Diamond Bank PLC, a leading retail bank in Nigeria, has provided training for business and finance journalists to enhance their knowledge and depth of financial reporting. The one day training which is in line with government’s roadmap on the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by companies operating in the country by 2014, helped to equip the journalists with the necessary intellectual tools and facts that will help them to understand and analyse annual and business reports of Corporate.
The event, organized by BusinessDay Training, aims at helping journalists better analyse the performance of companies operating within the economy and promote investor confidence. Participation was drawn from business editors and finance correspondents from both the print and electronic media.
In his address, Ikechukwu Omeife, Head, Media Relations, Diamond Bank PLC, noted that the decision to sponsor the training was driven by the bank’s commitment to build capacity among relevant stakeholders in the national economy.
He said, “At Diamond Bank, we realise the challenges journalists often face in reporting a sensitive industry such as the financial sector where industry knowledge and accuracy of reportage are non-negotiable. That is why we decided to equip the media with the requisite knowledge to enhance their understanding and interpretation of financial data.
“We realise that it is only when reporters are well versed in their jobs that they can ask the right questions and better inform the public and when people are well informed they are more likely to make better investment decisions that will benefit the economy. So it is a win-win all round.”
Jude Ndu, Manager, BusinessDay Training Division, said: “The rationale for this programme is to encourage continuous learning among journalists to move them from the level of reporting to analysis. We see it as a career building platform for the journalists. Also, the more you invest in journalists, the more you attract investor interest because investors will make decisions based on what they read.”
Chris Ope, one of the trainers and Managing Partner, Mansfield & Associates Resources Ltd., disclosed that the adoption of IFRS in the country has been a challenge given the dearth of knowledge even among finance professionals.
According to him, “The IFRS tells the stories of companies and those behind the companies. While most listed companies have adopted it, the conversion rate is a bit slow among MSMEs due to the stringent regulatory requirements so accountants need to be creative to help them come on board.
“The benefit of this training is that when reporters know what to look out for and ask the right questions, it helps regulators and the public know what to look out for. If a director in a company has interests in another company and there is a transaction between them, the auditor and regulators may not know and so cannot ask questions. But when journalists bring this to the public attention, there can be full disclosure on the nature of the transaction. So we need the support of journalists to make this initiative work.”
The International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) is a common global language for business, designed to ensure that company accounts are understandable and comparable across international boundaries. The systems, which are increasingly replacing many national accounting standards, require accountants to maintain books of accounts that are comparable, understandable, reliable and relevant to both internal and external users.