Appraisal of Public Awareness in Forensic Accounting in Nigeria
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
To examine the importance of forensic accounting Nigeria
To find out its level of awareness among the Nigeria public
Establishing the introduction of forensic accounting into the curriculum of tertiary institutions enjoys popular support.
To establish ways by which the accountants can help close up the expectation gap.
To establish if corrupt practices are set back for financial institutions and the country at large.
To provide forensic accounting awareness that can develop the curriculum of tertiary institution.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
The term” forensic accounting” was coined in 1946 by Peloubet but had been in existence as far back as 1800s (Evans, 2017). Forensic accounting is also known as investigative accounting, fraud audit and even judicial accounting (Nenyiaba, Osisioma & Okoye, 2015). Forensic accounting is the unification of accounting, auditing, investigation, and law (Mohammed & Peter, 2016). Forensic accounting is the examination and interpretation of legal facts and evidence, and expert witnessing in the court of law (Tim & Sam, 2016). Forensic accounting is a specialized accounting field which makes use of auditing and with investigative skills to assist in legal matters that arises from activities of current and potential disputes or litigation (Manas, 2014). Forensic accounting is an aspect of accounting that is suitable for a higher level of assurance for law courts (Akenbor & Ironkwe, 2014). Forensic accounting is a generally accepted accounting, auditing principles, and accounting expertise to establish losses or gains, property, damages, the effectiveness of internal controls and frauds for the legal system usage regarding criminal and civil disputes (Anuolam, Onyema & Ekeke, 2016; Olaoye, Ogundipe & Dada, 2019). Forensic accounting practice began in 1817, where a decision of a court on bankruptcy was based on the testimony of an accountant (Evans, 2017). A Scottish accountant used his knowledge and expertise through opinion to support arbitration proceedings in the 1820s (Eze & Okoye, 2019). The term “Forensic accounting” was used by Kautilya who stated several means of embezzlement in 1946 (Ehigbiren, 2016). In a nutshell, forensic accounting is the accounting spoken in the language of the law. It is a specialized area of accounting practices that employs accounting, audit ing, investigation and legal skills and knowledge to provide evidence of information suitable or relevant to legal issues. In Nigeria, forensic accounting happens to be an expensive service which can only be afforded by big companies. Thus, most of these companies prefer to settle issues outside the litigation to avoid the expensive cost involved and the risk of bad publicity which may affect the image of their entities. Aside that, forensic accounting is a new accounting phenomenal in developing economies including Nigeria and the professional accountants with adequate technical knowledge on forensic matters and application are rear in Nigeria. Aduwo (2016) discloses that an important challenge to the application of forensic accounting in financial fraud control in Nigeria is that law failed to incorporate latest technology in fraud detection. Aduwo (2016) further explains that the task of gathering information that is admissible in a court of law; the acceptance of evidence in compliance with the laws of evidence is crucial to successful prosecutions of criminal and civil claims and the globalization of the economy and the fact that a fraudster can be based anywhere in the world has led to the problem of inter-jurisdiction. Although, the Institute of Forensic Accountants (IFA) Nigeria was incorporated under Limited by Guarantee by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Abuja after receiving the written consents of the Federal Ministry of Education, the attorney General, and Minister of Justice of the Federation, Abuja. (Faboyede, Makoro & Ben-Caleb, 2013). But still, the application of forensic accounting in Nigeria has not been given wide usage by the government and yet to gain popularity in both private and public sectors of the economy.
In this chapter, we described the research procedure for this study. A research methodology is a research process adopted or employed to systematically and scientifically present the results of a study to the research audience viz. a vis, the study beneficiaries.
Research designs are perceived to be an overall strategy adopted by the researcher whereby different components of the study are integrated in a logical manner to effectively address a research problem. In this study, the researcher employed the survey research design. This is due to the nature of the study whereby the opinion and views of people are sampled. According to Singleton & Straits, (2009), Survey research can use quantitative research strategies (e.g., using questionnaires with numerically rated items), qualitative research strategies (e.g., using open-ended questions), or both strategies (i.e., mixed methods). As it is often used to describe and explore human behaviour, surveys are therefore frequently used in social and psychological research.
POPULATION OF THE STUDY
According to Udoyen (2019), a study population is a group of elements or individuals as the case may be, who share similar characteristics. These similar features can include location, gender, age, sex or specific interest. The emphasis on study population is that it constitutes of individuals or elements that are homogeneous in description.
This study was carried to examine appraisal of public awareness in forensic accounting in Nigeria. Banking industry within Edo State and tertiary institutions across the state form the population of the study.
DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
This chapter presents the analysis of data derived through the questionnaire and key informant interview administered on the respondents in the study area. The analysis and interpretation were derived from the findings of the study. The data analysis depicts the simple frequency and percentage of the respondents as well as interpretation of the information gathered. A total of eighty (80) questionnaires were administered to respondents of which only seventy-seven (77) were returned and validated. This was due to irregular, incomplete and inappropriate responses to some questionnaire. For this study a total of 77 was validated for the analysis.
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain appraisal of public awareness in forensic accounting in Nigeria. In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of appraisal of public awareness in forensic accounting in Nigeria
This study was on appraisal of public awareness in forensic accounting in Nigeria. Three objectives were raised which included: To examine the importance of forensic accounting Nigeria, to find out its level of awareness among the Nigeria public, to establish the introduction of forensic accounting into the curriculum of tertiary institution enjoys popular support, to establish ways by which the accountants can help close up the expectation gap, to establish if corrupt practices are set back for financial institutions and the country at large and to provide forensic accounting awareness that can develop the curriculum of tertiary institution. A total of 77 responses were received and validated from the enrolled participants where all respondents were drawn from banking industry within Edo State and tertiary institutions across the state. Hypothesis was tested using Chi-Square statistical tool (SPSS).
Forensic accounting has been in existence since ancient times but corporate scandals of late had given the profession rejuvenation. In Nigeria, forensic accounting is still in its infancy stage and most Nigerians seemed to assume that there is no difference between forensic accounting and auditing. From the study, it can be concluded that the slow progress of forensic accounting in Nigeria may be due to two main reasons. Firstly, forensic accounting does not form a significant part of the educational and professional curricula of colleges and professional bodies responsible for producing and developing accountants in Nigeria and secondly there does not exist any form of statutory backing for forensic accounting services in Nigeria as does traditional financial audit. There is also no mandatory requirement for companies to conduct forensic accounting, even for distressed companies. There is no need for a specific act or guidelines to govern and regulate forensic accounting practices in Nigeria. Another factor brought to light is the need for the introduction of forensic accounting in Nigerian academic institutions and in the training and continuous education programmes and syllabi of professional accounting bodies in Nigeria.
This study has shown that for forensic accounting to serve as an effective tool for combating fraud and corruption in Nigeria, it must be developed beyond its present low pedestal level and given the required prominence. Doing this would involve first, the retraining of existing accountants and auditors, and this training should necessarily involve the two professional accounting bodies in Nigeria who must now place forensic accounting courses as top priority in their continuous professional education programmes in order to enhance their members’ capacity to carry out forensic accounting services. Second, it is recommended that forensic accounting techniques should constitute a significant aspect of the curriculum of educational institutions and professional bodies responsible for accountants’ education and training in Nigeria while specialization in forensic accounting at the post-graduate level should also be encouraged. Third, forensic accounting should be given statutory recognition and specific roles by the corporate financial reporting and auditing regulatory statutes of Nigeria.
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