Freelance writer, Chidi Alabi, explores the significant impact of technology in transforming accounting and financial planning in Nigeria, reflected in public service systems such as the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and increased collaboration between the Institute of Chattered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and key tech players like SystemSpecs
As the world progresses in the digital transformation era, technology is playing an increasingly dominant role in many professions, revolutionizing the mode of operations in these areas to improve efficiency, save costs and simplify processes.
One of the notable fields that is being increasingly influenced by technology is the accounting and finance industry, which is being transformed through innovations in automation, cloud-based services, artificial intelligence and unprecedented access to data. Indeed, technology in accounting and financial planning has transformed the sector with newer and advanced software, and its ability to ensure accuracy and reduce errors, which helps businesses avoid tax penalties and other issues. Furthermore, it is now much easier to organise audits in a highly efficient manner.
In Nigeria, the rising impact of technology on accounting processes is illustrated in the emergence of innovative financial management systems such as the federal government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the rise of the booming fintech sector which has provided thousands of jobs for Nigerians and helped millions of organisations and individuals process financial transactions more efficiently.
Today, Nigeria has become the leading fintech hub in Africa with several products providing innovative solutions servicing millions of people in diverse sectors. These products include Paystack, Flutterwave, Remita and Quickteller facilitating payment, Piggyvest, Carbon and Palmpay facilitating lending and investment, and Paylink and Opay facilitating remittance amongst several others. To stimulate efficiency and fast track business growth in a tough, highly competitive, and rapidly changing market, organisations in Nigeria need to maximize the leverage provided by fintech and other digital technology solutions.
Last month, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) also underlined this increased collaboration when the Institute’s 57th president, Mrs. Comfort Eyitayo, paid a courtesy visit to the headquarters of African technology giant, SystemSpecs, as a major stakeholder of the prestigious accounting institute. One of the oldest technology firms in Nigeria and a pioneer of the fintech revolution, SystemSpecs was founded in 1992 by a former banker, John Obaro. It is known for its innovative revolutionary products in financial technology, human capital management and ecommerce. Some of the company’s popular solutions include HumanManager, Paylink, and Remita which has already become a household name.
Congratulating the company on its ‘Three Decades of Innovation and Impact’, the ICAN boss said it is noteworthy that SystemSpecs has operated for three decades while developing topnotch human capital and financial management software for the Nigerian and African economies.
With its flagship products, Remita and HumanManager, SystemSpecs is one of the firms revolutionizing financial planning and management in Nigeria. For instance, HumanManager is an all-in-one solution that takes care of payroll, reporting, staff record, performance, and human capital management needs for organizations across Africa whilst Remita has helped thousands of individuals, corporate organizations and governments organise their finances more efficiently with its aggregated interface enabling people to access all their bank accounts vis one dashboard. Remita has also acquired a reputation as a national product with its adoption as the technology powering the TSA.
The TSA is an essential public finance management reform agenda recommended by the World Bank to ensure proper oversight of government cash flows and reduce the cost of keeping public money in several commercial banks. Like several other countries around the world, it was embraced by the Nigerian government to facilitate a unified structure of government bank account for all public sector transactions. Along the line, it has also become a major instrument of campaign for zero tolerance for corruption.
The TSA has been so successful that over N45 billion in interest rates is currently being saved by government on a monthly basis, according to the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed. TSA has allowed, for the first time, visibility of the total quantity of government funds at any point in time. This has Increased transparency in government processes and brought governance closer to the average citizen.
Besides the joint federal government accounts, the TSA has also transformed financial management for many government agencies through the maximisation of technology. A very good case is the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB). The exam body’s increasing compliance with strict government financial policies, such as the Treasury Single Account (TSA) has made it possible for it to increase revenue and reduce prices, making its examinations more accessible to millions of indigent students.
While speaking at a colloquium in May 2018, JAMB’s Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, had said the examination body’s yearly remittances before 2017 was a meagre N52 million but had now increased to N7.8 billion under his administration.
Alabi writes from Lagos.