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ACL Vancouver’s Remarkable Redesign

ACL is no newcomer to the cloud-based technology sector.

The 30-year veteran’s compliance, audit, and risk management software is used by nearly 90 per cent of Fortune 500 companies, including the “Big Four” accounting firms.

CEO Laurie Schultz joined the company five years ago with a vision to change ACL’s product offering—and its tone and pace. Schultz’s desire to reinvent ACL transformed the company into what they call a “re-startup”: embracing the energy and fresh ideas of a traditional startup but without the anxiety that comes with it.

This new vision culminated last year when the ACL’s Vancouver headquarters underwent a total redesign.

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Work

The 52,850-square-foot global HQ houses 250 employees, with plenty of room to grow. ACL also has 300 employees worldwide working out of London and Singapore.

Designed in collaboration with SSDG Interiors, the spaces offer standing desks, tables, nooks, call rooms and several casual collaborative spaces, encouraging employees to choose what working option suits them best in the moment.

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The importance of free-flowing conversation and idea sharing is reflected in the office’s open design. Employees also set their own schedules so they can work where they want and when they want.

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Each employee is honored with a 24k golden balloon on their one-year company anniversary.

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ACL pays homage to all kinds of heroes with superhero-themed bathrooms and themed meeting rooms, including a tribute to the Breaking Bad anti-hero.

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“Stay out of my territory.”

Food

The kitchen is where you’ll find local JJ Bean coffee brewing and snacks on hand. Organic, natural food is a priority with the kitchen keeping fresh fruit and healthy sandwiches stocked—not to mention the sweet and salty stuff.

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In the summer, employees BYOM (bring your own meat) for team BBQs, taking advantage of the rooftop patio and the stunning Vancouver views (at least when the weather cooperates).

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Culture

ACL champions three core values: authenticity, disruptive innovation and customer intensity, which for them means enthusiastically supporting their customers. To maintain this pace, ACL values life-long learning and makes education a priority for its team members. Whether it’s helping employees get their MBA or just attending a conference, the company financially supports educational development, sometimes up to 100% of the cost.

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Other perks include a health and personal spending allowance to put towards anything from transit passes to fitness classes. Employees also have access to an impressively equipped fitness center. Friday evenings are reserved for team talks fueled by local brews on tap.

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When a big launch is approaching, ACL brings in masseuses for in-house relaxing massages. Motivational quotes also don the white walls to give employees some added inspiration.

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Party on, Mr. Gretzky.

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Nap pods are on all three floors with stunning mountain views and a strict no working policy, except for this posed photograph.

Fun

The office lounge is the main gathering space. This where employees can grab a beer and pool cue to celebrate the wins, losses and lessons learned for the week.

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Yes, that is an N64. And yes, they play Mario Kart.

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Floral arranging, origami and chess are just a few of the special talents that employees have taught their colleagues in evening staff-led classes. Dubbed “Disruptive Creativity,” this initiative invites anyone to step outside their comfort zone and host a workshop to share their unique skills.

Billiards, ping pong, foosball and retro video games all see high traffic before, during and after hours—but not quite as much as the patio with a cold drink on a sunny afternoon.

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Photos by Matt Odynski.

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