The key thing that attracted us to working with auticon was the opportunity to be provided with talent, and the way auticon approached the project. It was very measured, the strategy was right, the planning was good – this all helped to drive success.
It was clear from the outset how there was a sustainable purpose for all parties involved: for us, auticon, our staff and the consultants. From our perspective, we were able to bring talent into our team, helping us to fill a skills shortage while at the same time helping our staff by reducing their workload. Additionally, from auticon’s perspective, they were able to send their consultants to us and provide them with the opportunity to work in a major professional services firm. There was undoubtedly mutual benefit for all parties involved.
We decided to engage with auticon to work with two of their consultants who joined our data analytics team as analysts. This team centrally delivers data analytics services across our audits. Someone scopes the work and they help deliver the technical analysis. Before the project started, we mapped out all our processes with auticon and they pinpointed exactly what neuro-skillsets would be required for each part of the process. This allowed us to identify the role we wanted the consultants to fill and therefore which consultants would be best suited to that role.
We were very open about the fact that we may need to adapt our working environment to make the project work, and we needed auticon to guide us on how to do this. The onboarding process was really helpful in terms of helping us to be aware of those individual needs and how we can get the best out of auticon’s consultants. Many people in the team, by their own admission, either didn’t understand autism or knew little about it. They are by no means experts now, but they know a lot more and it has opened their eyes a bit. Even simple things such as recognising when someone is trying to ask you for support without directly asking for it. This has been an important learning and is a kind of awareness that we can apply across the wider team.
Having people on the team who have a different way of doing things has gone down really well. A lot of what we do is very technical in nature, so having people who look at that in a slightly different way and spot better ways of doing things has been a real positive. There are some healthy conversations between the consultants and our team talking about how processes could be improved.
When you first hear that someone is on the autistic spectrum, you wouldn’t automatically think that they would be able to thrive in a typical professional services environment. There is a perception that this environment is very socially focused, with everyone looking to build their network and further their career. However, the work we did with auticon shows that there is not necessarily one single definition of what it means to be a successful analyst. By allowing auticon’s consultants to focus on their strengths they have produced great results and become key members of our team.
It has also helped to open our eyes at the leadership level as to how we might sometimes have unnecessary biases in where we get our talent from. This is a demonstrable example of how you can get talent from areas you might not have previously considered, if you are prepared to put the effort in. We can now access these opportunities and we can look further. This partnership has created many benefits at many levels, both operationally and strategically.
Head of Audit Technology and Innovation, Partner