ICAN Stages And Courses

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria is the foremost accountancy professional body in Nigeria.

Established in 1965, ICAN, as it is popularly called, is rightfully considered the foremost authoritative institution for obtaining professional skills and certification in accounting.

You have a better chance of securing a high paying job if you are a qualified chartered accountant as there is an implicit rule among companies that a professional accountant must be ICAN certified.

Asides from better employment opportunities, as an accountant you are treated with utmost respect and reverence in the society (and who doesn’t want respect?)

It is fair to say being a chartered accountant puts you at an advantage in the business world but before you bag the ACA title, you must pass through certain stages and a series of ICAN exams.

But before delving into ICAN stages and courses, I would like to share an important thing with you.

Why should I go through ICAN?

It is very important to have a reason before registering for ICAN exams. Maybe you don’t know, ICAN examination is a journey and just like how life tests us with unexpected events at times, ditto for ICAN exams.

However, ICAN exams may or may not test you. This is perfectly normal as the ICAN exam trains your mental strength and improves your business acumen amongst other things.

But if you have a WHY for pursuing the ICAN-ACA certificate then you will always find the strength to pull through even if setbacks come your way at some point

But for you, ICAN prospective/current students. I recommend a material that demystifies the myth surrounding how to pass ICAN in one sitting. Click here to get your copy

So before going on to register for ICAN, make sure you define your purpose.

Can I write ICAN exams?

Yes, you can. In fact from its acronym ICAN, (I CAN do it) ICAN has made it very clear that anybody, regardless of your educational background can write ICAN exams.
Just anybody can become a chartered account so far you can complete the various stages and pass the series of ICAN exams.

Now let’s delve into the business of breaking down the stages and exams of ICAN.

ICAN Stages And Courses

The stages and courses of ICAN…

There are 3 but 2 different paths to becoming a certified ICAN chartered accountant.
1. Via the ATS scheme
2. Non-accounting graduate path
3. Accounting graduate path.

The aforementioned list is not a formal classification technique. Rather this is designed to help you understand the stages in the simplest way possible.

1. Via the ATSWA scheme: The ATS scheme is where candidates who are yet t to obtain university degrees or polytechnic HND begin their ICAN journey.

ATSWA simply means the Accounting Technician Scheme of West Africa Exam and is organized by the Association of Accountancy Bodies in West Africa, of which ICAN and twelve other Africa professional accounting bodies are members.

The ATSWA exams are in three stages, and this affords people with no prior or half baked knowledge in accounting the opportunity to acquire excellent accounting skills in preparation for ICAN professional exams.

The successful completion of each stage qualifies you for the next stage, find below the different courses to be written at each stage of the examination.

ATS 1:

1.1 Basic Accounting Processes & Systems
1.2 Economics
1.3 Business Law
1.4 Communication Skills


2.1 Principles and Practice of Financial Accounting
2.2 Public Sector Accounting
2.3 Quantitative Analysis
2.4 Information Technology


3.1 Principles of Auditing
3.2 Cost Accounting
3.3 Preparing Tax Computations and Returns
3.4 Management

Upon the successful completion of ATS 3, you are qualified as an Associate Accounting Technician of West Africa (AATWA).

Every candidate who passed through the ICAN ATS scheme is exempted from taking any course at the Foundation level before going on to write the Skills and Professional level of ICAN exams.



ICAN Stages And Courses

2. Non-accounting graduate path: as the name implies, this path is for those who graduated from a discipline different from Accounting from a university or polytechnic.

For such candidates, your ICAN exams begin from the Foundation level where you will write 5 papers, this is intended to drill you in basics of accounting before going on to write the Skills and Professional stages of ICAN exams.

  • A1. Taxation                                                                            
  • A2. Business, Management and Finance                               
  • A3. Financial Accounting                                                           
  • A4. Management Information                                               
  • A5. Business Law

Successful completion of these stages qualifies you for the next 2 stages of ICAN exams- The skills and professional level

3. Accounting Graduate Path: this path comprises of two stages, the skills, and professional level.
Accounting graduates from Nigerian universities/polytechnics, AATs, and candidates who have completed the foundational level take it from there.

Skills Level

  • B1. Financial Reporting                                                       
  • B2. Audit and Assurance                   
  • B3. Corporate Strategic Management & Ethics   
  • B4. Performance Management 
  • B5. Public Sector Accounting and Finance

Professional level

  • C1.  Corporate Reporting
    C2. Advanced Audit and Assurance
    C3. Strategic Financial Management
    C4. Advanced Taxation
    C5. Case Study

Naturally, you can complete the ICAN examinations in a year, 18 months, or two and a half years. This is dependent on the path you take in pursuing your dream of becoming a chartered accountant.

Once you have gone through the training of ICAN after passing her series of exams and completing the different stages, you become a “hot cake” and have established a firm foundation in achieving your long-term career goals in the accountancy profession.

ICAN represents the highest level of professionalism in accounting. It is also the highest-ranking among all professional courses in accounting in Nigeria.

ICAN exams are top-rated and highly ranked globally, this is why lots of candidates register for the exams yearly.

I hope you find this article on ICAN Stages And Courses useful. If you have any questions drop it in the comment section. And don’t forget to hit the share button!

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