The Evolution of Auditing in Nigeria: A Historical Perspective.


Auditing, the systematic examination of financial records, plays a vital role in ensuring transparency and accountability in the financial landscape of Nigeria. As a profession, auditing has evolved significantly over the years, adapting to changes in the business environment, regulatory landscape, and technological advancements. In this article, we will explore the historical perspective of auditing in Nigeria, highlighting key milestones in its evolution and its role in shaping the nation’s financial landscape.

Early Auditing Practices in Nigeria:

Auditing, as a formal profession, began to take shape in Nigeria during the colonial era. In the early years, the primary focus of auditing was on government accounts, particularly those of the colonial administration. British auditors were appointed to review and verify the financial records of colonial governments and trading companies operating in Nigeria. The role of these auditors was primarily to ensure that government funds were properly accounted for and not misappropriated.

Post-Independence Era:

With Nigeria gaining independence in 1960, the role of auditing expanded beyond government entities to encompass private businesses, banks, and other financial institutions. The establishment of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) in 1965 marked a significant milestone. ICAN, as a professional body, has been instrumental in regulating and developing auditing standards and practices in the country.

The 1970s and 1980s: A Period of Regulatory Changes:

The 1970s and 1980s were characterized by significant regulatory changes in Nigeria’s auditing landscape. The Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) of 1990, for example, introduced stringent requirements for companies’ annual financial audits. These legal changes were aimed at enhancing financial transparency, corporate governance, and investor protection.

The Adoption of International Standards:

In the 21st century, Nigeria embraced the need to align its auditing practices with international standards. This shift led to the adoption of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) for financial reporting and the International Standards on Auditing (ISA) for audit procedures. By doing so, Nigeria aimed to promote comparability, consistency, and credibility in financial reporting and auditing practices.

Technological Advancements and Audit Automation:

The digital age brought significant advancements to auditing practices in Nigeria. Auditors began to leverage technology to streamline their audit procedures. Computer-assisted audit tools and data analytics have become integral components of modern auditing, enhancing audit efficiency, accuracy, and the ability to detect irregularities in financial data.

The Role of Forensic Auditing:

In response to the increasing complexity of financial fraud and misconduct, forensic auditing has gained prominence in Nigeria. Forensic auditors specialize in uncovering fraud, corruption, and financial irregularities, and their services are in demand in both the public and private sectors. Their work has contributed to the identification and prosecution of individuals involved in financial malfeasance.


The evolution of auditing in Nigeria reflects the nation’s journey towards transparency, accountability, and economic development. Auditing practices have grown from their colonial origins to encompass a wide array of entities, from government agencies to private businesses. As the business environment continues to evolve, so too will auditing, with a continued focus on upholding the highest standards of professionalism, independence, and ethical conduct.

Looking ahead, auditing in Nigeria will continue to adapt to the changing landscape of business, technology, and regulation. It remains a cornerstone of trust in financial reporting and a safeguard against financial fraud and misconduct, playing a crucial role in shaping the future of Nigeria’s financial landscape.

For professional advice on Accountancy, Transfer Pricing, Tax, Assurance, Outsourcing, online accounting support, Company Registration, and CAC matters, please contact Sunmola David & CO (Chartered Accountants & Tax Practitioners) at Lagos, Ogun state Nigeria offices, You can also reach us via WhatsApp at +2348038460036.