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Accountants on the 'Spectrum'

Any fellow friends on here with autistic tendencies?

Didn't find your answer?

According to the National Autistic Society, careers involving numbers, statistics and facts such as in finance and accounting; computer programming or systems testing, are particularly suited to people with autism.

Whilst I'm not suggesting that there are any members on here who are quite as extreme as the character played by Dustin Hoffman in The Rain Man, I do wonder whether it is true that Accountancy is one of the professions which is attractive to people on the autistic spectrum.

One of my children has autism.  I would classify it as 'mild', possibly more Asperger's, although this is a recent diagnosis and, apparently, a distinction is no longer made; you are either 'on the autistic spectrum' or you're not.

My family are all convinced that I have this condition aswell (I think they are right), I have just never been officially diagnosed; it certainly wasn't picked up in the 80's / 90's as much as it is now.

I'm not a genius with numbers by any stretch of the imagination, I'm probably average, but I find myself immensely focussed on particular interests, I am a 'factual' person, a logical thinker and I don't particularly find social interaction easy / natural.  You would never know, as I mask it very well and have got better with practice.

I'm sure I'm not alone, so just thought I'd put it out there!  

I dodo apprecia some people won't want to openly discuss this.

Cheers

 

Replies (18)

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By Tax Dragon
10th Dec 2018 06:02

We're all misfits. (Based on Bohemian Rhapsody - have you seen it yet? I recommend,) Freddie Mercury attributed Queen's appeal to that fact.

What about the perfectly normal middle class (step)mothers/fathers/others dropping their offspring off at school every morning? I hear you ask.

Well in your part of the world (so I hear), they've had to be told not to let little Johnny/Jenny/Aztec Warrior wear their £1,000 coats to school. Who spends £1,000 on a child's coat, if not a misfit?

I don't wonder about who has autism or whatever. I do wonder what's "normal".

[And (for clarity, as I've expressed myself - again - in a way that would be easy to misrepresent) - I am not equating autism (or any other diagnosed condition) with abnormality (or similar). Read my post again. I am saying the exact opposite. Are we human, or are we dancer?]

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
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By carnmores
08th Jun 2019 22:28

I enjoyed BR the film and remember so clearly when the 45 came out with almost the first great video with its kalidescopic content. I met Freddie a couple of times what a conundrum.....

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Replying to carnmores:
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By carnmores
08th Jun 2019 22:29

Ah the Killers

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By SteLacca
10th Dec 2018 08:13

And ex-girlfriend of mine was a carer of autistic youngsters, and she was convinced that I'm on the spectrum.

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By killer33
10th Dec 2018 09:24

I paid for a test a few years ago .

My diagnosis was 'autistic traits' which I felt was a bit of a cop out a the time, but now feel is a reasonable assessment.

I was advised there were 3 official levels on the spectrum , which are roughly

ASD 1 - Aspergers syndrome
ASD2 - Dustin Hoffman in Rain man
ASD3 - completely shut off from the world

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By killer33
10th Dec 2018 09:38

duplicate

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By Maslins
10th Dec 2018 09:35

My wife has suggested a few times she thinks I'm "on the spectrum". I feel normal enough, and whether it's true or not it doesn't bother me.

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By Jdopus
10th Dec 2018 09:57

I think a lot of people who advise accountancy as a career for people on the spectrum heavily underappreciate just how much social interaction is required by the career. Being able to speak to clients comfortably and being able to diplomatically and clearly explain problems and information are a key part of the job so you need to be able to handle this on at least some level.

However I know some people with autism find this a lot easier than others. Our practice's most recent junior hire is on the spectrum, but he seems capable of handling that side of things.

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Replying to Jdopus:
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By Manchester_man
10th Dec 2018 20:21

Jdopus wrote:

I think a lot of people who advise accountancy as a career for people on the spectrum heavily underappreciate just how much social interaction is required by the career. Being able to speak to clients comfortably and being able to diplomatically and clearly explain problems and information are a key part of the job so you need to be able to handle this on at least some level.

However I know some people with autism find this a lot easier than others. Our practice's most recent junior hire is on the spectrum, but he seems capable of handling that side of things.

Very true indeed!

I am strangely ok with clients, I'm pretty confident sat down with a client. I put this down to the fact I am presenting information to them, answering questions, helping them, with a bit of small talk thrown in between.

Put me in a social situation with people I don't know very well, and I'm the one stood alone in the corner!

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Replying to Jdopus:
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By AS
10th Jun 2019 12:36

Jdopus wrote:

I think a lot of people who advise accountancy as a career for people on the spectrum heavily underappreciate just how much social interaction is required by the career. Being able to speak to clients comfortably and being able to diplomatically and clearly explain problems and information are a key part of the job so you need to be able to handle this on at least some level.

However I know some people with autism find this a lot easier than others. Our practice's most recent junior hire is on the spectrum, but he seems capable of handling that side of things.

We have an employee that we believe is on the spectrum. He is an extremely intelligent persona and a very good accountant and auditor. He learns very quickly. The only issue is interaction with other people. He will only interract properly with some staff and clients. He is very productive but we have to manage his interaction with clients.

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By Duggimon
10th Dec 2018 10:54

There has never been a condition more readily diagnosed by the completely unqualified than ASD. Everyone seems to think they know all about it and that they know people with it / on the spectrum. It's also probably self-diagnosed more than any other condition as well, to the point that it's a complete cliche to say "well I've never been diagnosed but I meet all the criteria".

If these diagnoses are correct then ASD is so common it's not a disorder but just a personality trait. Nobody is being "diagnosed" as overly gregarious or particularly fond of gossip though, so just maybe these diagnoses are often somewhat spurious.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
10th Dec 2018 14:28

A diagnosis can be helpful to some people in "understanding themselves" but ought not define you. As you say if you have to 'learn' and 'mask' your interactions socially, your family is probably barking up the right tree.

I am married to someone with Asperger's, and one of my daughters is just like her mum! Plenty around. Like the one who just won the snooker last night.

The keen focus can be real plus when it comes to getting stuff done and being good at something, and so what if you do 'weird' things now and again. Everyone is weird in their own way.

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By Red Leader
10th Dec 2018 13:02

There's a massive difference between "autistic" and having "autistic traits". Being tall gives me traits of being a basketball player - but I'm definitely not. Many more examples.

The National Autistic Society puts the incidence of autism in the population at 1%. If our amateur diagnoses end up with finding far more than this, then I suggest there's an error in the diagnosis.

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By Manchester_man
10th Dec 2018 20:26

Thanks for the comments people!

It is on my mind at the moment, as my child who received the diagnosis is now 16 years old, so has gone through most of her childhood being misunderstood, labelled 'naughty', etc.

She is almost a carbon copy of myself. My experience of school was akin to hell.

As Tax Dragon says, what "is" normal? We all have our quirks, some more than others, and I suppose if we were all the same, it would be a boring world!

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By atleastisoundknowledgable...
10th Dec 2018 22:41

Mrs ALISK has spend the last c 14 years (we’ve been together 15 years) telling me I’m on the spectrum.

Good thread (deep/ real-worldy for once) & I’ll let her know she not the only one married to an on-spectrum-accountant.

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Replying to atleastisoundknowledgable...:
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By Manchester_man
12th Dec 2018 15:09

Haha, interesting. Yes, let her know she's not alone!

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By Manchester_man
12th Dec 2018 15:19

The condition is often much more difficult to spot in females, hence my daughter only receiving a diagnosis at age 15.

Some people are much older when they are diagnosed, like the lady who sent me the following PM after reading the thread.

The person who sent the PM has given permission for me to paste her message on this thread, without displaying her username as she could be easily identified from this.

"Hi

I just read your post and you are not the only one. I got a diagnosis on 28 February 2017 at the age of 47. I am female and as I understand it that means even less likely to have it spotted as it presents differently and females are even more adept at “masking”. My diagnosis states “autistic spectrum disorder commonly known as Asperger Syndrome”. You are welcome to cut and paste my response into your thread if you wish but without my username which is my actual name, hence the private message rather than a post.

If you are thinking about getting a diagnosis I would recommend reading the following book first. “Very late diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome ASD” by Philip Wyler (who qualified as an accountant amongst other careers)."

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By mrme89
09th Jun 2019 11:21

Sounds very much like Flash that used to post on the forum.

I miss her on here.

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