In a stirring convergence of Cooperative Account Managers, Treasurers and Financial Secretaries of Cooperative Societies in Lagos State, the annual Mandatory Professional Development Program (MPDP) of Licensed Cooperative Account Managers and induction of new members was held recently at the LASCOFED Multipurpose Hall. The event, themed “The Role of Lagos State Association of Licensed Account Managers (LASCAM) in the Accountability, Survival, and Development of Cooperatives in Lagos and in Nigeria,” saw a robust participation from stakeholders of the Cooperative Movement in Lagos State.

The Chairman of Cooperative Account Managers Committee of LASCOFED, Mr Jeremiah Athanhode, in his welcome address at the event, stated that the success of a cooperative business is guaranteed only when all stakeholders play their roles adequately. He stated that the role of the cooperative account managers in ensuring the quality of financial reporting is crucial to the stability of the cooperative. “LASCAM, through its members is saddled with the task of defending the quality of financial reporting from the source where the numbers and figures are produced.

Any compromise at this stage could affect the financial health of the Cooperative Business,” he stated. He also congratulated and welcomed the newly licensed Cooperative Account Managers, urging them to serve with passion, diligence, and integrity.

President of Lagos State Cooperative Federation, Barrister Oladipo Shobule delivered the Keynote address where he charged members of Lagos State Licensed Cooperative Account Managers (LASCAM) on effective and efficient service delivery as good ambassadors of LASCOFED. He said LASCOFED was committed to supporting the members of LASCAM individually and collectively. Therefore, challenges impeding progress can be identified with the aim of proffering solutions them.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Cooperatives, Trade and Investment was represented at the occasion by a Deputy Director in the Ministry, Mr Omotayo Kazeem. He admonished the account managers and everyone involved in recording and reporting financial transactions to be diligent as their action and inaction can have dire consequences on the fortunes of members.

The resource person, Mr James Gbolagoke who is also a member of LASCAM, fellow of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and other professional bodies provided detailed analysis of the history of LASCAM, financial evolution and history of money in Nigeria. He outlined the essential pillars for the survival and development of any business to include Production, Marketing, Financing and Administration. He highlighted the pressing need for professional financial management within Cooperative Societies to keep pace with these developments.

The lecture also distinguished between the roles of bookkeepers and cooperative account managers within cooperative organizations. While bookkeepers focus on foundational tasks such as posting of transactions and updating of ledgers, cooperative account managers are tasked with higher-level responsibilities; including Preparation of financial statements, credit control, and advising management on financial matters. This differentiation underscores the evolving sophistication of financial management roles within the cooperative movement.

In discussing Cooperative Account Managers potential roles as auditors, Barrister Shobule pointed out the inherent conflict of interest in preparing and auditing accounts. He proposed the creation of a separate audit department to provide the necessary checks and balances, ensuring compliance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

One of the highlights of the program was a practical demonstration of an Integrated Financial Information System (IFIS), designed to enhance the efficiency of financial record-keeping and reporting. This system aims to address common pitfalls in Cooperative Financial Management, such as undocumented transactions and financial leakages, by providing a comprehensive tracking and summarizing tool for financial events.

The MPDP concluded with a sense of optimism and commitment among participants, reinforced by the vision and strategic direction provided by the speakers. The professional development of cooperative account managers and executives remains a cornerstone for the sustainable growth of cooperative societies in Lagos and beyond.

20 new cooperative account managers were inducted at the MPDP. The newly inducted were charged to imbibe honesty, transparency and dedication as they embark on the journey to service cooperative societies into a prosperous future. The Code of Conduct for members was handed over to the inductees.

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