Section 335(1) of the Companies and Allied Matters Decree 1990 requires all financial statements issued in Nigeria to comply with standards laid down in the Statements of Accounting Standards issued from time to time by the FRC. Independent auditors are responsible for ensuring that Accounting Standards are applied properly by management. Where there has been a material digression from the standards, the auditor is expected to qualify his report.

In addition to the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Decree, Section 26(2) of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Decree (No. 25) of 1991 requires the financial statements of banks to comply with all applicable standards. The Central Bank of Nigeria now require vtgs auditors’ reports of banks to state categorically that the accounts have been prepared in compliance with relevant standards.

Prior to these laws, compliance had been assured through the member organisations that sponsor the FRC. Member organisations are expected to use their best endeavour to persuade their members to comply with all the Standards and can devise their own punitive measures for non-compliance. Given that users, preparers, and regulatory agencies are members of the Board, effective voluntary compliance was generally achieved. It is expected that the legal backing which the Board now enjoys will bring about a greater level of compliance by organisations.

The Users of Financial Statements play three important roles in the development of Accounting Standards. Firstly, users are free to submit topics to be standardised to the Council. Secondly, at the exposure stage, comments received from users are carefully analysed and valuable ones incorporated into the text. Thirdly, users that have the relevant expertise are co-opted into the Steering Committees. Thus, right from the start, the participation of users is cherished and solicited.

The development of a Statement of Accounting Standard is time consuming, painstaking and requires the involvement of members of the Council and the public at large. First, a topic for standardisation may be chosen in response to certain suggestions of the business community, member organisations or members of the Council. Thereafter, a Steering Committee consisting of at least six experts drawn from the public, private and professional sectors of the economy is set up. It is the responsibility of the Secretariat to prepare a points outline paper for consideration by the Steering Committee. The points outline paper states in broad terms all the various aspects of the topic which the Committee wishes to cover. It is at this stage that a thorough examination is made of all local regulations, laws, current practices and standards promulgated in other countries. After the approval by the Council of the points outline paper, a preliminary Exposure Draft is produced by the Secretariat for consideration by the Steering Committee. It takes, on the average, about six Steering Committee meetings to produce a Draft that is recommended to the Council for consideration.

The Council, at a technical session that lasts about three days, held usually outside Lagos, thoroughly considers and finalizes the document. An approval is given for its publication and exposure to the public if two-thirds of Council members vote in favour of its exposure. The period of exposure to the public is three months within which comments are invited from those interested in the subject matter. The Exposure Draft may be modified in the light of the comments received before it is issued as a Statement of Accounting Standards (SAS). Where the comments received are at variance with the basic thrust of the Exposure Draft, then a public hearing may be held for respondents to present and defend their positions. So far, the Board has held three such hearings on the following subjects: (i) Accounting by Banks and Non-Bank Financial Institutions (Part 1), (ii) On Leases, and (iii) Accounting in the Petroleum Industry.

Statements of Accounting Standards are indigenous Nigerian Standards set after due consideration of the Nigerian laws, customs, business culture and the level of its economic development. Nigerians acquire their accounting education and training from different countries of the world.