Just as in other parts of the world, becoming an accountant in Nigeria does not require you to take GCE, WAEC or JAMB. There are quite a significant amount of regulatory bodies that issue accounting qualifications.

Also, the accounting field consists of different specialization. Some of which include forensic accounting - concentrating on checking out for loopholes and money laundering, auditing, tax accounting and many more. So you can choose the particular one you would like to major in. While you do not need a degree to become a successful accountant, you'll need to have an analytical mind and an eye for calculations.

become an accountant
To be a certified accountant, you will need to learn how to analyse financial reports. Source: Unsplash

Interested in Being an Accountant?

To become an accountant, you need to have great interests in mathematics, analytical problem solving and have good organizational skills. If you're all of this, then you have chosen the right career path. In Nigeria, there is an increase in demand for accountants in commercial businesses, startups, and even the governmental sector.

With the presence of newer technology, the fate of this field may seem tricky. Quite a lot of people have predicted that accountancy would be extinct within a matter of time. However, this is far from the truth. Accounting has been infused into newer technology and it is safe to say; so far there are financial transactions, Accounting will be here for a long time.

The ICAN or Institute of Chartered Accountants

The Institute of Chartered Accountants Nigeria is one of the most recognized professional bodies in the country. It was formed on September 1, 1965, by the act of parliament number 15. It has over 50,000 members and its qualifications are divided into two subheads. They include:

  • Accounting Technician Scheme 
  • Professional Examination

The Accounting Technician Scheme is held twice in a year, usually during March and September. It is divided into three stages; ATS 1, 2, and 3. If you already have a degree in accounting, you will likely be exempted from the first and second stages. To acquire the certificate, you need to spend at least one and a half years in training.

The Professional Examination is also divided into 3 stages; intermediate, P.E 1 and P.E 2. You need to have a university or polytechnic degree to qualify for the exams. However, if you do not have this qualification, you can go for the ATS qualification first. If you pass, you'll qualify for the ICAN training and start your career to becoming a certified chartered accountant.

Learn more about what professional accounting courses to take

The ANAN or Association of National Accountants of Nigeria

The Association of National Accountants of Nigeria was formed on 1st January 1979, incorporated on 28th September 1983 and was eventually chartered by Decree 76 of 1993 on 25th August 1993.

The qualifications entail a three-year professional training to become a member and get the Certified National Accountant (CNA) certificate. You're eligible to apply if you're one the following

  1. An accounting graduate with B.Sc. or HND from any Nigerian University or Polytechnic.
  2. You've attended the Nigerian College of Accountancy, Jos for a 9-12 month intensive training, education, and examination.

For university or polytechnic graduates interested in becoming a member, you must attend the Nigerian College of Accountancy in Jos. While you're there, you will be trained for 9 -12 months and then prepare for the association's examination programme which consists of five papers at the intermediate Professional Examinations ‘A1 (PEA) and Six papers at the advanced Professional Examination ‘B1 (PEB).

Afterwards, you will undergo two years of supervised practical experience as Accountant-in-Training (AIT) in any sector of the economy. If you've completed your two-year Accountant-In-Training programme, you're qualified to get the certificate and become a member.

The ACCA or Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants is an international body founded in 1904. It is the largest and fastest-growing accounting body and exists in over 165 countries. The ACCA qualification is internationally recognized and treated as an equivalent to other local qualifications.

Examinations are held four times a year in March, June, September and December respectively. The total number of examinations you're required to take is 14. It is compulsory to pass all 14 examinations. However, if you have an accounting degree, you will be exempted from some of the exams. You can attempt a maximum of 4 papers for each sitting and you're expected to complete all examinations within ten years. 

The CIMA or Chartered Institute of Management Accountants

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants is a global professional body of management accountants. It was founded in 1919 as the Institute of Cost and Works Accountant.  The major aim of the institute is to establish management accounting as the most valued profession in business globally.

Getting a CIMA qualification gives you an edge over others in the job market. You also have higher chances of attaining a senior position in your organization allowing you to earn more a lot more. CIMA offers different levels of qualifications. However, they all revolve around four main subjects. They include Business Skills, People Skills, Technical Skills, and Leadership Skills. 

The stages of the examination are a total of 12. It will take you four years to complete the qualification and you're required to work for three years to validate the certification. You should gain enough work experience before you register as a CIMA student.

In management accounting, budgeting is essential. Source: unsplash

The CMA or Certified Management Accountants

Certified Management Accountants is designed for mid-level accountants looking to advancing their careers. This program is a finance or accounting specialist. This is why it is mostly suitable for working professionals or intermediate-level accountants.  

To qualify, you must have a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting, Economics or finance. The examination is divided into two parts and you're required to have two-year relevant working experience. You can either take the examination in a single part or together and it must be completed within 3 years of starting the program.

The AAT or Association of Accounting Technicians

The Association of Accounting Technicians is an international professional body for vocational accountants. It is one of the perfect ways to help boost your curriculum vitae and/or starting your accounting career. This is because it gives you practical, internationally recognized finance and accounting skills.

You don't need work experience or previous qualifications to apply. It means even secondary school students can apply for the qualifications.

The AAT qualifications are an extremely respected sign of commitment and excellence in the industry. The qualifications vary; some can be completed within one to two years while others may take longer and may require a certain amount of working experience years. The qualifications are divided into four sections:

  • A Foundation Certificate in Accounting
  • A Foundation Diploma in Accounting and Business
  • An Advanced Diploma in Accounting
  • A Professional Diploma in Accounting

The Foundation Certificate in Accounting is a 4- 12 month qualification. It will get you prepared for an entry-level accountant position. During the training, you will learn the fundamental accounting principles, and you will also master how to use accounting software.

The Foundation Diploma in Accounting and Business is for 16 to 19 years old. It offers the same teachings as the Foundation Certificate in Accounting along with business communication skills. It takes about six to twelve months to complete.

The Advanced Diploma in Accounting focuses on more elaborate accounting practices like in-depth bookkeeping, final accounts, and ethical practices. Just like the first two, this qualification can be achieved in six to twelve months.

The Professional Diploma in Accounting is the highest qualification under the AAT. You're required to learn for 18 months before getting the certificate. It covers highly specialized accounting skills like budget management and company financial performance evaluation. You will also learn how to handle cash flow and treasury. You can easily apply for professional examinations with exemptions after getting this certificate. Also, you qualify to enter for B.Sc. or HND programs in the University or Polytechnic. It also allows you to access direct entry into 200 level in some universities and polytechnics in Nigeria.

The CIA or Certified Internal Auditors

The Certified Internal Auditors is the only globally accepted program for internal auditors. Getting a CIA qualification is a valuable achievement.

It is a professional advantage for auditors of all stages including audit staff, chief audit executives, and risk management staff amongst others. You're required to take a three-part examination before getting certified. People who wish to demonstrate their professionalism in the internal auditing field should focus on getting this qualification.

overwhelmed with studying
Are you having difficulties with accounting? find an accounting tutor to help you. Source: unsplash

Finding the right accounting Tutor

If you're interested in getting a tutor to help you study for any of these qualifications, our platform offers over 4,000 Accounting teachers registered and based in Nigeria and all over the world. They can help you pass any of these exams and you're assured of success rates as high as 98%.

The Better Way

While you may have to juggle between 9-5 and classes, getting these qualifications is a great step. Not only are you increasing your knowledge base, but you're also expanding your career in terms of finances and experiences.





Need a Accounting teacher?

Did you like this article?

4.20/5 - 5 vote(s)


I am a content writer, creative lead and music artiste. I love to explore new and exciting things. You can check @celestearth to find my alter ego