Quality standards enforcement mechanisms and the forensic accounting profession in Nigeria
A Thesis Submitted to the School of Postgraduate Studies, University of Lagos
This research effort is a baseline study, designed to obtain empirical evidence on the current state of the forensic accounting profession in Nigeria; and the level of compliance of the profession with the International Quality Assurance Accreditation Standards (IQAAS). It is an evaluation of the extent of quality standards enforcement mechanisms (QSEM) in the profession in Nigeria. The study used both primary and secondary data. The primary data source consisted of a set of questionnaire designed for completion by the forensic accounting professionals in Nigeria. The secondary data were obtained from the official websites and records of the accounting profession regulators in the Country. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse the data obtained from 161 respondents; and hypotheses were tested with t-test and regression analysis (at α = 0.05). A Compliance Index was used to measure the level of compliance of the profession in Nigeria with the IQAAS. The outcome revealed a significant difference between the current state of the forensic accounting profession in Nigeria and the requirements of the IQAAS. The study found that the profession rests on weak QSEM to ensure compliance with the IQAAS; it revealed a lack of statutory regulatory institution, enabling legal framework; and uniform coordination, training, certification and accreditation standards. The study also found that there is an acute shortage of qualified professionals in the practice; many of the existing practitioners lack the requisite skills to effectively function in the field of specialisation. The result further showed that the contribution of the Nigerian universities to the development of the discipline is not significant, mainly owing to insufficient qualified academics and facilities. These shortcomings have contributed to low quality of service delivery in the profession, putting its probative value in doubt. It is thus concluded that the profession in Nigeria has not provided expected impact on the fight against the economic and financial crimes; that without QSEM in place in Nigeria, the forensic accounting profession would remain a futilearmour against the economic and financial crimes in the Country. The study, therefore, recommends that the Nigerian Federal Government and relevant bodies should, as a matter of priority, establish forensic regulatory institutions, such as National Institute of Forensics (NIF); Nigerian Academy of Forensics (NAF); Certified Institute of Forensic Accountants of Nigeria (CIFAN); and Nigerian Association of Professional Forensic Accountants (NAPFA). These bodies, in co-operation with the Judiciary and the National Universities Commission (NUC) will ensure that the forensic accounting profession in Nigeria is based on best practices, in compliance with the requirements of the IQAAS. The Nigerian universities, in collaboration with relevant professional bodies, should give continued attention to the development of the forensic accounting academic programmes at all levels.