Emma Ujah , Abuja Bureau Chief
The Acting Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Sylva Okolieaboh, questioned the proliferation of Accounting bodies in the country.
He spoke at the inauguration of the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) unit of the National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), in Abuja, yesterday.
According to him such proliferation had negative impacts on the accounting profession in the country.
His words, ‘“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 “’egal accountants’ are covered by law, they lack the requisite training and competence to discharge the duties of true accountants.”
Revealing that there were over six accountancy related bodies recognized by law in the nation and double that number at various stages of the process of seeking registration, Mr. Okolieaboh described the proliferation as “a recipe for value degradation”.
Mr. Okolieaboh called on the nation’s accountants to rise to the fullness of their professional functions and avoid a narrow perspective which negatively affects their relevance in a changing local and global environment.
Recalling his contribution during a previous engagement with the leadership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), the Ag. AgF contended that the profession was confronting two key challenges: “the noticeable disinterest of accountants in intellectual matters affecting the ability of accountants to rise above the routine,” and “the diminishing appeal of integrity and ethics among accountants”.
He 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 was 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, saying,
“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. It is the reason everyone believes he can perform accounting duties… It is the reason 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”.
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, said that to guide against aberrations, an average accountant must embrace innovativeness, reliability, trustworthiness, strong organizational skill and vigilance (due diligence related).
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