You are not necessarily a dummy. In fact, you are no dummy. Just a child whose mother won’t allow a piece of mind because of ICAN or a man whose intended hasn’t spoiled with attention in the name of ICAN. So you decided to ask us about ICAN and here, we break everything down for you in the easiest ways possible. Like you are some dummy which you are not.
1. ICAN: Meaning and background
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) is an umbrella body for accountants in Nigeria. ICAN was founded with the efforts of Chief Akintola Williams first Nigeria (and African even) to become a chartered accountant. The establishment Williams helped establish was the Association of Accountants in Nigeria (AAN). It was out of AAN and many other accounting and auditing bodies that the Parliament of the First Republic, in 1965, passed the ICAN Bill into law. At its inception, ICAN had around 250 names in its membership.
The mandate of ICAN, as stated in its mission is: “To produce world-class chartered accountants, regulate and continuously enhance their ethical standards and technical competence in the public interest.” In other words, this is a body that distinguishes between accountants who are members and accountants who are not. It has a semblance of a class system which it not.
ICAN, you must know, is not the only regulating body for accountants in Nigeria. There is the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) set up in 1993. What is the difference between both bodies? Nothing that a non-accountant can see except that the two do not see eye for eye and have been in and out of courts against each other.
2. ICAN: Types of programmes
There are three programmes that ICAN offer. There is an Accounting Technician Scheme West Africa (ASTWA) programme, a professional student scheme, and ICAN full membership.
For Accounting Technician Scheme West Africa (ASTWA), you need an Ordinary National Diploma (OND) or National Certificate in Education (NCE) in accounting and other related courses plus five credit including English and Mathematics as support.
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For the professional student, you need an HND or a degree in accounting and related courses such as the final exams of Institute of Chartered of Taxation in Nigeria, Institute of Chartered Stockbrokers, Chartered Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, ANAN, Executive Management Accountancy etc. This is the ICAN that people who just left NYSC always talk about. They just call it ICAN which unconsciously leaves the back door of misconception open.
For full member of ICAN membership is the topmost in the rung of ICAN ladder. To achieve this status, you need three years’ experience as an accounting professional, if you already have an accounting degree or HND. If you have a diploma in a related field or already a member of Association of Accounting Technician (AAT) then you need four years in the field.
3. ICAN Membership: How can I get registered?
To register for Accounting Technician Scheme West Africa (ASTWA), you will pay a registration fee of 6,000 naira online or through a commercial any bank in Nigeria. This is to enable you get access to the site to fill up your details. After filling in the application which includes a scanned colour photograph of you, print it, sign it then take it to your referee who is chartered accountant and whose name and contact you provided in the form.
Also to be attached to the file is your WAEC certificate photocopy and WAEC result checking scratch card, two passport photographs, your birth certificate and the bank teller of the 6,000 naira payment. Get this into an envelope plus two empty ones, each with your address and 50 naira stamp duty. You will address this to the Department of Students’ Education and Training, 82 Murtala Mohammed Way, Ebute Meta, Lagos State.
To register as a professional student, you will be required to pay 7,000 naira to get access to the site for your application. You will fill the application with a scanned passport, then print, sign and take it to your sponsor or referee who must be a chartered accountant to verify. You will need to include your WAEC result plus the result checking voucher. If you are registering as an AAT member, an additional fee of 23,500 naira is required for your induction.
On completion of this, you will get be able to check your exam status.
For registration as an ICAN member, you will need to pay 90,000 naira induction fee to generate a pin to enable you to register online. You need to input your student registration number, serial number, and PIN. Print the document and have your two chartered referees sign it. It is not yet done, you still need your form and evidence of payment to physically reach the authorities at ICAN, Plot 16, Idowu Taylor Street, Victoria Island, Lagos State.
4. ICAN registration: How expensive is it?
The registration for the different types of ICAN is not that expensive. Besides the 6,000 naira for Accounting Technician Scheme West Africa (ASTWA), 7,00 naira for professional student and 90,000 for ICAN membership, include bank charges, scanning and internet costs and the cost, photocopies, passports and the stamp duties.
To prepare for ICAN professional student exam, your ward might require the service of qualified tutors which is not inexpensive.
5. ICAN exam: How difficult is it?
“Difficulty” is a subjective term which is difficult to measure. But from the dozens upon dozens of how to pass ICAN on one sitting on the internet and on why people fail ICAN, many see ICAN as difficult and a lot of people have failed the examination. This perception has given rise to so many myths about the examination including that the body delibrately fail students so as to maintain a certain cap for its members and that it is a Southern affair or a body that can only be passed if you knew someone at the top.