On 17th – 18th, December, 2013. The Retreat on Branch Leadership and Best Practices in Professional Accountancy Organisations (PAOs) held at Nigerian College of Accountancy, Kwall near Jos, Plateau State on 17th and 18th December, 2013. This is a follow-up to the leadership Retreat held at TINAPA, Calabar, Cross River State on 28th and 29th October 2013. The Association, having attained enviable heights within its thirty-four years of existence as a Professional Accountancy Organisation (PAO) climaxed by its admission into the membership of International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and other regional Accountancy bodies is set in this retreat to examine branch operations to date and fashion out strategies for the future and also to reposition the Association to be ranked among the first ten frontline Professional Accountancy Organizations (PAOs) in the World within the next ten years. In this retreat, it is expected that the braches being an extension of the Association should be able to contribute to the overall objectives of the Association in line with our International status. The Retreat recognized the Role of the Association in National Development to include among others: i. Capacity Building / Production of Human Capital for the Economy ii. Promotion of the Science of Accountancy by engaging in accounting education, research and development with the programmes of the Nigerian College of Accountancy and CEFAR to contribute to curriculum development in tertiary institutions and promotion of research through donation of research centres, accounting laboratory initiative, computers/ books and accreditation of accountancy programmes in our institutions. iii. Offer advisory role to Government and Business through improved services by members in government and practice by contributing to national financial issues advocacy on war against corruption and fraudulent practices, to promote transparency and accountability in governance. In Carrying out these roles to the nation, the Association identified the following challenges: i. Infusing World Class Accounting Education as prescribed by IFAC into the curriculum of our tertiary institutions. ii. The pace of ICT development in Accounting Practice, the attitude of members towards ICT developments and accountancy practice leave much to be desired as many are not disposed towards capacity development and value added programmes in this area. On the obligation of the Association to its members, immediate community and the public, the Retreat understood the need: i. To develop competent professional Accountants in line with International Accounting Education Standard Board (IAESB), through pre-qualification and enrolment of potential students into the College to ensure professional knowledge, skills, values, ethics and attitudes of members. The need to promote public confidence in the profession by establishing benchmarks for developing and maintaining the professional competence and integrity of members. iv. Maintaining and improving conduct and competence of members’ services to the public, by subjecting it to continuous supervision towards ensuring that all members operate to the highest standards and discipline to ensure public confidence. The Retreat also enumerated the expectations from the branches on PAO regulations as follows: Branches are to cater for all members in their branch and assist the Association’s operations in fulfilling IFAC long term objective of regulating and monitoring members, especially those in practice to ensure high quality services. Branches should organize workshops, seminars and conferences for its members to update them on tax matters, IFAC competence test and to serve as channels of communication of the Association’s programme to members. The retreat reiterates the need for the branches to abide with the rules, guidelines and responsibilities of the Branches as entrenched in the harmonized Bye law for state branches and districts of the Association. Equally emphasized, is the need for the branches to ensure that their annual financial statements are prepared in line with Accounting Policies of the Association and such reports reach the Head Quarters on or before February of each year. The retreat stressed the need for branch elections to hold as at when due for smooth transition as exemplified by the leadership of the Association. On Good Governance, the Retreat stressed the need for good governance in the management of PAOs and identified the objective to include: Protection of stakeholders interest File disclosure of an informed decision making Commitment to values and ethical conduct. Transparency of transaction Compliances with statutory and legal requirement. To be able to achieve the above objectives, the following principles are relevant: Establishment of strategic objectives Effective independent audit. Dispute resolution mechanism Code of conduct adherence Effective oversight function Nurtured proactive and committed team. The challenges to good corporate governance were noted to include: Poor integration of entities and development of ICT. Increased level of risks Over contentment of information Resurgence of high level malpractices Inadequate management capacity. On the issue of management of Branches of Professional Accountancy Organisations, the Retreat agreed that; Maintaining sustainability of branches require concerted efforts of the branch executives who must be upright, dependable, honest and have moral rectitude. Branches need to collaborate rather than run autocratic system since inclusive leadership is the pivot for achieving the objectives of the Association. Branches need to promote team work, effective communication, identity and utilize the strengths of each team player The Retreat noted that when branches work together as a group, the challenges of branch administration can be reduced since ‘keeping together is progress and working together is success’. They can embark on programmes and activities that impact on the immediate community in which they operate. On ANAN’s strategic repositioning for the future, the retreat outlined the following critical factors that will most likely shape the future and progress of the Association. This includes: The growing uncertainty that surrounds the global financial and economic governance framework. Rate of ICT growth, Science, Technology and Innovation and the rate of obsolescence of many traditional accounting and financial reporting principles. The effect of increased population growth has led to the overcrowded classrooms and shortage of facilities in the educational sector has continued to reduce the quality of graduate enrolment into the professional training programmes. The gradual shifts of economic power from the western world to the East will impact on the future of control of professional accounting practices. Globalization of professional accounting practice will put pressure on professional accounting bodies to strengthen their membership guidelines as well as management structure to meet international standards. Realizing that the above critical factors as probable issue that will drive the future of the association, the following 10-point strategic repositioning is proposed: Corporate governance leadership behavior based on Culture, Values and Ethics Drawing up of strategic plan to measure expected outcome. Members’ capacity, building/Linkages/Networks Pursuance of NCA mandate, good governance and proper staffing Technical capacity of practitioners on SME/SMPs and private sector penetration. Research and publications/Advocacy Faculty Development in Accounting domains Image management/Corporate identify Brach governance, role and empowerment. Virtual training infrastructure for mature student’s programme/campus networking. From the proceedings of this Retreat, branch leadership are critical cells of the Association and must take steps to promote the image of the Association by encouraging members to participate in all activities and continue to engage best practices by benchmarking its operations with other similar branches in line with the overall objectives of the Association. The leadership of the Association on its part need to continue to show purposeful leadership, transparency and inclusive governance if the dream of attaining the height of being the first best ten Professional Accountancy Organisations is to be realized.