One particular question in the minds of many accounting students is whether to enroll for ICAN or ANAN. Our lecturers in universities probably edged us towards one particular one or the other based on their respective biases. I will attempt to compare both without bias.
ANAN has the COLLEGE OF ACCOUNTANCY JOS which is its training arm. The college accepts minimum of a BsC/HnD in Accounting. It also has a CONVERSION program for other related courses. In a nutshell, students outside the faculty of management sciences cannot enter the profession via this route.
ICAN on the other hand accepts everybody literally. From O’ level holders to PhD degree holders in Chemistry. Anyone is welcome to the profession.
ICAN’S method, while it threatens the sustainability of the profession, also brings in mental abilities from various fields of studies. This could even help the profession. Example graduate computer students who enter the profession may help make accounting more computerized.
ANAN on the other hand tries to save both the formal education process and the accounting degree. While this is commendable, it shuts accounting off which is not international best practice. Then again accounting degree as they are now should not be the sole provider of accounting man power.
ICAN has no formal training system. It merely assumes an examining role just like JAMB and WAEC. On one hand this ensures bias free grading system as candidate does not know grader, on the other it leaves room for very unstandardized training system and unequal skill set. In Nigeria today ICAN students could do from informal distant learning to formal university training.
ANAN on the other hand has a formal training system where it both teaches and examines students. This can lead to harmonization of skill set, but then it opens the door to the ills of internal assessment.
I believe it is more convenient for students to chose however the want to train for the exams. Grouping them together once again for an internal training and assessment may not be for the best. Whatever be the case, almost all professional accounting bodies adopt ICAN ‘s method.
ICAN is the clear winner here as the public generally see ANAN as an alternative route after one has failed ICAN multiple times.
Again, ICAN is more recognized than ANAN internationally. ICAN is a founding member of IFAC & ABWA and is the choice qualification for BIG 4 firms. In fact, international audit firms rarely, if ever, accept ANAN as a professional qualification.
ICAN costs about 300,000 naira plus from registration to induction while ANAN costs more than half a million naira.
ICAN syllabus is in line with international best practices while ANAN is doubtfully compliant. But whatever the case, it is harder to pass ICAN than ANAN [As many CNA turned ACAs would say]. Again ICAN has a much lower pass rate. But it has been argued by some that ICAN is perceived harder because of the loose entry qualification. While there is much truth to this, a comparison of both exam past questions show ANAN has a long way to go.
ICAN has updated its syllabus in line with that of ICAEW in a “twining agreement”. ICAN updates it syllabus every 5 years normally. ANAN has had the same subjects for quite a long time in its professional exams palette. Many of these subjects are near obsolete in the manner that ANAN tests them. For example testing INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY as an individual 100% subject is not done by any professional body of repute currently.