October 10, 2019 / 4:06 PM / Bukola Akinyele for Proshare WebTV / Header Image Credit: Proshare WebTV
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria [CITN], hosted a press conference with the theme "The Power of Connections."
It brought together the executives and members of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) to discuss the partnership with the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria and highlight the efforts in developing the finance and accounting profession in Nigeria and setting standards.
The Head of ACCA Nigeria, Mr. Tom Isibor, explained the essence of the collaboration.
Isibor said that, "We have been working collaboratively with the CITN to seek mutually beneficial educational and technical knowledge-sharing opportunities between the two bodies. This is designed to improve the quality of accountants and tax practitioners in the country as they grow wider technical capacity and advance the development of the accountancy and finance professions in Nigeria."
The Tax and Accounting Wedlock
Isibor spoke on the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOU) between the ACCA and the CITN two months ago to bring into being the new collaboration between the professional bodies.
He notedthat from the agreement, the bodies have, "seen that it is remarkable to change the development of accountancy and finance professions in Nigeria to fit into a new and evolving business ecosystem".
The ACCA, head, highlighted a second partnership with The New Synergy Specialist, TNSS, an internationally recognized learning provider which has been certified by the University of London to offer ACCA members with the opportunity to study for their Masters degrees in the areas of business and finance. TNSS serves as a global partner to the University.
Isibor emphasized the importance of working with global organizations to upscale the body of knowledge available to Nigerian accountants and prepare them for a more audacious global market space for knowledgeable professionals in finance.
The president of Charted Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Dame Olajumoke Simplice, spoke on the role of CITN augmenteing the tax skills of accountants by providing tax learning outcomes that help them deal with corporate fiduciary matters more knowledgeably and effectively. She obseved that accountancy and taxation are like Siamese twins that work together harmoniously to improve overall professional competence.
The corporate purpose of CITN, according to Simplice, was to ensure integrity and quality service delivery and leadership in the area of taxation, the Institutes aims at delivering professionals that can hold their own in any local or global community of tax experts.
On improving overall fiscal performance, the tax professional argued that the country must be prepared to adopt taxation as a tool for fiscal balance. She said that, 'taxation is the way to go if we want a society that is aspirational in its desire to uplift the wellbeing of all its citizens. The early days may be tough, but the medium to long term benefits far outway the initial pain", she noted.
Making Tax "KISS"
Simplice also noted that Nigeria needs to simplify its tax laws and eliminate the convoluted system that tends to create opportunities for double (and perhaps triple) taxation. She empasised that the KISS, "keeping it simple stupid", approach was the better option for encouraging tax compliance and economic growth.
The tax institute boss insisted that as the economy looks for additional revenue there was a need for advocacy by way of encouraging the government to continue to simplify the tax codes as part of plans of creating an enabling environment for companies to innovate, create and grow.
Another participant at the event and ACCA Chief Executive, Helen Brand, spoke on the significance of the ACCA and what is required to be a member of the association.
She said, being a member of ACCA means committing ones entire career to a code of ethics, to which the individual is held accountable, the test of this code is members understanding the judgment involved in ethical considerations to accounting actions or decisions.
Brand noted that the ACCA test and reviews the ethical competence of its members to ensure that all members are up to date with the prevailing ethical codes and are appropriately disciplined if they stray outside the approved standards.
The ACCA chief assured the public that punitive action would be taken if members fail to uphold governance conduct standards, which is why the public is advised to use the advice of a professional accountant in their financial engagements because only then will there be recourse when proper practice conduct is breeched.
Brand said that the ACCA was very agreeable to interactions with the government for looking into public service reforms and the need for brevity within the public sector financial services to ensure that the right approaches are adopted to build trust in taxes and that the right personnel are engaged in tax administration.
She said that the vibrancy of the accounting profession in Nigeria was phenomenal and to meet the new economic aspirations of the country considering the growth in population and incrementally improving standard of professional education, it might be possible to see a leapfrog to a new world of technology-inspired digital application of accounting practices in Nigeria in a forward-looking way.
According to her, there is a slow down of opportunities, but what should happen is imparting and equipping people with knowledge and skills to change traditional mindsets to embrace a new economic environment.
Tackling the Trust Deficit
Jamil Ampomah, ACCA Director Africa, spoke on the challenges facing Africa in terms of raising revenue to support the development of economies.
He said the old ways of raising revenue are no longer viable because businesses are changing and evolving. He inisisted that governments and their agencies need to find new ways of being able to effectively mobilize revenues.
He said that the national race was towards having the right level of skills to be able to achieve and perform fiscal duties and effectively combat tax evasion.
Ampomah said another challenge is the tax base, most countries have large sectors that are informal, and to a large extent, those sectors do not come within the tax net.
The ACCA Director for Africa said that the government by way of judicious application of taxation can close the budgrt deficit and encourage domestic production with certain incentive arrangments. Besides, he notes that if tax revenues are properly applied the trust deficit will slowly disappear and citizens will show increased willingness to pay appropriate taxes.
A second partnership the ACCA has signed is with Financial knowledge Broker and Arranger, The New Synergy Specialists, TNSS. Olusola Olowoyeye, director of the professional education company, spoke on the firm's partnership with ACCA.
He said TNSS strategic partnership with ACCA alongside the prestigious University of London allows the Institute prepare accountants the country for a dynamic and increasingly technology-inspired environment.
According to Olowoyeye, "We have positioned the company in the way that our partnership as TNSS and the strategic partnership with the ACCA and with the University of London will allow us to prepare accountants in Nigeria for the future to become accountants that are globally recognized, accountants that can take advantage of the current global change and diversify skill sets to take on the requirements of a new global business ecosystem".
He explained further that Artificial intelligence (AI), and issues around robotics are the issues that have come into the professions, and with this collaboration it will enable TNSS prepare accountants in Nigeria for the new reality.
ACCA members have over 527,000 students worldwide and 219 000 fully qualified members and a presence in over 178 countries.
Olowoyeye noted that, on the curriculum for next year, there will be a joint review together with CITN to bring tax issues to the fore in the professional practice of accountants.
The Power of Connections
In an interview with Isibor on the concept behind the "Power of Connections" and how the ACCA platform would deepen the accounting
profession in Nigeria. he said the concept behind the power of connections was
that business organizations need to be connected, to partner and to work
together to meet their collective objectives.
Speaking further, Isibor noted that the priorities in ACCA were to develop the accountancy profession that the world actually needs.
"We can't do all these by ourselves" he noted, "we need partners, stakeholders, employers and regulators to achieve this".
He said the philosophy behind the "power of connections" was to see how could bring its network together to scale up and see how it could connectively develop the accountancy and finance professions.
Speaking on the recent government proposed 7.5% Value Added Tax (VAT), he said that the government was sensibly looking into how to raise revenue. He also said the government was also working with, and getting key partners and stakeholder's engaged in the process of tax rate review.
Isibor was confident that, at the end of the exercise the government would take the best position that would benefit the citizens of Nigeria.