Akintola Williams is the doyen of the accountancy profession in Nigeria. As a seasoned entrepreneur and professional, he set up a chartered accounting firm which gained businesses from other indigenous firms.
He played a major role in founding the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and emerged as the first President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Nigeria (ICAN).
Early life and education
Akintola Williams was born on the 9th of August, in the year 1919 to the family of Thomas Ekundayo Williams. He attended Olowogbowo Methodist Primary School, Lagos. His great academic records at CMS Grammar School, Lagos, earned him a UAC scholarship to further his education at the Yaba Higher College where he obtained a diploma in commerce. He travelled to England in 1944 to major in Banking and Finance and became Nigeria’s first Chartered Accountant in 1949.
Williams returned to Nigeria in 1950 and proceeded to serve as an assessment officer for the Inland Revenue Service until March 1952. He later left the Civil Service to establish Akintola Williams and Co., the first and foremost chartered accounting firm in Africa.
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Williams ventured into private practice and provided accounting services for indigenous firms like Nnamdi Azikiwe’s West African Pilot, K. O. Mbadiwe’s African Insurance Company, Ojukwu Transport and Fawehinmi Furniture.
He went on to provide services for Electricity Corporation of Nigeria, the Western Nigeria Development Corporation, the Eastern Nigeria Development Corporation, the Nigerian Railway Corporation and the Nigerian Ports Authority.
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Akintola Williams & Co. enjoyed immense success that saw it merge with two other accounting firms to create Akintola Williams Deloitte, now known as Deloitte & Touche. The staff strength by then had reached over 600.
Williams was one of the founders of the Egbe Omo Oduduwa. The group started with Dr Oni Akerele as President and the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo as Secretary, in London.
Akintola is known as the leading light in the training of accountants. His astuteness birthed the Association of Accountants in Nigeria in 1960. He served as the first President of the Association. He was a founding member and the first President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN). The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) originated from his influence. Akintola is very passionate about NSE’s survival, as he often tasks the operators to protect the market and ensure no scandal ensues.
His public service
Akintola was the Chairman of the Federal Income Tax Appeal Commissioners (1958–68); a member of the Coker Commission of Inquiry into the Statutory Corporations of the former Western Region of Nigeria (1962); a member of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Commonwealth Foundation (1966–1975); Chairman of the Lagos State Government Revenue Collection Panel (1973), and Chairman of the Public Service Review Panel set up to correct the anomalies in the Udoji Salary Review Commission (1975).
Akintola also served as the President of the Metropolitan Club in Victoria Island, Lagos, Founder and Council Member of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation; Founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Musical Society of Nigeria.
Williams was honoured by the Federal Government Nigeria with the Order of the Niger (OFR), in 1982. While he retired in 1983, he proposed to establish a music centre and concert hall for the Music Society of Nigeria (MUSON).
In April 1997, Williams was appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for the selfless services he rendered to the accountancy profession and for promotion of arts, culture and music through the Musical Society of Nigeria.
On the 8th of May, 2011, Akintola Williams was honoured by the Nigeria-Britain Association for his contributions to democracy and development in Africa.
The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has reportedly continued to praise Pa. Williams’ efforts as a pioneer in the world of accounting, as well as his sustained promotion of arts, culture in moving the country to greater heights.