The First Vice President of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), Prof. Muhammad Akaro Mainoma, recently spoke with select journalists in Abuja, where he revealed his association’s decision to enlist in the ongoing federal government’s anti-graft war. AUGUSTINE AMINU was there for The AUTHORITY.
There are insinuations that you may soon emerge as the next President of ANAN, and if that is the case, what other innovations do you have to bring on board bearing in mind that you played a key role in the emergence of Treasury Single Account we have today?
It is important that we think ahead on the things we will do. Primarily, we shall be concerned with the development of members. The aim is that, our members should stand tall among colleagues, globally. So, what is most paramount in this dispensation is that we must have training modules that will be different from what we are used to today. That will give us an edge over other professionals across the globe. So, our training modules will be developed in such a way that new things will be added to give us advantage. Then the second major issue is also to look at a situation where the association itself will be more relevant than it is today. We will be able to organise events that will impact more on the economy than what it is today. That we will articulate positions and make sure that we contribute to governance, which hitherto we were not doing. The operations of the economy also concerns us, therefore we are going to develop programs that will impact on the general governance of the nation. Then thirdly, we are bothered than any other person on the level of corruption in the economy. We are also going to develop things that are going to help towards the fight against corruption within the economy and that will mean that we will also become foot soldiers in the fight against corruption within the economy.
As a ranking member, what is the impact of ANAN to the Nigerian society and economy in general?
You see, if you are talking about resource utilization, there must be people who are trained to ensure that resources are well managed, particularly financial resources. So, ANAN exist in the Nigerian economy to advance the science of accountancy.. That is to say, our records, our projections must be done in the best of tradition. So, what ANAN has been doing in this economy is to develop accountants that are actually sound in matters that are associated with accountability and that is the primary objective; to develop and train accountants that can answer their names. At the end of the day, they are sound in knowledge, skilled and have ethics in their conduct. So those are the kind of things that ANAN stands for, and, has been pursuing for the last 30 years that it was established. We have a college in Jos, you don’t have to be left on your own to get knowledge from anywhere. As far as ANAN is concerned, there is the need to have a systematic way of becoming a professional and the starting point is that, you go to the College of Accountancy in Jos and spend 9 months: pass a professional examination, after which, you will engage in real practise with an experienced accounting firm for six months before applying for membership of our association. Before applying to our college, you must have gone to the university or the polytechnic to do your HND or B Sc accounting. All these processes, in the wisdom of the founding fathers of ANAN is to ensure that ANAN members are well trained and equipped to do the kind of things that is expected of a professional accountant.
How well do you detect fraud in public sector?
You will find out that the auditors are doing their very best but the truth of the matter is that, fraud is not something that is easily detected because once there is a collaboration, people will do a clean cover up that at the end of the day you will find it extremely difficult to know what exactly people have done. It is only when you have a hint that something has happened and in some ways determined the extent of the fraud. But to be frank with you, if you have smart people sitting and collaborating to do a deal, someone who is an outsider may find it very difficult to really detect. You find out that in almost all financial transactions, you find an accountant involved. Once somebody is trained in the kind of ethical conduct we are talking about, people will find it extremely difficult to participate in fraud. That is why training is very important because once you get people fully trained and they are equipped with what they ought to do and they know that they are professionals, therefore, not supposed to compromise anything. At the end of the day, you will find out that there is reduction in the level of fraud within the economy.
Can you provide some insight into the making of the organisation?
Association of National Accountants of Nigeria is the only chartered professional accountancy body in Nigeria empowered by law to teach as well as examine all its students. Besides, it is the only body having the absolute power to advance the science of accountancy.The Association was formed on 1st January, 1979, incorporated on 28th September, 1983 and was finally chartered by Decree 76 of 1993 on 25th August, 1993. The Association is a truly national accountancy body with education and training programme reflecting the national environment which would meet internationally accepted accounting standards. It was born out of a burden shared by a number of well-meaning Nigerians for a home grown and home spun professional body. It sought a thoroughly Nigerian and community based approach to the definition of accountancy standards and practices. The vision is to make ANAN a Premium Brand of Choice in Professional Accounting Practice in Nigeria, and to impact on accounting education and practice in a profound and comprehensive manner. Also, our mission is to advance the science of Accountancy in Nigeria, pioneering a multi-disciplinary emphasis in the production of well rounded, well blended, and well-honed professionals, profound in knowledge, skilful in practice, and ethical in conduct. On the qualification to become a member: all accountancy graduates with B.Sc. and HND from Nigerian Universities and Polytechnics, are eligible to commence a three-year training programme to qualify with the Association and earn the designation Certified National Accountant (CNA). This is similar to the system adopted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS). The Association also accepts specific overseas professional qualifications which are recognized under ANAN Act 76 (formally Decree No. 76) of 1993 Schedule 4. All students aspiring to become members of the Association must attend the Nigerian College of Accountancy, Jos in preparation for the Association’s examination programme, consisting of five papers at Professional Examinations ‘A1 (PEA) and six papers at Professional Examination ‘B1 (PEB).
What is the perspective of the Council of the Association in the training of professional accountants?
The Council of the Association believes that the economic future of Nigeria depends largely on the commercial and industrial efficiency of its productive capacity. Therefore, the education and training of professional accountants should reflect the economic, structural and ideological environment of Nigeria. The Council, in an attempt to maintain internationally acceptable education and training standards has decided to follow the system of education and training similar to those of legal and medical professions. Accordingly, holders of B.Sc. and HND in accountancy from approved Nigerian Universities, Polytechnics, are required to attend the Nigerian College of Accountancy for nine months and pass the prescribed professional examinations. In the light of the foregoing, the Council has been able to distinguish between education and training. Education is regarded as a generic and organic process involving a series of activities aimed at enabling an individual to assimilate and develop knowledge, skills, competencies and values that are not simply related to a narrow field of activity. Thus education allows broad range of problems to be defined, analysed and solved. Training on the other hand, is the planned and systematic effort to modify or develop knowledge, skill and attitude through a learning experience in order to achieve effective performance in an activity or narrow range of activity. It is mechanistic, very precise and job oriented and produces observable effects in the short term. Operatives are trained. Executives are educated. Ideally, therefore, professional accountants of the 21st Century should be both educated and trained.