Interested in this line of work. For former auditors? How bad is not having materiality?

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Former auditors can absolutely do forensic accounting work, it is utterly fascinating in contrast with audits which I have never cared for personally. I work with auditors in my firm on occasion and the primary complaint they have when collaborating on a forensic engagement with me is that the cases go on far too long (and sometimes end with little-to-no closure) and that there is no materiality to justify small discrepancies. All fraud is material. As a forensic accountant I am interested in all discrepancies, even small or technically immaterial ones. It’s important to remember that when something goes to trial or comes under scrutiny from regulating agencies that suspect fraud or abuse materiality no longer carries much weight. Theft is theft, embezzlement is embezzlement, corruption is corruption. For example if you have a business that’s valued at $100 million maybe you don’t care about a $100,000 misstatement in the books… But you would certainly care if an employee took $100,000 or caused $100,000 to be removed from the organization, regardless of the organization’s size. 

If your employer already offers forensic services I would recommend trying to jump on a project with them and see how you like it. It’s quite different from audit but somehow feels more rewarding in a lot of ways. Best of luck!

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Audit is a lot more regimented and predetermined. In forensics you have to have a great ability to adapt and pivot as well as not being bothered by unpredictability in schedule or work. Priorities are always changing and everything is always urgent. We don't have a set busy season and I've had years where I was over 100% chargeable for the full year. In my forensics career I've typically worked of 2-5 projects at a time and its extremely rare that you can plan ahead workwise more than a week or so. I think the biggest difference between audit and forensics is the work life balance struggle (because its hard to plan ahead) and not having annual repeatable projects. If those things don't sound terrible to you (the unpredictability is my favorite part), then I would consider a switch.

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Second to what was said, I love having former auditors on my projects. Materiality goes out the window and personally I like being able to go down those rabbit holes

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