Must I Do ICAN with Accounting or Other Courses?

ICAN members/students

While advising prospective 100 level or ND 1 students during their admission-seeking processes, it has always easily come to me to talk about ICAN.

Once you’re seeking admission into a commercial course in a polytechnic or university, I see no reason not to talk about what is waiting for you in the future right now.

After all, those who are embarking on a journey should ask their ways from those who have returned from the same journey. History of a man, they say, is an open book for another.

Must you go for ICAN after you’re done with Accounting? Is there any setback if you don’t do ICAN with your social science or management course? Apart from Accounting, are there other courses that may require ICAN?

This post will be patient enough to answer these questions and set your foot right on the journey to your course and career/profession.

Before we go on the ride, let’s get a few things out of the way.

What is ICAN?

In brief, ICAN is an acronym or the short for the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria which is a professional accountancy body in Nigeria. It is one of the two professional accountancy associations with the regulatory authority in Nigeria, the other being the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria.

It’s this body that develops and assesses the highest quality Qualifying Examinations for Professional Accountants in Africa and offers specialty credentials through 7 Specialist Faculties for Chartered Accountants who choose to concentrate on the specialist accounting profession.

From the time, as graduates of Accounting from universities or Accountancy from polytechnics, having a BSC or HND in this field is never enough. If you really want to specialize in this field, you must be a member of ICAN and become chartered to be limitless in your profession, undertakings, and judgment.

We can conclude that, once you’re chartered, your recommendations, views, and judgments on a company’s financial, accounting status and matters are the final.

As a chartered accountant, you’re also a chartered taxator and auditor who is statutorily recognized to pass final declarations on the financial concerns of any company.

Is ICAN Equally Important to Other Management Courses

With the aforementioned, it’s obvious that as an Accounting graduate, the backbone of your profession, if you truly want to specialize, is ICAN. And in reality, that’s the simple bitter truth!

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However, must we encourage, if not force, other management graduates, such as Business Administration, Banking and Finance, Marketing, Insurance, Economics, etc to go for ICAN?

Probably NO!

But to be of help, I think it’s important these people know, from the start, that experiences in Nigeria and other places across the globe has shown that belonging to the right professional bodies will be added advantage if you must specialize and wish to be relevant in your chosen field or profession.

That said, the mentioned bodies have their own professional bodies, of course. So, why recommending ICAN over those?

Business Administration graduates are blessed with the Association of Business Managers and Administrators of Nigeria, Institute of Professional Managers and Administrators of Nigeria, The Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), etc. Graduates of Marketing, the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN), graduates of Banking and Finance by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), and so on.

So, why ICAN?

Management Graduates Are suppose to Do Well Without ICAN

As a graduate of management course, under normal circumstances, you should be well off without additional qualifications or professional attachment. 

In other words, prospective employers, companies, governments should not ask you to belong to any of these bodies to offer you a position. They should employ you based on your knowledge and certification from school.

However, experience has shown that your knowledge from school is not enough, especially by law, to allow you to handle or manage certain aspects of your profession. This is the basis for your employer asking for professional certificates such as ICAN, NIM, etc.

It’s when you’d put in for advanced classes, in preparations for these bodies’ exams, you realize, truly, that what you’d acquired in schools were much more theoretical than true practices of it. 

Applicable knowledge is more acquired here, even though within a year or two and only after an exam or two, if you must face the real business and professional world.

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ICAN Can Be the Champion of all Management Professional Bodies

As earlier stated, there are professional bodies for other management graduates. If an accounting graduate must go for ICAN, which is suitable for, why should other management graduates go for ICAN as well? Why not recommending their professional bodies instead?

This post is not advocating for ICAN only, it’s as well encouraging, if not mandating, graduates to be members of their professional bodies as well.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with belonging to two or more professional bodies. Feathers are, on each achievement, added to your caps, of course.

However, experience has shown that many national, multinational, and governmental establishments demand, most of the time, ICAN, irrespective of your course of studies.

In fact, a few adverts for vacancies may state it, as openly as possible that, belonging to appropriate professional bodies, is an added advantage. Yet, we’ve noticed that, where examples will be listed, ICAN is usually their number 1.

For the post of Finance and Account Manager at Mutual Benefits Microfinance Bank, a Microfinance Bank stated the following qualifications;


  1. BSc/BA in Accounting, Finance or relevant field;
  2. MSc/MBA is an added advantage
  3. Membership of Strong Accounting Professional Bodies (ICAN, ACCA)

For the position of Acciuntant, CBN reqires:

  1. Minimum of a Second-Class honours degree in Accounting
  2. Additional certification (ICAN, ACA, ANAN, ACCA, CPA etc.) is an added advantage.
  3. Possession of NYSC Discharge Certificate is mandatory.

An Access Bank vacancy requires:


  1. First degree in Economics, Accounting or other finance-related disciplines with a minimum of Second Class honors. A relevant Masters’ degree will be an advantage.
  2. Experience: Minimum of 2-3 years experience in a bank
  3. Certification(s): A recognized professional certification such as ACI, CFA, ACCA, ACIB, ICAN will be an added advantage

Kaduna State Government requires applicants for the post of Assistant Project Accountant to possess:


  1. A university degree / HND in Accounting, Banking and Finance and/or their equivalents with at least five (5) years post qualification experience,
  2. Membership of Professional Associations such as ICAN, ACA, ACCA, ANAN, and knowledge of computer-based accounting packages and experience in donor-funded or rural development project audit will be an added advantage.
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Nigerian Navy, in its DSSC vacancies, requires applicants for the post of Accounts and Budget Officer to possess:


  1. Bachelor’s degree or HND in Accounting/Banking and Finance. Membership of professional bodies like ICAN, ANAN, ACMA, ACCA, ACA will be an added advantage.

Needless to say, this professional body has stood the test of time. Their members are hired as auditors even by the banks and other organizations.

Government and international organizations hire them as auditors and taxators. And they’re, in most cases, hired as private and public consultants.

While most other professional bodies may be one-sided and one-eyed, ICAN is multi-focused as they can work with any organization, and their knowledge is required in literary required in all industries.

While still being a proud member of your own professional body, even as a non-accounting graduate, you will be readily available for all openings if you have ICAN first or later.

While Seeking Admission or in School, ICAN is a Must-Know-About

I’ve observed that most admission seekers innocently jump in for Accounting, Banking, and Finance, Business Administration, etc, without the foreknowledge that ICAN is a must if they will practice, specialize, and be relevant after graduation.

And it’s easy to argue that, while in school, they should be orientated on this, so they can jump on the wagon. Unfortunately, only a few students will later get this knowledge while in school. They’d hope to come out of school and grab the next accounting or managerial job.

I’m sorry! It’s easier said than done.

In fact, an advert may require the services of an ordinary graduate of Accounting. If 20 applicants apply, where only two will be employed, a rational company will be quick to consider those with ICAN. 

That’s why, the next newspaper will tell you, “ICAN is an added advantage”.

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