By Kabiru Isa Dandago, PhD
1. On 8th April 2022, one of my very good friends, Prof Francis O. Iyoha PhD, FCA, presented his inaugural lecture on the topic: “Actuating Spirituality for Ethical Accounting Practice Forever”. The lecture was the 27th in the series of Inaugural Lectures at the Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria.
2. The lecture was well attended by eminent scholars, accountants, religious leaders, traditional rules, journalists, etc. The 57th ICAN President, Mrs. Comfort Olu Eyitayo FCA, mni, was represented at the event by Deputy Registrar (Technical Services), Dr. Ijeoma Anaso FCA. This writer was in attendance, virtually.
3. According to Prof Iyoha, a spiritually vaccinated accountant is one who is committed to upholding the ethics of the accountancy profession, even at the risk of loosing his/her job or even life. By training, the person could be chartered accountant, national accountant, accounting technician, accounting graduate or an ordinary bookkeeper.
4. A spiritually vaccinated accountant does not find it difficult to comply with the ethical principles of Integrity, Honesty, Independence, confidentiality, competance, Patriotism, etc. He/she is the dream of every employer of labour in both the private or public sector organization in Nigeria and beyond for the safeguard of funds and the enhancement of the wealth of the employer.
5. All over the world accountants are trained to serve as accounting/financial officers, financial managers/advisers, internal auditors, external auditors, treasurers, cashiers, and revenue officers with a view to ensuring the custody of funds and other assets belonging to the public or private sector organizations to which they work. They are expected to sincerely and faithfully work for the protection, growth and productive utilization of those funds and other assets under their trust.
6. If all the accounting or financial officers (usually referred to as accountants) in various organizations and those providing external services to the organizations are to discharge their duties with sense of ethics, there would not be any pilferage, stealing or misapplication of funds meant for any public or private sector organization. Can you imagine how prosperous the organizations and the economy as a whole would be as all internal accounting officers and external accounting practitioners imbibe the ethics of the accountancy profession?
7. According to the historic inaugural lecture, for practising accountants and accounting officers in all the private and public sector organizations in Nigeria to actually obtain sense of ethics that would make them to avoid any dimension of fraud, they need to be injected with Spiritual Accounting Vaccine(SAV). This is because very few of them have sufficient ethics in them to prevent them from the temptation of the main causes of fraud: pressures, opportunities amd rationalization.
8. More than ever before, Nigeria needs to have all practising accountants and accounting officers of various organizations vaccinated with SAV so that the wealth of the country could be protected against the high level fraudulent practices going on in the country. There would hardly be any fraud occurance in any public or private sector organization without the tacit approval or connivance of internal or external accounting expert.
9. A spiritually vaccinated accountant would be prepared at any given time to stand before God and raise his/her hand to say: ‘Lord my hands are clean, as i discharge my duties ethically’. This is the type of accountant Nigeria needs, all over the place, for ensuring sustainable economic growth and development in the country.
10. For now, most practising accountants, and accounting officers to various organizations, if they are to appear before God to account for how they practice the principles of ethics in the discharge of their duties, they may only be diplomatic to say: ‘Lord i would want to be ethical in the discharge of my duties, but my hands are tied’!
11. Prof Iyoha mentioned that for Accounting Practice and accountants to be ethical and remain ethical forever, accountants need to be injected with “Spiritual Accounting Vaccine”. This is particularly needed in Nigeria and other developing economies.
12. The ingredients for the vaccine, as mentioned in the inaugural lecture, are spiritual sensitivity, spiritual motivation, spiritual courage and spiritual judgement. What remains is for the ingredients to be subjected to the necessary laboratory work/test to ensure that the vaccine would be very effective as it is administered on practising accountants and accounting officers of various organizations anywhere in the world.
13. SAV is to be developed for global application, as it could be administered to accountants and accounting officers all over the world. It should not be localized to the Nigerian economy alone, although the credit of its innovation should go to Nigeria.
14. One interesting thing about the ingredients for the vaccine is that they cut across religious, cultural, and entrepreneurial believes. All the religions in the world (Islam, Christianity, Jewism, Hinduism, etc) are accommodative to the ethical principles of accounting and they greatly uphold the ingredients of SAV. The laboratory test to be conducted on the ingredients of SAV could be unilateral, bilateral or multilateral of the teachings of various religions.
15. The cultural and entrepreneurial behaviours of people all over the world are alligned to ethics and they encourage being sensitive always, getting motivated by the truth, demonstration of courage and passing fair judgement. SAV would be greatly supported by all cultural behaviours and entrepreneurial endeavors, especially character, competence and confidence (the 3Cs of entrepreneurship).
16. It is high time for all accountancy professional bodies in Nigeria (ICAN, ANAN, NAA, etc), Tertiary Educational Institutions in the country (Universities, Polytechnics, COEs, and other Research Institutes) and relevant government agencies (FRCN, MoF, AGF, AuGF, etc) to take up the advocacy for the development of the vaccine so that it is made ready in good time for administration on Nigerian accountants and beyond.
17. SAV is an idea whose time has come, and it needs immediate patenting by any of the authorities mentioned above, but Prof Iyoha should be carried along in the process of developing the vaccine to logical conclusion for use in Nigeria and for global application.
Dandago, is a professor at Department of Accounting, Bayero University Kano, Nigeria and can be reached via +2348023360386, firstname.lastname@example.org