ICAN was created by an Act of Parliament No. 15 of 1 September 1965 from existing accounting and auditing organizations. At time of foundation, ICAN had 250 members.
ICAN has the mission statement: “To Produce World-Class Chartered Accountants, Regulate and Continuously Enhance Their Ethical Standards and Technical Competence in the Public Interest”. It has headquarters in Lagos. By 2003 ICAN had over 12,000 members. In August 2004 the ICAN began providing training on Information Technology for its members.] On 11 May 2011, ICAN admitted 1,494 new members who had successfully passed their qualifying examination, bring total membership to 32,722.
ICAN has based its practices on those of British chartered accountancy institutes. Nigeria adopted International Accounting Standards with little modification. ICAN is a member of the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC) and periodically adopts IASC standards. Any deviation from these standards must be disclosed in a company’s financial statements. In the 1990s ICAN was dominated by members holding qualifications from the London-based Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). Although the ICAN claimed complete independence of the ACCA, it was under attack for defending the status quo in accountancy practices and for suppressing changes to address local requirements.
In August 2010 the Federal Government approved migration to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).