Many people think of accounting as a highly technical field which can be understood only by professional accountants. Actually, nearly everyone practices accounting in one form or another on an almost daily basis We live in an era of accountability. Although, accounting has made sits most dramatic progress in the field of business, the accounting function is vital to every unit of our society. An individual must account for his or her income, and must supply personal accounting information in order to buy a car or home to qualify for a college scholarships to secure a credit card, or to obtain a bank loan. Large corporations are accountable to their stockholders, to government agencies, and to the public. The federal government, the states, the cities, the school district: all must use accounting as a basis for controlling their resources and measuring their accomplishments. Accounting is equally essential to the successful operation of a business, a university, a polytechnic and a social program.
1.1 DEFINITION OF ACCOUNTING:
Okechukwu (1999), defined accounting as, “the art of recording, classifying and summarizing, analyzing, interpreting and reporting on the financial transactions and position of an organization to interested persons or bodies.” He gave this definition because whenever two or more persons comes together to form a union or an organization, the next thing is that money must be involved. Also, the accurate recording of the financial dealings of the companies, as well as the correct reporting of the financial results of the union’s activities for a period to the members of that union, and to outsiders become of paramount importance. Amachina and Ezeh (1996), defined accounting as, “a profession that co-ordinates the functions of financials accounting which is concerned with the recording, analyzing, summarizing and interpretation of business and other entities”. Okafor (1996), defined accounting as “a systematic means of writing of economic history and plans of an organization in both quantitative and financial manner so that facts can be revealed, and properly analysing such fact for the purpose of advising management.1.1.1 OTHER AREAS OF ACCOUNTING INCLUDES
a. MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTING Osuagwu (1998), defined management accounting as, “ the application of accounting knowledge, technique and skills to the provision of information designed to assist all levels of management in planning and controlling the activities of a business enterprise.” Moreover, the chartered institute of management accountant (CIMA) defines management accounting as, “ an integral part of management concerned with identifying, presenting, and interpreting information used for formulating strategy, planning and controlling activities, decisions taking optimizing the use of resources, disclosure to shareholders and other external to the entity, disclosure to employees and safeguarding assets.
b. COST ACCOUNTING:
Onovo et al (2002), defined cost accounting and costing principles, methods and techniques in the ascertainment of costs and the analysis of savings and excesses as compared with previous experience with standards. Nze (1998), defined cost accounting as, “The accounting of the cost of production of goods or services or both of them”. The institute of cost and management accountants defines costing as “a management information system which analysis parts, present, and indeed, future data to fit the variety of different problems confronting managers. In order to carryout their responsibilities for planning and controlling the resources of a business, managers must be properly informed’.
C. PUBLIC SECTOR ACCOPUNTING:
Ani (2001), defined public sector accounting as, “the composite activity of collecting, analysing, recording, summarizing, reporting and interpreting the financial – transactions of government units. The various government units includes: i. The federal government (it ministries, departments and agencies). ii. The state governments represented by it ministries and department. iii. The local governments iv. The government parastatals partly or completely financial by the government. Some of the nature of government entities are: 1. They are established by the citizenry through the constitutional and charter process 2. They do not seek for profit from the activities in which they are engage 3. They depends on the legislative authorities 4. They owe responsibility to the citizens From the various definitions of accounting mentioned above, we can see obviously that whether the accounting is concerned with financial accounting or management accounting or cost accounting, that all of them is geared towards provision of vital information that will aid the management in attainment of the objective f the organization. Moreover, accounting aids to check fraud and make corrections ins the records of transactions kept by an organization through the services rendered by professional accountants. In the case of private sector, the auditors checks the accounts and records of the company, in order to ensure that to the accounts are prepared in accordance of the laid down rules ins the companies and allied matters error in the financial statement of the company, where there is an error or fraud in the financial statement, the auditor is supposed to specify it in its’ report, finally, he will express his opinion on whether the financial statement of the company shows a true and faire view of the financial state of that company at the given date. While in the public sector, in sector 85 subsection (2) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria, the auditor-General is authorizes to appoint auditors for government stationary corporations, commissions authorities, agencies, including all persons and bodies established by an act of the national assembly. Furthermore, in the area of taxation, accountants aids the government to calculate the amount of taxes which persons and companies will pay as taxes. Persons pay taxes from the income they earn as from their work and companies pays taxes from the profit they made in the business.
1.1.2 USERS OF ACCOUNTING INFORMATION
A. The proprietor
This proprietor is the owner of a business accounting information aids him sto know whether he is making a profit or loss in his business and also it aids him sto know how much drawing to make in order not to adversely affect the progress of the business b. Creditors
Accounting information aid the creditors to know whether those they sold their goods to on credit will be above to pay them their money.
c. Prospective investors:
This are persons that want to buy shares in a company. The accounting information aids them to know the profitability, solvency and how the assets have been put to effective use. d. Banks and other financial institutions: Provision of accounting information enables banks to grant loans, overdraft and other advances to their customers e. Labour Unions and Employees Accounting information enables the labour unions to ensure that their workers are adequately remunerated as at when due. f. Government
Accounting information enables the government to impose tax on profits of companies and income of individuals. g. Management:
The management uses the accounting information in making decision that will lead to the attainment of the organization objective.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
One of the characteristics of a profession is that it affords those who practice it permanent membership of a life career. The professional accounting bodies in Nigeria have a very stringent policy for admitting its members into the profession. Also, in a trading and non trading organizations where adequate memorandum books and sources documents are not kept which will provide a record of the business transaction made by the organization constitutes a problem to the accountant working in that organization. Moreover, income tertiary institutions, there Are unqualified lecturers, which will not contribute in teaching the students all they are supposed to know concerning Accounting profession.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this study includes: 1. To explain the expectations of accountants as profession 2. To explain the role played by accountants in both trading and non trading organizations 3. To appraise the roles of professional bodies in promoting the prospect of accounting profession 4. To identify the problems facing accounting students 5. To ascertain the implication of accounting on accounting students. 6. To offer recommendation necessary for the growth and prospect of accounting profession in Nigeria
1.4 STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESIS
Ho: There is no prospect of accounting as a profession Hi: There are prospects of Accounting as a profession.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
Accounting is a course, which it services is indeed in all organizations, whether the objective of the organization is to make profit or not to make profit. There is always the need to account for the day to day running of the organization relation to spending and receiving of money. Accounting is one of the professional course which many students looking for admission in higher institutions wants to study. This study, as looking into the problems and benefits accounting students should meet as prospective accountants. The study is important not only to the students, but also to those qualified professional accountants and teachers of accountancy, the government, and the general public, for they should with this study assess to know where the problem lies and where improvement is needed in accounting education.
1.6 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
For the effective study of this topic, the following research questions are investigated. 1. Is accounting a profession with prospects? 2. Has ICAN contributed to the growth and prospect of accounting profession? 3. Does ICANJ hinder the progress and prospect of accounting students in Nigeria? 4. Do the accounting students perceive ICAN as the best and the only professional body of accountancy in Nigeria to help sustain the prospect of accounting as a profession? 5. Should the HND/ university degree in accountancy be equivalent to the ICAN professional certificate? 6. Should there be a professional school of accountancy in Nigeria? 7. Has the Nigerian (Government been encouraging accountancy as a profession? 8. How can you assess the role played by accountants in both trading and non trading organizations?
1.7 LIMITATION OF STUDY
The problems encountered in this study can be classified into the following: 1. There was not enough time to carryout an intensive research concerning the topic from text book, magazines and internet. 2. The amount of money needed to carryout research especially through internet was costing. This lead to limiting of the number of hours spent on making research through Internet. 3. During the data collection of students from selected school on their opinion concerning topic, some students do not respond in given their own answer to the questionnaires. 4. There are many higher institution through which the study can be done, but due to the other constraints (Time and money) the sample size for the study was selected from few higher institutions.
1.8 DELIMITATION OF STUDY
In this study, all the higher institutions in Nigeria is supposed to be used as sample size, where data will be collected from students through structured questionnaires, but due to the constraints of time and finance some of the schools was selected for the sample study. Moreover, detailed information concerning accounting professional bodies was not in this study due to the large amount of money needed in carrying out research in internet network.
1.9 ASSUMPTIONS OF STHE STUDY
Accounting is a profession that has high regard in Nigeria. Many students in Nigeria want to study accountancy. There are many prospects of accounting as a profession which accountants must bear in minds in discharging their duties. Both the profit making organizations (Trading) and Non profit making organizations (None trading) depends upon the information provided by the accountants for the smooth running of the organization.
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