How job hopping helped this Chartered Accountant switch profiles and find his niche in Forensic Accounting

Today we have Mayank Garg, telling us - How he got into Forensic Services, Why he did an MBA, Why he moved 2  jobs before joining Deloitte and Why is it okay to keep searching for your calling.

Mayank is a Chartered Accountant from India and an MBA from Institute of Management Technology Ghaziabad.

Switched Careers and got into Forensic Accounting

I am a Manager at Deloitte in their Forensic Team. I did my internship with a simple firm J.P. Kapur & Uberai, New Delhi. The firm was not as big as a Big 4 Accounting Firm but the exposure I received there was AMAZING.

It gave me excellent experience in all the fields which a Chartered Accountant should be aware of. You name the work and I had a practical exposure in those areas.

To name a few areas:

  • Statutory Audit
  • Internal Audit
  • Financial Due Diligence
  • ROC related work
  • Secretarial Audit
  • Tax Audit
  • Tax Filing
  • Income Tax scrutiny related work
  • Many other administrative works.

A lot of my friends were joining Big 4 firms in the Tax profile but I never had any sort of interest in Taxation since the start of my articleship. In short, I never intended to join any Tax profiles. It was not my area of interest.

After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, I moved to the industry.

I joined the Internal Audit Department of IRPPL (IRPPL is a leading Mall chain & Amusement Park in India). It was at this place that I got an exposure to - Industry-specific skill sets.

After a very short stint at IRPPL, I moved to Hinduja Leyland in their Risk and Compliance Team. I was at Hinduja for 1.5 years.

After a year or so I moved to Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP in the Forensic and Dispute Services Department and have been here for almost 4 years plus.

I never thought of getting into a Forensic Audit profile in the initial stage of my career. The flow of my work experience led me into a Forensic Accounting profile.

I had an all-rounded exposure during my articleship. When I joined IRPPL I learned about - Internal Audit. Then at Hinduja about - Compliance.

Forensic Audit combines the skill set of an Internal Auditor and Compliance Officer so I believe the transition from Compliance to Forensic was quite natural. So you could say - Moving from Internal Audit and Compliance role to Forensic Audit was easy.

There was no skill set which I had to relearn all over again. Yes, I had to learn a lot of new things but it was all interconnected to my previous work profiles. So from Internal Audit to Compliance to Forensic -  All went with the flow.

Why Job hopping is not always bad?

A lot of working people and job-seekers worry about looking like - JOB HOPPERS.

Sometimes we force ourselves to stick at jobs/profiles we know are NOT meant for us. Because - We are AFRAID of being branded as a JOB HOPPER.

We are AFRAID of having too many short-term jobs on our resumes.

If you notice I was at IRPPL for 6 months, Ashok Hinduja for 1.5 years and then Deloitte where I have been for almost 4 years.

I did take short jumps to reach a settled career life. But, it doesn’t mean the other two companies are wrong or their work profile was not great. It is just I wasn’t able to make my mark in those companies. Or you could say I never felt like working in the industry. I realized a Big Accounting firm is where I wanted to be.

In fact, in between, I also moved to BDO for very short span before moving to Deloitte again!

Further, at a young age, we all very aggressive, so at the time we make decisions in a haste, which I feel is OKAY.

It is better to explore than to regret.

These decisions of changing jobs frequently come at a price but if you have the right reason to move and you are looking for something - A Good Leader Will Understand.

My Advice 

  • If you want to take short jumps JUST for the sake of money, it’s not advisable.
  • But, if you are not able to contribute to the organization, then I suggest one MUST consider a switch as soon as possible.
  • Discuss the things with your parents and mentors before taking any such steps.
  • I am lucky to work with great Leaders at Deloitte who UNDERSTOOD my intention and did not judge me for my need to find my happy place.

Role of a Forensic Accountant

  • A Forensic Auditor/Accountant’s role involves - Client Interaction to understand the company's culture and working manual. This helps in analyzing things accordingly.
  • Most of the time, we have to meet the top management of the companies to get an exposure of industry specifics and the real reasons behind the industry scenario and a more.
  • This type of profile generally comes with traveling of 70-80% in a year.
  • So if you are a = Detective by nature + Have investigation /certification skills + Love traveling then this profile is for you.

Role as a Manager at a Big 4 Firm 

  • As a manager at Deloitte, you have to - manage your project team, superiors and client's management at the same time.
  • This requires lots of dedication and calmness in your entire work life.
  • Music while traveling or at a workstation helps me to keep myself calm.
  • Every day comes with new challenges.
  • I try to give my best to Deloitte and the clients with whom I wor

Certifications to become a Forensic Accountant

As you are aware that Certified Fraud Examiner ("CFE") is the globally recognized certification for forensic auditors.

I am also a Certified Fraud Examiner from ACFE.

But, there are other courses which can be done for becoming a Forensic Auditor:

  • Certificate Course on Forensic Accounting and Fraud Detection - ICAI
  • Certified Professional Forensic Accountant - CPFAcct
  • MBA Finance with specialization in Forensic Accounting - Gujarat Forensic Sciences University
  • Certified Fraud Examination Professional  - GFSU

Interview Tips

Firstly, make sure you know the exact competencies of yourself, be specific for each and every question they throw on your face.

Secondly, be prepared to answer using the ‘STAR Technique (Situation/Task/Action/Result) and to go into the interview prepared to talk in detail about situations that show the competencies being targeted.

Further, be specific about your appearance while going for an interview - Things you wear, how you carry yourself, etc. all things are noticed by each and every person who takes your interview.

There are three rounds:

  • HR Round (Case Study and HR specific round)
  • Senior Manager/ Director Round (technical and situation based)
  • Partner Round (general in nature)

Examples of Questions:

1. Give me an example of when you have dealt with a difficult character.

2. Why Deloitte?

3. Talk me through a long-term project you’ve been involved in.

4. Describe a time when you had to settle upon the right course of action. What were your thought processes when you made this decision?

5. Tell us about a time you led a team.

6. What can you bring to Deloitte?

7. How do you handle stress at work?

8. Why should Deloitte invest in you?

BE SOMEBODY, NOBODY THOUGHT YOU COULD BE - he concluded.

He super helpful and kind. You can connect to him on Linkedin / Facebook - Mayank Garg.

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