreflects a more general problem evident in the sociology of work; that is, that the division oflabor in capitalist society incorporates and reflects co-operation, as well as exploitation andconflict. Since Parsons' early distinction between professionals' and bureaucrats', professions' have been regarded as particular types of occupations (Parsons, 1939). It is arguedthat the concept of profession does not describe a generic occupational type, but rather, a modeof regulation of the exchange of expert labor which has powerful Universalist overtones. Thisprofessional ideal, which may, of course, often not be evident in practice, is found to bearticulated explicitly in Marshall's early development of the concept of citizenship'. In thecurrent context, such ideals are being articulated in opposition to the present Government ofNigeria’s attempts to introduce quasi-markets in the provision of state financed services suchas health. Although the deregulation of the occupational market may initially be seen to be against' the interests of some professions' when viewed as protected occupational groups,experts in performance monitoring such as lawyers and accountants will be likely to benefitfrom an emphasis on regulation by market forces. Nevertheless, the continuing significance of professionalism' as a mode of regulation suggests that it would be premature to assume thatmarket-led provisions and procedures will eventually prevail.It can therefore, be argued that accounting profession like most other professions emerged as astruggle for monopoly of occupation and as means for acquisition of power in a class system.This is not in any way attempt at turning blind eyes to the monumental contributions or rolesaccounting profession plays in economic and social development of societies.The Imperatives of Accounting Profession. In a long narrative (Burchell, et al., 1980) statedthat the roles of accounting which grace the introductions to accounting texts, professionalpronouncements and the statements of those concerned with the regulation and developmentof the profession is a clear manifestation of functionalism. In such contexts, accounting is seento have an essence, a core of functional claims and pretentions. It is believed that accountingprofession is essentially concerned with the provision of “relevant information for decisionmaking”, with the achievement of a “rational allocation of resources” and with the maintenanceof institutional “accountability” and “stewardship”. Such functional attributes are seen as beingfundamental to the accounting endeavor (Burchell, et al, 1980) further stressed by justifyingthe existence of the skills, provide rationales for continued accounting action. Another ratherdifferent set of imperatives for accounting has originated from those scholars who have seenaccounting systems as mirrors of the societies or organizations in which they are implicated.At the societal level, this has involved seeing accounting as essentially reflective of theorganization of social relationships. Feudal societies are seen to require feudal accountingsystems; capitalist societies, capitalist modes of accounting (Rose, 1977); and the era of thepost-industrial society necessitates a new framework for the accounting craft (Gandhi, 1976).The translation of such thinking to the organizational level has been more recent, influencedby the emergence of contingency schools of thought in the study of organizational behavior(Bruns & Waterhouse, 1975). The fact that they are largely silent about the mechanisms thatmight create such an essential relationship between accounting and its presumed organizationaland social determinants has not been seen as problematic by those who wish to point to eitherthe necessity for change or the elegance of design which underlies accounting in action. Norhas the fact that so many of the underlying organizational theories depend for their validity onthe presumption that such contingent designs further the achievement of higher order butdefined, consistent and agreed organizational goals – goals which are in part made objectiveby the very accounting systems which they are supposed to explain (Meyer, 1978).91ISSN: 2052-6393(Print), ISSN: 2052-6407(Online)

International Journal of Business and Management ReviewVol.5, No.10, pp.89-100, December 2017Published by European Centre for Research Training and Development UK (www.eajournals.org)Theoretical frameworkFunctionalist and interactionist theories have been synthesized by (Willmott, 1986) to underpinthe development of professions and will be drawn to account for the situation in Nigeria. Eachof the perspectives articulated by Willmott provides some insight into the weaknesses ofaccounting professionalization in Nigeria. The functionalist perspective sees professions ascohesive bodies whose members carry out highly skilled tasks that are vital to the integrationand smooth operation of society (Greenwood, 1957).The role of the professional association is to make sure that individual members are properlytrained, that during their careers they contribute positively to society and that the qualities ofprofessionalism are in place. Under this methodology, failure to professionalize may be seenas failure on the part of the association to adequately inculcate or indoctrinate their memberswith the required professional attributes. Interactionist on the other hand, believe that thefunctionalists do not adequately live up to the expectations of the professions. Interactionistinsist on studying professions as interest groups that attempt to persuade others of thelegitimacy of their claim to professional recognition (Haug & Sussman, 2014). Failure to attainprominence in the profession could be regarded as reflection of poor political skills on the partof the association’s leadership. In this respect, members of professional body consider theassociation as a means for acquiring unique social identity in a society. Failure of aprofessionalization project may indicate internal competition or other factors which prevent theassociation's leaders from persuading others that the title and status of profession is merited(Yapa, 1999).Development of accounting profession in Nigeria.It is worth noting that the major gains as well as crises that branded accounting profession haswitnessed have taken place under the various military regimes (Uche, 2002). Bringing thenarratives of how military interrupted the development of accounting profession in Nigeria andthe manners government was run under the military dispensation is to show how therelationships between the profession and the State have influenced the outcome of the variousepisodes in the history of the accounting profession in Nigeria.The origins of Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN). Prior to independencein 1960, there was no registered body for professional accountants in the country. Thedevelopment of the accounting profession in Nigeria became feasible only with the movementtowards political independence in the country. It was proclaimed that development of theaccountancy profession in Nigeria became a possible venture at the Constitutional Conferenceheld in London in May and June 1957 to draft the Constitution of an independent Nigeria.Paragraph 44, Item 20, of the Conference report provided that rules could be created whichwould allow certain professions to be practiced, and provided for the registration anddisciplinary control of members of the professions so designated. It was agreed at theconference that auditors and accountants be added to the initial draft list of professions. Theenabling law- Concurrent Legislative List (Designated Professions) Orders, 1955 to 1957- toidentify accountancy and auditing as designated professions was passed in 1957 (Uche, 2002).The implication of the Orders was that the qualifications, registration and disciplinary controlof members of the professions so designated became a matter for federal governmentlegislation. At that time, accounting profession lagged behind most other professions inNigeria. For instance, clergymen, lawyers, and doctors have been recognized as professionals92ISSN: 2052-6393(Print), ISSN: 2052-6407(Online)

International Journal of Business and Management ReviewVol.5, No.10, pp.89-100, December 2017Published by European Centre for Research Training and Development UK (www.eajournals.org)in Lagos as far back as the later part of the nineteenth century. This was because accountantsat that time were few and mostly civil servants or employees of foreign companies until 1950when Master Akintola Williams became the first Nigerian to qualify as a chartered accountantin England and Wales and was admitted into the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Englandand Wales (ICAEW).At independence in 1960 Nigeria had only 15 members of ICAEW, one Nigerian member ofthe Institute of Municipal Treasurers and Accountants (now the Chartered Institute of PublicFinance and Accountancy) and 24 Nigerian members of the Association of Certified andCorporate Accountants now the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). Thediscouragement of the numbers above, in 1957 the Nigerian members of the ACCA made thefirst move to set up a professional accountancy body. When the plan was endorsed in 1960Nigerian members of ACCA saw clear advantages in the newer idea of forming a localaccountancy body that would bring all Nigerians with overseas accountancy qualifications ofequivalent standards together. In other words, the ACCA members, who were in the majority,embraced the idea of a central accounting association in Nigeria mainly because it had thepotential of eroding the stigma of inferiority of their original qualification. Indeed, the idea ofestablishing an umbrella association for all Nigerian accountants emerged in 1959 at a partyorganized in honor of Master Keeling, a member of the British Council delegation then visitingNigeria to advice on the setting up of public libraries. During the party, Keeling was confirmedto have advised to start an Association of Accountants (Coker, 1990). After passing throughmany thick and thin the charter of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN)was passed into law in 1965 by Nigerian government.The Association of National Accountants of Nigeria. When the Companies and AlliedMatters Decree was finally signed into Law by the Military Government in 1990, the provisionstherein with respect to the accounting profession laid the foundation for ending the monopolythat was being enjoyed by ICAN. Section 2 (c), particularly, of the Decree, which dealt withmembership of the Corporate Affairs Commission, stated that the representative of theaccountancy profession in the body shall be appointed by the Minister after necessaryconsultation with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and any similar body. Therewas also a similar provision in Section 358 (1), which dealt with the qualification of auditors.This planted the possibility of registering other accountancy bodies to perform roles and dutiessimilar to those of ICAN.After many years of politicking lasting more than a decade, a degree was signed into law in1993 establishing ANAN which finally lay to rest years of monopoly enjoyed by ICAN.Threats and issues of Accounting Profession in Nigeria. Threats facing accountingprofession in Nigeria emanate from within and outside the various accounting bodies.Registering of ANAN as another professional accounting body was as result failure by ICANto properly assert itself in the Nigerian class system. Before ANAN, qualifying to be aprofessional accountant was a task very close to participation in cultist activities. Then, theannual rate of passing ICAN examinations was 5% (Uche, 2002). These were the pointsstressed by members seeking registering of ANAN.Again ANAN which nailed the monopoly exercised by ICAN was

accounting profession plays in economic and social development of societies. The Imperatives of Accounting Profession. In a long narrative (Burchell, et al., 1980) stated that the roles of accounting which grace the introductions to accounting texts, professional pronouncements and the statements of those concerned with the regulation and development of the profession is a clear manifestation .

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