Institutions Established by Akintola Williams


Akintola Williams who died on September 11, 2023 at the age of 104, was a man of many firsts. Born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1919 Akintola Williams studied accounting at the University of qualified as a chartered accountant in 1949, making him the first chartered accountant in Nigeria. 

He found the first private indigenous account firm in Nigeria and Africa, Akintola Williams & Co., now Deliotte & Touche, in 1952. 

He was the first chartered accountant in Nigeria and the first president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).

In his quest for development of accounting profession in Nigeria, he was a driving force in the establishment of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and served as its pioneer president between 1963 to 1965.

Williams was a pioneer and a visionary, serving on multiple company boards and becoming a major shareholder. His retirement in 1983 marked the end of an exceptional era in Nigerian business. He passed away on Sept. 11 at 104, leaving behind a lasting imprint.

He received numerous awards and honours in recognition of his contributions in accounting development in Nigeria, including the Order of the Federal Republic and the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. He was a fellow of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria as well as Fellow of Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales till his death. 

Outside his career in the private sector, he played active role in the public service. He was appointed chairman of the Federal Income Tax Appeal Commissioners, the Coker Commission of Inquiry, and the Lagos State Government Revenue Collection Panel. He was also a member of the board of trustees of the Commonwealth Foundation and the Nigerian Conservation Foundation.

Here are seven institutions founded by Williams, Africa’s revered accounting doyen, during his lifetime:

  • Deloitte & Touche (formerly Akintola Williams & Co.)
  • Association of Accountants in Nigeria (ANAN)
  • Nigerian Exchange (formerly Nigerian Stock Exchange)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN)
  • Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF)
  • Commonwealth Foundation

Deloitte & Touche (formerly Akintola Williams Deloitte)

Deloitte & Touche stands as the pioneering indigenous firm in Nigeria, with its roots dating back to 1952 when it was founded by the visionary Akintola Williams. Even before his retirement in 1983, his astute leadership and strategic foresight set in motion the firm’s remarkable growth, evolving it into one of Nigeria’s largest professional services firms. Originally established as “Akintola Williams & Co” in 1952, the firm embarked on a transformative journey, marked by two mergers between April 1999 and May 2004. These mergers propelled it to become the largest professional services firm in Nigeria, boasting a workforce of more than 600 professionals. 

Association of Accountants in Nigeria (ANAN)

Williams emerged as a driving force in the formation of the Association of Accountants in Nigeria (ANAN), dedicated to the training of accountants. He held the distinction of serving as the association’s inaugural president. Presently, ANAN is Nigeria’s sole chartered professional accountancy body, vested by law with the authority to educate and examine all its students. Furthermore, it enjoys the unique privilege of advancing the science of accountancy in Nigeria.

Nigerian Exchange (NGX)

The Nigerian Exchange, formerly known as the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), was established as the Lagos Stock Exchange on Sept. 15, 1960, making it the oldest existing stock exchange in West Africa. At its inception, seven notable individuals, including Williams, played pivotal roles as subscribers to the exchange’s memorandum of association, ultimately leading to its founding. This distinguished group of founders also included R.S.V. Scott, Theophilus Adebayo Doherty, Odumegwu Ojukwu, and Alhaji Shehu Bukar.

Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN)

In addition to his pivotal role in the establishment of the Association of Accountants in Nigeria in 1960, Akintola Williams was a key figure in the founding of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. He played a foundational role and held the esteemed position of the institute’s first president. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria remains a cornerstone institution in the Nigerian accounting landscape, promoting professional excellence and ethical standards.

Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF)

Williams lent his support to the creation of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation. This foundation was established in 1980 through collaborative efforts with the late Nigerian businessman, environmentalist, and conservationist Shafi Lawal Edu. Williams’ contributions to the foundation were instrumental in its establishment. As a tribute to his dedication, the Akintola Williams Arboretum, located at the foundation’s headquarters in Lagos, was named in his honor.

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