A JUDAIC APPROACH TO APPLYING MATERIALITY CONCEPTS
RESEARCH ON PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN ACCOUNTING, Vol. 24, pp. 187–204.
Materiality is a critical and challenging auditing concept. To help auditors improve their materiality judgments, the authors provide examples from Judaism, primarily due to its longevity and the richness and variety of its stories. The authors show how Judaism interprets and applies materiality in many contexts. For each, the authors provide guidance on how auditors might apply these lessons to improve their materiality judgments. The authors examine five areas where Judaic examples can inform modern auditing including: (1) considering both quantitative and qualitative measures; (2) recognizing that small quantitative changes can lead to material qualitative effects; (3) understanding that ignoring small issues can become a slippery slope; (4) considering the importance of financial statement users’ needs in developing materiality criteria; and (5) prioritizing substance over form. In all examples, context is a critical factor to consider when applying materiality. These results should be of interest to auditors, financial statement users and others.