ICAN REITERATES ZERO TOLERANCE FOR PROFESSIONAL MALPRACTICE
BY PROVIDENCE OBUH
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) has reiterated its zero tolerance stance for professional malpractice by any of its members.
'Let me seize this opportunity to stress also that the Institute will not condone any professional misdemeanour on the part of any Chartered Accountant irrespective of how highly or lowly placed in the Profession or Society. Since we do not have any sacred cow, the machinery of the Institutes Disciplinary processes would be brought to bear on all such deviant cases', said Professor Francis Ojaide, President of the Institute.
Speaking at the 49thInduction ceremony of the institute in Lagos, Ojaide blamed prevalence of corruption for the slow pace of development in the country.
He said, 'It is the prevalence of corruption and sharp practices in low and high places in the nation that has accounted for the slow pace of development of this richly endowed nation and this is exacerbated by the absence of transparency and accountability.
'The recent incidents in our banking sector have again re-echoed the need for transparency in our corporate activities. Professionals across a wide spectrum of professions have demonstrated indiscretion in their application of regulatory and ethical standards and within the accountancy profession; there is concern of inconsistencies and failure to comply with accounting and other regulatory requirements.'
'There is a direct relationship between a nation's value system and ·its level of economic growth and development and this calls for soul searching among the citizens and in particular, among Chartered Accountants whose main strengths are integrity and credibility. We must hold dear to these virtues on which our survival depends.'
He enjoined the new entrants into the profession, to strive at all times to faithfully adhere to the ideals of integrity, transparency and accountability, which have influenced the development of the Accountancy Profession globally and of the Institute.
'Indeed, these ideals must not be compromised for any reason, whether monetary or non-monetary. Any deviation from this path will demean not only the hard-earned reputation of our Institute but would also bring the global Accountancy Profession into disrepute.
'Thus, as young Chartered Accountants, you are our ambassadors of professionalism to the business world and to the public service. Since, whatever you do or fail to do have pervasive implications for the image and reputation of both the profession and our Institute. It therefore, behoves on you to conduct yourself, at all times, in a manner that will demonstrate your unequivocal commitment to the ideals of integrity, transparency· and professional excellence.
The President reiterated the need for Chartered Accountants to be proficient in the use of Information Technology (IT), as this will significantly impact their ability to render excellent technical services to their diverse clientele. 'As you are aware, the world of global commerce is now profoundly driven by information technology. Any professional who is not 'IT-compliant' will certainly be left out of the scheme of things. It is in an effort to avoid this, that the Council introduced the Technology Competence Initiative (TCI).'
He said, 'It might interest you to know that the Central Bank of Nigeria issued a policy to the effect that only IT-proficient Chartered Accountants will be permitted to audit the financial statements of any bank in Nigeria.
This underscores the importance of the TCI programme of the Institute. I urge you to press forward by taking advantage of the series of training to be proVided by the Consultancy and Information Technology Faculty to continue to improve your expertise. Only by so doing, can you reposition yourself in the contemporary market place,' he said.